Apr 082017
 

I use an RSS feed reader to manage all of my news. I promise that soon I will write about my favorite news reader (Inoreader – for those in the know, it’s what Google Reader could have been).

Really, everything newsworthy, I send through Inoreader, including Twitter accounts I want to keep an eye on and a Twitter search for my Twitter handle so I can keep track of what is being tweeted about me without having to do frequent check-ins with Twitter or Hootsuite (my preferred social media manager).

Inoreader used to have the ability to bring in Twitter feeds, but at some point in the recent past, that functionality broke. That, of course, meant searching for a work around.

[Side note: You can send RSS feeds to Outlook. You can use IFTTT to send RSS feeds to just about anything, including as an email message, as a file in Dropbox or Google Drive. But that’s another blog post!]

But how to get Twitter converted to an RSS feed? TwitRSS.me is the solution.

Creating an RSS feed to follow a Twitter account

Here I enter the Twitter handle I want to follow and click the “Fetch RSS” button…

… and TwitRSS.me converts what is being sent out by that Twitter account into this mess of code.

Then I copy the URL for that mess of code and save it in my news feed reader. And the tweets magically appear. Any new tweet from that account will pop in at the top of this list.

Creating an RSS feed to follow a Twitter search term

Since I want to keep track of any mention of me on Twitter, I entered my handle (minus the @) as a search term. You could enter any search term here, including hashtags.

That generates a different mess of code.

Then I copy the URL for that mess of code and save it in my news feed reader. And the tweets magically appear. Any new tweet that results from that search will pop in at the top of this list.

What I love about dropping Twitter into Inoreader is that each tweet can be tagged so I can find them more easily later. For instance, I can tag Inoreader content, including these tweets, with “SueFrantz.com” if I think the content might make a good blog post.

Now that I’ve shown you how to convert Twitter to an RSS feed, I may finally get around to writing a post on Inoreader.

Jul 222013
 

So now you’re using an RSS feed reader, such as Feedly, to keep up with what’s new, right? (If not, see this blog post.) SubToMe is a browser tool that will make subscribing to new feeds a breeze. With a few mouse clicks, you can start getting content sent to you from your new source.

On the SubToMe webpage, click on “Settings”.

There are two ways you can use SubToMe to subscribe to a new feed. 1.) Drag the “Subscribe” button to your browser’s bookmark bar. Any time you want to start getting content from a site you’re visiting, click the button in your bookmark bar.

Or 2.) Install the SubToMe browser extension. For Chrome, I visited the Chrome Store, and searched for SubToMe. Once installed, the green SubToMe icon appears next to the rest of my browser extensions in the top right corner of my browser. (Go directly to the extension in the Chrome Store.) To add a new feed from the webpage I’m visiting, I just click the icon.

Connecting SubToMe to your RSS reader

On the settings page, click on “suggested apps”.

Here are the RSS readers they support (as of this writing). Since I just use Feedly, I clicked “Install” to, well, install it.

Ready to roll!

That’s it. To subscribe to a site – such as this one, just to pick one at random – click the SubToMe button. You’ll see this little popup. Click “Feedly” – or whatever RSS feed reader you chose.

Your RSS feed reader will load giving you a preview of what the feed will look like. If you want to subscribe, in Feedly’s case, click “+add to my feedly”.

Feedly then asks where you’d like to put the new feed. Click the appropriate box or boxes – or create a new category. Click the “Add” button at the bottom.

Done!

Remember, your RSS feed reader, e.g., Feedly, is creating a personalized newspaper for you. Just like any other newspaper, don’t feel compelled to read everything. Some of my categories have content that are weeks old. I’ll read the newest content, and then for the rest “mark as read.”

Jul 082013
 

It’s July!

Remember how you said back in January that you wanted to try out some new things when you finally had the time for it?

Your challenge for the month of July: Pick two of these to try out. The first of your picks is #1; we’re not even going to debate that. Your second pick is your choice.

