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Adding a Twitter Feed to your D2L Course Homepage

November 11, 2014

Twitter Feeds in D2L

This tutorial is aimed at instructors of ETFO AQ Courses, and will walk through the process of adding a Twitter feed to a Course Homepage. If you proceed through the following how-to video and screenshots, you’ll be able to create a Twitter feed on your Homepage. There’s a reward at the bottom of this screen for those who do. If you want to scroll to the bottom right now, the reward is a Dr. Seus Guide to Twitter for those new to Twitter, that will inspire you to get on board with it.

Perhaps the first question that needs to be considered before going through all this is “Why add a Twitter Feed to an AQ Course?”

Twitter_logo_blue

Why Twitter?

Twitter is an excellent way to share relevant links, ideas, research, articles, conference highlights, strategies, candidate learning summaries, photos and videos from your Personal Learning Network with your course candidates. Perhaps you have already created your own Twitter account from which you are tweeting or retweeting course related snippets. These Tweets can appear on your Course Homepage in a Widget that can easily be created, if you wish.

Maybe you have already created a Twitter #hashtag through which you share important Tweets in your course, where content can be added by you and your candidates, using the agreed upon #hashtag e.g. #etfoaqiict, thereby creating a searchable collection of related tweets. This too can be added to your course homepage.

There are hundreds of educational #hashtags being used to filter out relevant Tweets by educators around the world. You may wish to add a #hashtag search of one of them and then add it to your Homepage. Examples are the #edtech or #mathchat which can be found in this List of Educational Hashtags. There are lots of goodies in that list! The Librarianship AQs are using the Ontario Teacher Librarian #hashtag: #ONTtl  .

Some instructors are already using a #hashtag to conduct both synchronous and asynchronous online discussions via Twitter, where Tweets can occur in real time in the former, and at anytime in the latter. The benefit of both, however, is that the stream of Tweets, called a feed, can be read by anyone at anytime by searching the #hashtag.

Having a #hashtag or personal feed right on your Course Homepage gives it prominence, encourages participation, requires no searching and builds course community.

How to Add a Twitter Feed

Just how does one add a Twitter Feed to a Course Homepage? The following Youtube Video provides an overview of the step-by-step process for adding a Twitter feed, and below it, are a series of screen shots breaking down the main steps.

Step-by-Step Instructions and Screenshots

1) Visit your Course Homepage and click on the Edit Course Button in the top right of your screen as shown by the red oval below.

Course Homepage

2) Click on the Homepages tool, shown.

Homepages Widgets

3) If you do not see a Homepage called Course Default Copy, click on the drop down menu next to Course Default and make a copy of your course so that you can make changes and not affect the Course Default. Always work with the Course Default Copy and make sure it’s the Active homepage. There is an Active Homepage drop down menu that chooses the Active page. Make sure your Copy is Active!

Course Copy

4) Now that you’ve made a Copy, click on the Widgets tab.

Widgets

5) Click on Create Widget and give your new Widget an appropriate name e.g. #etfoaq Twitter Feed

Create Widget

6)  Once you’ve named your Widget, click on the Content Tab and then click on the HTML symbol at the bottom right of the editing window, as indicated by the red oval. This is where you will paste some HTML code from Twitter. Rest assured that you will not need to know anything about HTML to do this!

Content Tab

7) Now jump over to Twitter in another Browser tab and sign into Twitter with your email and password, leaving the D2L Content tab open as you will be pasting code into the Editing Window there. Click on your Twitter photo or icon at the top right of your Twitter homepage as indicated by the red oval below, to access your Settings and Twitter widgets. Click on Settings in the drop down menu.

Twitter Home

8) Next, in the list at the left, click on Widgets and then click Create New Widget. Once you’ve decided which type of Twitter Widget you wish to create, click the corresponding tab: User Timeline (e.g. @mrmmuzzdog, @etfoaq, @yourname, etc), Favourites (all the tweets you have added to your Favourite list), List (Twitter can create a single feed from a list of users), a Search (e.g. any #hashtag, #etfoaqiict, #mathchat) or Collection. You will, in all likelihood, be creating a User Timeline (a personal feed) or a #hashtag search feed for your course homepage.

Uncheck the following boxes: Include Replies and Auto Expand. Check the Opt-out of Tailoring  box as shown below. Click Create Widget and click Save Changes. The HTML Code appears in a window. You’re almost there!

Twitter Widget

9) Now copy the HTML code from the window near the bottom, as shown in the red oval below, after checking to see that the Tweets you expect to be in the feed show in the Preview.

Copy Code

10) Finally, go back to the D2L Widget and paste the HTML Code into the HTML Source editing window, click Save, then click Save and Close, to close your D2L Widget. In the Homepage tab, click again on the Course Default Copy, and near the bottom of the page, you’ll see page layouts and an Add Widget Button, as shown in the illustration. Click on the name of the Widget you just created, and drag it to the location you want. Save and Close.

Add Widgets

Check to see if it displays properly and if not, delete the Widget. One main reason it does not display is that the Course Default Copy must be the Active Course. There is an Active Homepage drop down menu that chooses the Active page. Make sure your Copy is Active!

11) If you have already created a Twitter Widget in D2L for a previous course (e.g. a #etfoaqiict Search widget and only need to add it to your current course, then you will only need to do the latter part of Step #10, by dragging an existing widget to the Active Homepage, in an appropriate location.

Voila! You’re done!

And for a those new to Twitter, who want a little humour with their first steps into it, here’s a Twitter Guide for new Users in the style of Dr. Seus, from Hootsuite!

Twitter by Dr Seus

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