book knowledgeOne thing is certain.  When you begin a distance learning education, you will find yourself suddenly bombarded with a lot of new knowledge.  But the world of knowledge has changed.  In the past, we received our knowledge, mostly from hard-copy books.  Now, everything is different.

Some of the knowledge will be given to you within the classroom. That is simple enough to keep up with because it is stored within the classroom.

Some knowledge will come from libraries that contain professional journal articles or from static website about your topic. There are ways to organize and keep up with this information, as well.  We will discuss some of those ways in more detail in a future post.

Some knowledge will come from other outside sources. One extremely good source of breaking knowledge has come to be “blogging”.  Many of the top people in various fields now use blogs and social networking programs, like Twitter, to pass on their knowledge and to quickly learn of the breaking knowledge of those in their network.

In the past, this could be a little cumbersome.  Sure, you could read blogs from many different people.  But, after you bookmark a few website with blogs, it becomes a cumbersome task to visit every blog every day to see if there is new information.

But, never fear, there is a way to handle this!  Keep reading to discover the secret for organizing these blogs and other types of news feeds.

On many blogs you may have seen an image such as this one.  RSS Feed ImageIt is the now standardized image to mean RSS Feed. But, what is an RSS Feed?

An RSS Feed is a way websites have of letting you know when they have new content. If you subscribe to their RSS Feed, you don’t have to keep going back to the site to see if there is something new.  Instead, the site will notify you and even deliver the new content directly to you.

There is actually a video on YouTube from Google that gives a good overview of how Google Reader (or any other RSS Reader) works.

For an actual tutorial of HOW to use Google Reader, tk9498294 provides an excellent youtube video.

But what use is this?

As you roam through your online classes and collect information, hopefully you will also be developing your PLN (Personal Learning Network).  Many people in that network (and perhaps even many of your classmates) will probably have blogs that have a lot of useful information.  (Yes, some people definitely have personal blogs with non-useful information.   However, in the professional world, blogs are a very useful source of information.)

It is a good idea to develop habits, early in your education, of how to subscribe to, collect, and organize this information.  And who knows?  Later, you may even be adding your own content to the mix.

So, my advice is to set up a Google Reader account and start early to collect all of the information that will prove useful to you in your distance learning experience, and then on into your career.  (*grins*  And, by the way, feel free to get started by subscribing to this blog.   You will find the RSS icon in the very top right hand corner of this page. )

Then, as you complete research, chances are you will find yourself being directed to blogs, through your Google search.  If you feel that the information is useful and that future posts may be, as well, then these are the blogs you need.  Go ahead and subscribe so that you will receive content as it happens.

So, Happy Blogging and Good Luck in your distance learning endeavors!