  1. Stop talking on your phone while driving. This one is the easiest since it’s about not doing something instead of doing something. Watch this 55-min video of David Strayer from the University of Utah discussing his researching on multitasking while driving. This was a talk he gave earlier this year at the Association for Psychological Science convention.
  2. LastPass. This is a password manager. Remember one password and have access to all of your passwords – even on your smartphone. LastPass will generate random passwords for you – and remember them for you. You can even share a password with someone else, say, the person you share a bank account with. If you are already using a password manager and are happy with it, by all means keep using it.
  3. Cel.ly. Text all of your students at once or just texts individuals without getting their phone numbers or revealing yours. Send out a multiple choice question, and Cel.ly will tally the results for you. Read more here.
  4. YouCanBook.Me. Let others schedule themselves into your Google Calendar – and automatically send them a reminder notice. Read more here.
  5. Feedly. Create your own personalized newspaper courtesy of the internet. When new information is posted to sources you’re interested in, that information will come to you. Ask your favorite librarian about how to get information from the library databases (search results, tables of contents) sent to your newspaper. Feedly is one of many tools in the RSS feed reader genre, but it’s a good one to start with. Read more here.
  6. OneNote. You have this on your computer now. Look in your Microsoft Office folder. In there you’ll find OneNote, an incredibly useful note-taking/organization/task management program. It’s even more useful now that they have a nice mobile app. Read more here.
  7. Akindi. Print test bubble sheets instead of purchasing them. Scan the answer sheet and the student exams into one big pdf, then upload to Akindi. The tests are graded automatically, and all of the data pulled into a spreadsheet. If you attach your student learning outcomes to each of your questions, you have yourself a very easy and very powerful assessment tool. Download the scored tests for printing or sending electronically to your students. Read more here.

  8. IFTTT. “Automatically have your gmail attachments saved to Dropbox. Tweet Feedly articles you’ve tagged. Text new appointments to Google calendar. Making these kinds of automated connections is the power of today’s internet. And you know what? It’s ridiculously easy to do.” Read more here.
Jul 012013
 

Automatically have your Gmail attachments saved to Dropbox. Tweet Feedly articles you’ve tagged. Text new appointments to Google calendar. Making these kinds of automated connections is the power of today’s internet. And you know what? It’s ridiculously easy to do.

IFTTT stands for “If This Then That.” You can connect any one of 65 “channels” to any other one of their “channels.” A channel is web service, such as Dropbox, Gmail, Google Calendar, LinkedIn, Facebook, SkyDrive, Instapaper, Feedly, and Pocket. It includes being able to use text messaging or even phone calls. For the channels you want to use, “recipes” are the connections you make between those services. There are plenty of recipes that you can browse through, or you can create your own.

One recipe I found will let you automatically save all of your Gmail attachments to Dropbox.

Overview of how IFTTT works

Services that operate via the web can choose to have an API (Application Programming Interface). Any service that has this code can be connected to any other service that uses that code. If you have services connected to Facebook or your Google account, those services are using an API. With IFTTT, you give them permission to access certain aspects of whichever services you’d like.

A specific example

After setting up an account at IFTTT, click on “Browse” then in the search box, enter Gmail as a search term. The recipe we’re interested in is fourth on the list.

Clicking on “Save all your Gmail Attachments to Dropbox” generates this page.

Since I haven’t given IFTTT permission to use my Gmail and Dropbox accounts, I need to do that first. When I click the “Activate” button under “Gmail Channel,” I’m directed to Google where I’m asked if I want to grant access to IFTTT. Since I do, I click the “Grant Access” button. And then I repeat the process for Dropbox.

Now I need to decide where in Dropbox I want to save the attachments coming in from Gmail. With the default, IFTTT will create a folder called IFTTT, and within that it will create another folder called Gmail Attachments. I’m good with that, so I just click the big blue “Use Recipe” button.

At the very top of the page click “My Recipes.” You’ll see that it’s been added.

