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Podcasting January 25, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Lifelong Learning, Online Tools.
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podcast  I had tried on three occasions to drop into our University of Arizona Faculty Fellows Speakers Series during lunch. Unfortunately, I was held back each time by demands on my time back at the office. Now, rather than bemoaning the fact that I am sometimes too busy, I can simply listen to the series using podcasting technology.
This technology is certainly going to be helpful once we figure out how best to make it work. I tried downloading one of the podcasts for the series and was surprised at its size, 120 Megabytes. I plugged it into winamp and managed to hear it but at 45 minutes, the file size seemed too large.

I asked around to discover that it really played best in Real Player. After downloading and installing RealPlayer, making sure I neither loaded their many add-ons nor subscribed to their newsletters, it played very well and, much to my surprise, it played back in video format as well. Thus, the large file size.

What was interesting to me was that all I needed to do to satisfy my curiosity, was to take one look at the speaker’s face then I buried the presentation under several windows and let the audio take over. Perhaps it is because I am not much of a television watcher anymore, but I enjoyed the presentation just as much in the audio only format.

I tune into regular podcasts almost as soon as they are released. For example, every Saturday I listen to a science show called Quirks and Quarks from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I had been a regular listener until I came to the United States over a decade ago and I am delighted to get back in touch with a show from my younger days. I never had the need to see the smiling faces of the speakers.

One more benefit of podcasting, for me, is that my time is often pulled so thinly that I rarely can fit in the time for the whole presentation in one sitting. It took me four attempts to finally finish the presentation and it was worth the effort.
A couple of my colleagues and I have threatened to sit around one afternoon with a digital recorders and simply share what we have been up to. Of course, we think we are brilliant; now all we need is an audience to agree.

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