Friday, February 28, 2014

Embedding a Blog into the D2L News Area: Optimal Blog Settings

A question arose about whether it was possible to have a blog in D2L for the instructor to post news, updates, etc. and allow the students to reply. Well, D2L does not have a blogging tool, but it is possible to add a blog to the course home page via an iFrame. Here's what a very simple Google blog looks like within D2L. Keep scrolling to learn about the settings I chose for the blog.

I just kept the default template which is called Simple, but I went into Layout, then Template Designer and reduced the right sidebar to as small as possible and increased the "Entire Blog" area to 1030 px.

I anticipated that instructors would not want to have sharing buttons on their posts, like the screenshot below, so my next task was to figure out how to get rid of those.
Eventually I figured out from the help of a blog post I would credit if I could ever find it again that they need to be removed from the HTML via Template. 

After clicking Edit HTML, I found the area that said "shareButtons" and deleted a bunch of stuff after it. The first try, I deleted too much and got a warning (HTML is not my forte). So I tried again and learned that I needed to keep the end </b:includable> and then it worked. (click on the image below to see it better along with my note) 

This is a cool idea, but we'll see if it presents any funkiness in actual usage! I'll report back if so. 

I will also write an additional post about how to add the iFrame to the Course Home page since this one has gotten rather long. 

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