I told you it was ridiculously easy.

Use the icons to the right of the recipe the turn it off, delete it altogether, share it, or edit it.

[Updated 7/2/2013: Recipes run every 15 minutes, unless they have a lightning bolt. Lightning bolt recipes don’t have this wait time.  If you want to check a recipe without waiting, click the edit icon next to the recipe.  On the resulting screen, click “Check.”  The recipe will run immediately.  How do you get a lightning bolt?  Only some channels have lightning bolt capability, like email and Google.  IFTTT reports that they’re working on rolling this out to other channels.]

Creating a new recipe

Let’s create a new recipe where we have any Gmail messages labeled Dropbox saved in a Dropbox folder called “Important Messages.”

Click “Create” in the top menu bar. On the new screen, click the “this” link to tell IFTTT what you want the trigger to be.

For step 1, you are asked what you want the trigger channel to be. Click on Gmail.

In step 2, choose a trigger. Choose “New email labeled.”

Step 3, enter dropbox as the label, and click “Create Trigger.”


With the “this” portion done, we’re ready for the “that.”

In step 4, you’re given that same list of channels. This time, choose Dropbox.

Step 5, tell IFTTT what you want it to do with Dropbox. Let’s go with “Create a text file.”

In step 6, IFTTT said that it would create a folder called IFTTT (if one doesn’t already exist by that name), and then it would put my Gmail messages in a subfolder called “Gmail.” I’m okay with the IFTTT folder, but I want the subfolder called “Important Messages,” so I typed that it.

Next, we need to decide what we want the filename called. IFTTT defaults to what you see here, but we can change this to whatever we’d like using the “ingredients” list given.

I decided that I want the filename to be the sender’s email address – subject line from the message – date the email was received.

When it looks good, click the big blue “Create Action” button.

Last step, add a short description.

Click “Create Recipe.”

Now, let’s test it!

In Gmail, choose a message; right above the message is an icon menu. Click on the label icon, and type in dropbox. Gmail will ask if you want to create that as a new label. Assure it that that is indeed what you want to do.

Give it a few minutes, then check your Dropbox folder. There will be a new folder called “IFTTT”, and within that folder is one called “Important Messages.”

Now do a celebratory dance!

What to do next

Browse the recipes others have created. Take a look at the list of channels to see what services you’re currently using and how you might want to connect them. For the services you’re unfamiliar with, check them out.

Happy cooking!

Jun 202013
 

Earlier this year Google announced it was pulling the plug on Google Reader July 1, 2013. I recommended trying Old Reader or Feedly. Personally, I’ve settled on Feedly; their responsiveness to the demand following Google’s announcement and to the feature requests coming from their new clients has been admirable.

Feedly was originally built to use Google Reader in the backend, repackaging the content into a different format. Short version: Feedly said we’ll make some changes so we don’t need to rely on Google Reader. The day is here. They’re calling it the Feedly Cloud.

If you are using Feedly, follow the easy-to-follow directions on their blog to make sure that all of your feeds really are coming through Feedly, not Google Reader.

Mar 292013
 

You don’t have time to read the New York Times cover to cover or time to spend all day watching CNN. You don’t have time to visit your favorite journals in the library to see if there’s anything relevant to your teaching or research. What if you had your own news butler who would sift through the news, giving you only what you’re interested in? RSS feeds are like news tickers. RSS feed readers – aka news butlers – pick up the feeds you want and deliver them to you in an easy-to-read format for your computer or mobile device. Think of it as a newspaper customized just for you.


RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Some websites use this format to make their content easily read by programs called RSS feed readers. Anywhere you see this orange icon, the content is in an RSS format.


Feedly

There are many different kinds of RSS feed readers out there. I’m partial to Feedly for its customization and clean layout. On the left side of the screen is my list of categories. Inside of each category are the titles of my feeds. In the “Psych News” category, I have 316 unread items. There are 12 unread items from Annie Murphy Paul’s blog, 123 unread items from the Association for Psychological Science.


