RSS-Based Learning Using Audio

RSS-Based Learning Using Audio

Víctor Manuel Álvarez García (University of Oviedo, Spain), María del Puerto Paule Ruiz (University of Oviedo, Spain), Remko van Dort (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands) and Juan Ramón Pérez Pérez (University of Oviedo, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2010100105
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Abstract

Specifications such as RSS feeds are opening a new channel of communication for Internet-based learning, which gives a decentralized view of web resources while maintaining the privacy of teachers and students who are consulting the information. This philosophy can be used to create personalized learning tools in which users can take control of resources they want to have access to. In this regard, RSS is XML-based, which makes it easy to complement visual access with audio interfaces, adapting the feeds to different educational contexts and learning styles. This paper discusses the use of feed syndication to create personalized feed readers accessible in visual and voice formats.
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Introduction

Using web-based technologies is nowadays a part of our daily lives, offering many different ways of establishing new channels of communication. One of the technological opportunities which enable us to access information in a new form is RSS.

Originally developed by Netscape in 1999, RSS (which can stand for RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format that allows web developers to describe and syndicate web site content (Harmmersley, 2003). Since its creation, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has been used on the internet as a means to retrieve information from various web sites, not linked to one another, to be read in one specific application the user can easily access. Using pull technology, the end user no longer needs to go through all the relevant web sites in order to obtain the latest updates or interesting information. By subscribing to feeds available on the web, information can be selected according to personal preferences and can be delivered at the user’s convenience.

The main reasons for this syndication feature to arise were the need to save time when looking for information on the web and the possibility to give users more control over the information retrieval process, personalising the information. Really Simple Syndication allows Web content to be published using a metadata format known as a “Web feed”. There are two web feed formats on the market, RSS (RSS History: http://www.guardian.co.uk/) have a wide variety of feeds available, ranging from general topics such as ‘’international news’’ or ‘’U.S. news’’, to more specific topics such as ‘’Iraq’’, ‘’European Union’’ or ‘’Middle east Conflict’’. This again illustrates the advantage of being able to receive personalised information, separating it from less interesting items.

In a way, newsletters sent out by email can also update a user on the latest news or information but this increases the risk of receiving unsolicited email, or spam, and when receiving RSS feeds frequently, for instance as hourly news flashes, it can obstruct email.

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