Sunday, May 17, 2015

Canvas Live Content: Curation

We've all made lists of links, right? Sometimes that is the right approach, but not always, especially when you have lots of new content (i.e. actual news items, new content created by your students, etc.). For a continuously expanding list of links, you need something more dynamic. Using a live content channel in Canvas allows you to quickly get new content recommendations to your students without having to log on to Canvas and tinker with a static link list.

Below is a suggestion of how you can use Twitter as a curation tool to share content with your students via Canvas, and then at the bottom there are suggestions for other tools you could use to accomplish a similar goal.

Best of OU Create: Twitter stream

The University of Oklahoma has a Domain of One's Own project which is called OU Create. You can read all about it here:

As a result of this project, there are hundreds of student and faculty blogs, websites, and other online projects which are active in any given semester. The program is administered by our Center for Teaching Excellence, and once of the CTE staff members, Anoop Bal, keeps an eye on the content stream, sharing Best of OU Create items via a dedicated Twitter account: Best of OU Create

As a general rule, Anoop does not share images or other media as part of his tweets, so this is an example of a Twitter content stream that would actually work very well using the standard Canvas Twitter app!

To use the standard Canvas Twitter app, just go to Canvas, install the official Twitter app, and you will then see a Twitter icon in your HTML editor. 

When you click on the Twitter icon, you will be prompted to add a user or a hashtag. You could use a hashtag to curate "best of" a content area together with your students OR you can curate via a dedicated account as Anoop has done. The app accommodates either option, and you can decide what is the best approach for your purposes. 

Here's the live Twitter content stream that results as a sample page at See it in action here: Best of OU Create in Canvas.

Of course, you can also use the other Twitter embed method if you are sharing a stream that does include images and other media! :-)

More Curation Tools

Twitter is not the only tool you can use for live curation like this. Diigo is an obvious choice (and Diigo can also include thumbnail images), and so is Inoreader, where you would use a tag to flag items for "best of" listing. You could also use Pinterest. I'll post some more later this summer about using tools like Diigo, Inoreader, and Pinterest for live Canvas content.

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