In the main window you can see the articles themselves.


I prefer the “title only” view for the articles, but you can change this to a different kind of view using the buttons in the top right corner of the screen.


Magazine view


Card view


Full article view


Sharing/saving articles

Connected to each article is a toolbar. Clicking the icons makes it easy to share the content using social media. The bookmark icon – “saved for later” – copies the article into the “Saved for Later” section of the left navigation pane for quick and easy access. You can also add a “tag” to any article. Any tags you create are listed at the very bottom of the left navigation pane.


Adding news feeds

At the very top of the left navigation pane, click the “add content” link.


That will open a new window on the right. You can enter a “url, title, or #topic” in the search box or you can browse for content in the “Explore” section.


Here I’ve entered suefrantz.com, and in the “sites” section, you can see my website listed.


Clicking on that link, will show what the RSS feed will look like in Feedly. If you want to keep the feed, click the “add” button.


Feedly will ask you where you’d like the feed to be listed. You can add it to an existing category or create a new category.


Any time I publish new content to my blog, it will appear in your Feedly feeds. You don’t have to keep visiting my website to find it. It just appears. That’s the magic of RSS.

Finding feeds

The major (and many minor) news outlets have RSS feeds. The New York Times has several. You can find your way to the New York Times RSS page from any of their pages. Scroll to the very bottom, and there’s an “RSS” link.


Here they are from NPR.


When you click on one of those feed links, you will get a very scary look page of code. Fortunately, you can ignore it all – except for the URL, in this case http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/feed/. That’s what you’ll copy into the “find sites” box you get when you click “Add Content” in the left navigation pane.


If you’re not sure if the website is using RSS, try the website URL in Feedly. If it doesn’t work, Feedly will let you know.

Creating a feed from a library database

Here I’ve gone into PsycARTICLES and am looking at the list of journals. See the RSS icon?


When I click on that icon, I get this screen. This gives me the RSS feed URL that I can copy and paste into Feedly. Whenever a new issue of the journal appears in the database, the table of contents – and sometimes abstracts – will appear in Feedly.


You can also do a search in the database and then get an RSS feed for that search. Any time something new appears in the database that matches those search criteria, you’ll see it in Feedly. Contact your librarian to help you get feeds from your library’s databases.

Create a feed from a Google search
[Update 7/26/2013 : Since Google Reader was killed off, Google Alerts no longer produce an RSS feed. There aren’t a lot of good alternatives out there, but it looks like TalkWalker might be the closest.]

Go to Google Alerts, and enter a search query. In the panel on the right, you’ll see Google’s results. Choose the result type, here I’ve selected “News.” I’ve chosen to have the results delivered as a news feed. Then “Create Alert.”

On the page that’s created, you’ll see your query. Click on the orange RSS icon to get the news feed page. Copy that URL into Feedly. Any time a news item that meets those search criteria appears in Google, you’ll get notified in Feedly.


Keyboard shortcuts

Feedly has several useful keyboard shortcuts. In Feedly, click anywhere on the page, then type a question mark to get the list of shortcuts.

Mobile

Feedly has a mobile app (Android/iOS). Since Feedly is in the “cloud,” you can seamlessly move from your smartphone, to your laptop, to your tablet, to your desktop.

Important usage note

Don’t feel compelled to read everything in your news feed. I hope you don’t feel compelled to read every article in your local newspaper. Feedly is the same thing. It’s just your personal newspaper.

Special note for Chrome users

Install the RSS Subscription Extension. It will make adding RSS feeds to Feedly very easy. Once it’s installed, when you click on that orange RSS icon, it will load a page that looks like this. Just select “Feedly” and click “Subscribe Now.” No need to copy the URL into Feedly manually.

But Feedly is probably not listed in that drop down list, so let’s add it. In the drop down list, select “Manage.” Click the “Add” button. In the description box, type Feedly. For the URL, enter this: http://www.feedly.com/home#subscription/feed/%s and click “Save.”

