I want to introduce my journalism students to the concept of RSS and see what they do with it. The potential impact of RSS on reporting and news gathering is pretty huge, I think, especially for special interest journalists. Since I have my students keeping track of an individual beat, the addition of RSS feeds about their topics would greatly increase their exposure to and consumption of news in their areas. I think RSS has the potential to develop a lot of experts at an early age.
Now the difficulty is that Manila has no built in aggregator yet, and most all of the other aggregators out there require a download of some type. That’s not an easy task with student machines here. I can’t put Radio on every machine in my room. The only web based aggregator I’ve found doesn’t really suit my needs. If I could get NewsMonster on every machine…now that would truly be interesting. Kids could get content even from sites without RSS feeds. (It requires a new version of Netscape, too.) But what happens when classes change and I have new journalists sitting at those machines? It may be nothing more than changing the feeds, but it’s more thinking than I want to have to do.
Anyone know of any web-based aggregators that do a bit more than just update content into a long feed once a day?
Amphetadesk (http://www.disobey.com/amphetadesk) is browser based can be run as a server, but I don’t believe it supports multiple users and so everyone would receive the same feeds.
Feedreader (http://www.feedreader.com) is a very tiny download (less than 500k) and runs off the downloaded .exe without an install. Besides the downloaded .exe, it stores a few .xml files on the local user folder to handle the RSS subscriptions. These would be fairly easy to wipe off the machine at the end of a semester.
NewsIsFree (http://www.newsisfree.com) runs a web service that students can subscribe to (there’s a free version). In addition to the standard news subscriptions, you can add the URL of any RSS feed you want. If it meets your needs, it makes for a highly portable solution for the students without any administrative hassle on your part.
Terry Elliott says
Will, I think we are running into the same numbers probs with weblogging that we run into with class size. How many students can we honestly serve in a weblogged classroom? I don’t know. All I know is that the setup time is appalling.
I am willing though and I know you are too, but we must find out a way to more thoroughly automate as much as we can or else collapse of our own weight.