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Podcastaway April 1, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

podcas   Or should the title be "Podcast, away!"

Last week my Instructional Technology Facility hosted a brown bag session for the Deans Graduate Advisory Council. The topic was “Getting Yourself Published” and we had two young and rising scholars from the faculty on hand to share their insights into publishing for the academe, Kevin Vinson and Jenny Lee. Just as they were about to begin I noticed one of our graduate students with a small voice recorder in front of him. He obviously intended to capture the talk.

As I scanned the room, I noticed it was filling to capacity very quickly. The Graduate Council had struck a nerve. I turned to the graduate student and asked for a copy of the recording. “We could podcast this,” I told him with some excitement in my voice. Somewhere in the first few seconds of the podcast we finally made you can hear me in the background – I do not always sound like that. But I am jumping ahead.

Making a decent podcast depends on high quality recordings right from the beginning. We tried to do a podcast back in the fall with Dr. John Pedicone speaking about educational issues that were affecting Arizonans. Unfortunately, I could not hook him up to the microphone since he had someone else speaking with him. As a result, he wandered away from the microphone and we got 50 megabytes of audience noise in addition to a watery sound from the speaker.

A couple of days after the talk, the graduate student walked into my office, good as his word, and dropped off two sets of CDs. One contained WAV files of the talk while the other contained a file of a talk he recorded when Governor Janet Napolitano came to town the Friday before. Her talk, he said, was excellent. To make the long story quite short, I used a series of free tools to get the talks broadcast. The details are available at each of the sites I used but here they are for your enjoyment: a technical convoy of tools all working in harmony to accomplish the task of getting our first two podcasts out to the community.

Step One: Obtain the voice files. One was a WAV file (uncompressed audio) while the other was a standard CD (cda format).

Step Two: Use freeware Audacity program to convert the WAV file to an MP3 (technically a VBR MP3) and get another free convert to turn the cda to an mp3.

Step Three: Upload the mp3 audio files to a free service called ourmedia.org which, in turn stores it at archive.org.

Step Four: Create a free blog at blogspot.com and make a link to the audio file hosted at ourmedia.org.

Step Five: Use the free services of Feedburner.com to broadcast the podcast as an RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication).

Step Six: Submit the podcast to iTunes for general distribution (although you can use iTunes and any other device that will play mp3s to listen.

Easy as pie. So, if you pop in to http://coeitf.blogspot.com you can take in our first attempts. I believe the sound quality is superior to the other College of Education podcasts I have heard. You be the judge.



1. Zs - April 2, 2006

Hey, thanks for the steps. So weird… I attended Friday late afternoon a presentation about podcasting . Well, they advertised it as “did you ever wanted to learn more about podcasting? Come and you will learn here!”
The problem was that the presenter (Pamela Gay, Ph. D.) just advertised the company’s blog where we can find podcasted info on astronomy… to come in this June.
Really cool, but for some reason I thought they will teach us how to podcast not send us to a web to listen info …I was dissapointed, but learned about two cool blogs on astronomy! Abby can check out the two blogs on astronomy listed in there.
Thanks for doing their job! :-)

2. mcvey - April 2, 2006

For over a year, a young group of people have been podcasting Slacker Astronomy and I love it. I suppose another perspective would be a good idea. I’ll tune into these podcasts too.

We are already planning to podcast the speeches of a few visiting scholars in just the next few days. The problem is that I can rarely make it out of the office to attend these things so the podcasts have opened a new vista for me.

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