Now you’re good to go. Click on an RSS icon, the feed page will load, and click “Subscribe Now.” Feedly will launch. Confirm that you want to add that subscription, and Feedly will ask which category you’d like to put it in. Done.

Try it

If you’ve never used an RSS feed reader before, you’ll be surprised at how much more in-the-know you will be.

Mar 172013
 

“What’s an RSS feed reader?”

If you’ve been bopping around the tech blogs, you’ve been hearing a lot about RSS feed readers lately. If you haven’t been using an RSS reader, you may be wondering what the hubbub is all about. This is such an essential piece of technology that Google Reader was the subject of one of my very first blog post back in April 2009. If you’re not familiar with the concept, please check out that post. It will bring you up to speed on how an RSS reader can help you manage how you learn about what’s new in the world. Many of you have asked me where I learn about the technologies and tips I share in this blog. I use an RSS feed reader to deliver information to me from tech blogs, the popular press, and other sources. I can sift through it quickly, filtering out stuff to try. What I like, I write about here.

Google Reader has been my RSS feed reader of choice from the beginning. And the amount of response Google’s announcement regarding the shutting down of Google Reader (7/1/2013) has generated, it’s nice to see that I’m not alone in my grieving. I know that sounds dramatic, but Reader is always open in my browser. I dip into it several times during the day. I use it as much as I use email. [For those who aren’t quite ready to let Google Reader go, there are several petitions at Change.org. This one has the most votes. You’re invited to add your voice to the thousands.

Replacing Google Reader

I’ve been reading reviews of the top contenders for replacing Google Reader (one review from LifeHacker). Feedly has been getting a lot of good press. I really like its mobile app, but I’m still not sure how I feel about the web interface. TheOldReader feels comfortable since it looks and acts much like Google Reader, but some functioning isn’t quite there yet, like social media integration. I know TheOldReader developers are working their butts off right now; it’s a side project for them that is suddenly taking up much more of their time. The other readers that are getting buzz, like NewsBlur, NetVibes, and Pulse, are too magazine-y for me. I want to read information, not look at pretty pictures – not that I have anything against pretty pictures.

TheOldReader

When you look at TheOldReader, you’ll see that it looks a lot like Google Reader. In fact, it looks pretty much how Google Reader used to look. They say that this project started just as something for their friends who liked the original Google Reader.

On the left you can click the top button to add a subscription. The bottom of the left navigation bar shows the feeds. Click the “import” button in the top right corner to import your news feeds from another service, like Google Reader. Instructions on getting your Google Reader news feeds into a format TheOldReader can use, see this blog post. As of this writing (3/17/2013), TheOldReader has a pretty big backlog of import requests. As for the reading experience, if you’re coming in from Google Reader, the keyboard shortcuts are the same.

The toolbar to the right of the screen lets you use buttons to navigate up and down through the articles. The third button lets you switch between the article preview mode depicted in the screenshot above and title mode where you only get the list of titles.

Feedly

Feedly has a different feel. If you try Feedly before July 1, 2013 when Google Reader is scheduled to take its last breath, your Google Reader feeds will be automatically imported. Feedly was originally built to connect to Google Reader, and you can still do that now. The Feedly developers are currently working on the backend to ensure a seamless transition from feeds coming from Google Reader to the feeds residing inside of Feedly itself.

In the screenshot below, you can see my feed folders on the left. Clicking the cog icon in the top right corner (is it a cog??) calls up the settings. Choose the format you want. What’s displaying now is full articles, but if you like pretty pictures, switch to magazine, timeline, mosaic, or cards. At the very bottom of that menu is a filters area. Feedly will only show you your unread items by default. Uncheck the box to see both read and unread items.  One quick warning. On the left, next to each feed or folder, there is a number.  That’s how many unread items you have.  If you click on it, Feedly will mark all of those feeds as being read.  Be careful!

