At Teaching and Learning Services, I work as a Learning Technology Consultant and help instructors with incorporating learning technology, such as myCourses and clickers, into their courses.
Last week, I attended Chris Buddle’s workshop “Using Social Media Tools in Teaching and Learning.” This had me thinking: if instructors are using social media tools as vital components of a course, and if we think of myCourses as an extension of the classroom, then how can we bring these together?
As students check myCourses regularly for course information and updates, embedding a Twitter feed within the course home page can provide another access point to these social media platforms that are transforming the ways that students and instructors interact. In Twitter, you can create feeds for individual users or for hashtags.
There are some great benefits of doing this: if students are logged in, they can retweet or favourite tweets directly from the feed in myCourses. They can also tweet to the specific user or tweet using the selected hashtag.
Here are instructions to embed a Twitter feed directly into myCourses:
1. Log in to Twitter. Click on your picture in the top right corner and click on “Settings.”
2. On the left-hand side, click on “Widgets.”
3. Click on “Create New.”
4. You can create a feed based on either a hashtag or a user’s Twitter timeline.
- Hashtag: Select “Search” and make your search query the desired hashtag. For example: #education
- User’s timeline: Enter the desired username. For the example above, I am using @McGillTLS.
5. Adjust your desired settings and press “Create widget.” This will give you a preview of your widget. You can make changes at this point if you would like. Then, copy the HTML code.
6. Log in to myCourses and click on your course. Click on “Edit Course” in the top right corner.
7. Click on “Widgets.” Click on “Create Widget.”
8. Give your widget a name, such as “Twitter Feed.”
9. Click on the “Content” tab, and in the bottom right-hand corner of the text editor, click on the HTML option, as depicted below.
10. Copy and paste the embed code from Twitter into the box and press “Save.”
11. If you would like the title you gave the widget in Step 8 to not appear on your myCourses page, press on “Customize Widget Style” at the bottom of the page, de-select “Display Titlebar,” and press “Save.” If you would like it to appear, disregard this step.
12. Press “Save and Close.”
13. Click on “Homepages.” Follow the instructions below, depending on whether you already have customized your homepage.
If you have not yet customized your homepage:
- Select the drop-down menu next to “McGill Course Home” and press “Copy.”
- Click on “McGill Course Home – Copy.” Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Add Widget.” Select the title you gave the widget in Step 8 and press “Add.”
- Adjust the placement of the widget on your homepage, as desired. Press “Save and Close.”
- You will now return to the “Homepages” page. In the drop-down menu under “Active Homepage,” select “McGill Course Home – Copy” and click “Apply.” Your Twitter feed will now appear on your myCourses page.
If you have already customized your homepage:
- A green checkmark and “Active” will appear on the right hand side of the page, indicating which homepage is currently active. Click on the link of your active homepage.
- Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Add Widget.” Select the title you gave the widget in Step 3 and press “Add.”
- Adjust the placement of the widget on your homepage, as desired. Press “Save and Close.” Your Twitter feed will now appear on your myCourses page.
Embedding a Twitter feed within your myCourses page will be another reminder to your students about the value of social media in the educational setting.
If you have any questions about these steps, please feel free to contact us at TLS directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about learning technology at McGill and to request a consultation or workshop on myCourses, clickers, active learning classrooms, and/or classroom technology, please click here.