I’m still a big fan of keyboard shortcuts. In Feedly, hit the question mark on your keyboard to get the shortcut list. Press ESC when you’re done.

Mobile apps

As of this writing TheOldReader doesn’t have a mobile app, but I suspect one is in development. Or will be soon. Feedly already has an app that I like. My only complaint is that Feedly picks an article out of the feeds to make a “cover” article. Since we’ve already established that I don’t care for a magazine-y interface, I find the cover article irksome.

Try them both

I encourage you to try them both. If you frequently read your feeds on a mobile device you may want to try Feedly‘s web and mobile app interfaces first. Whatever is marked as read in one location will be marked as read in the other location. But it’s not like you can’t read TheOldReader feeds on your mobile device. Just use your mobile browser. And if you like magazine-y layouts, by all means take a look at NewsBlur, NetVibes, and Pulse.

If you have found an RSS feed reader that you like, please let us know in the comments.

Mar 132013
 

[Update 3/17/2013: My recommended RSS feed readers are in this post.]

Google Reader has been my go-to RSS feed reader since it launched in 2005. I’m pained to see it go. If you’re a Google Reader user, the first thing you need to do – after an appropriate period of mourning – is get your feed subscriptions dumped into an OPML (XML) file so that you can import them into another reader.

Exporting subscriptions

In Google Reader, go to settings (cog icon on the far right of the screen), and select the “Import/Export” tab. At the bottom of the screen, click “Download your data through Takeout.”

Click “Create Archive.”

Give Google a minute to get your data together.

When it’s ready, click “Download.”

Your data will come to you neatly compressed in a zip file. Save it someplace where you can find it. Open the folder and click “Extract all files.”

Click through the subfolders until you see the files themselves. It’s the very last one that you want, the “subscriptions.xml” file.

Importing

Whatever RSS feed reader you move to – I’m trying out FeedBooster right now – the service should have an import function for your subscriptions. Since I’m not quite ready to recommend FeedBooster just yet, keep your eye on this space. I’ll let you know when I find a service that I like.

What do you use?

Do you have an RSS feed reader that you really like? Please share in the comments!

Mar 022013
 

You know how to search Google. Did you know that you can have Google automatically search, and then let you know what it found out?

Go to Google Alerts. Enter your search query.

Let’s say that you’re interested in hearing anything about schizophrenia that appears in the news. Type schizophrenia in the query box, change the “Result type” from “everything” to “News.” Google will give you a preview of the search results.

Next, choose how often you want to have the results of this query delivered to you: As it happens, once a day, or once a week. Do you want just the best results or all results.

Where would you like it delivered? Google will show the email addresses they have on file for you. You can also choose to have it sent as a news feed. When you’re happy, click “Create Alert.”

This bumps me to my alerts page, where I can see this has been added at the bottom. Since I chose “news feed” instead of email I can click on “Google Reader” to add it to my news feed in Google Reader.

If you’re not using Google Reader or some other news feed reader, check out this post on what Google Reader is and how you can use it.

Mar 022011
 

The American Psychological Association recently created a browser toolbar for one of their constituencies: Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges. You can read a little about the toolbar and download it here. They used a free service called Conduit. You know me well enough by now that you can guess what I did. If you don’t know me well enough, I gave it away in the title of this post. I created a toolbar for my class.

Why create a browser toolbar? Experts in behavioral change will tell you that the fewer barriers there are between yourself and a behavior, the more likely you are to engage in that behavior. Want to get those papers graded? Set them on your desk, or, if grading electronically, open them on your computer. Even if you don’t grade them now, it will be easier to get started when you are ready. Want to snack less? Put more barriers between you and the snacks. For example, put the potato chips on the top shelf of your cupboard. And then padlock it. Then put the key in your office desk. You can eat the chips any time you want, but you’re going to have to really want them to get through all of those barriers.

Want students to spend more time with your course? Give them a toolbar that stares them in the face whenever they open their browsers. (This works with all of the major browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.)

You can download my Psych 100 toolbar here.

What the toolbar does

Global toolbar controls. Users can do things like visit my class website (home page), remove the text from the toolbar and just use the icons (shrink toolbar), or clear search history.

Search box. Users can use Bing to do an internet search, or they can search for more specific content.

Contact information. The “Email me” link will open the user’s default email program. “Schedule an appointment” sends the user to a page where clicking the “schedule an appointment” link will direct the user to my YouCanBook.Me calendar. (Blog post on using YouCanBook.Me.)

Psych 100. Here users can find the course calendar, upload their assignments, download syllabi, among other things. (Blog posts on creating a course calendar using Google calendar and using DropItTo.Me for uploading assignments directly to Dropbox.)

Lecture outlines. These links direct the user to the outlines I use in class.

 

Recommended reading. These links send the user to my ‘bookshelves’ in my Google library.

 

Highline resources. Users have easy access to these Highline websites.

 

 

 

RSS feeds. Mousing over each of these links shows the most recent news content from each of these websites.

 

How to create a toolbar

Visit Conduit.com, click “join the network” to set up an account. Once you’re logged in, click “Community Toolbar.”

You’ll see a large number of items you can add to your toolbar. My toolbar was created using two tools.

Click the “menu button” to create a dropdown menu. Almost everything in my toolbar was created this way, so I’m going to take the “Contact S. Frantz” dropdown menu as an example. Clicking “menu button” generates a webpage that gives you this.

Click “Your Menu” then click “Edit.”

That will give you this pop up window. Type in the name of the menu, in this case “Contact S. Frantz.” Anything typed in the “hint” box will appear when your user mouses over that section of the toolbar. I’m going to leave it empty. If you want your users to click on the toolbar button itself to go to a particular webpage, put the URL in here. Since there isn’t any particular place I want to send a user, I’m also going to leave this blank.

Next, click “Icon” to select an icon that will accompany the menu button. While there are 6 categories of icons to choose from I had a hard time finding icons that worked for me. Fortunately, Conduit makes it easy to upload your own icons. Click “Your icons” to upload new ones. The program seems willing to use any image you have in whatever format you have. I uploaded jpegs, and it took them just fine. Of course you can also leave the icon empty.

Clicking “save” will take you back to the original screen. Now click on “Edit link 1” to create the links in the dropdown menu. The process is the same. Enter the name of the link, the URL, add a mouse-over hint if you’d like, and finally add an icon if you’d like. Repeat for additional links. Rearrange links by clicking the “move up” or “move down” button.

Tip: To create a link that will open the user’s email program with an email already addressed to you, in the URL box, enter mailto:your@email.edu.

If you’d like to add more links, or a submenu, or separators, mouse over the name of your menu, then mouse over “add.”

For example, the “Psych 100” button on my toolbar has two submenus. When you mouse-over the links with the arrows on the right, you get a fly-out menu. It also has 3 separators, the thin, recessed lines that separate the content into sections.

Repeat this process for each of the menu buttons you want to create.

Once your content is created, Conduit makes it easy to move or edit buttons. On the main page, you’ll see your toolbar take shape. Mouse over a button, click and drag if you’d like to move it to a different space on the toolbar. Click “Edit” to edit that particular menu.

Analytics

Want to know how many people are using your toolbar or how they’re using it? Click “Analytics.”

After 2 days of being available, here’s how my students have used my toolbar.


Creating additional toolbars

If you want to create toolbars for your other courses or for your department, log out of Conduit, and create a new account. You can use the same email address, but the login name needs to be different.

Uninstall the toolbar

“Internet Explorer users can uninstall Conduit Engine using the Add or Remove Programs function, and Firefox users can uninstall using the Tools > Add-ons menu in the browser” (Conduit FAQ).

What does your toolbar look like?

If you make a toolbar for your course or department, please add the download link to the comments for this post. I’d love to see what you’ve created!

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