Podcasting for Beginners
Heard about podcasting and wondering what it is all about? Wondering if you should include it in your course website? Well, search no further! If you are offering your face-to-face or online course through Distance and Continuing Education, we can provide all the support and resources you will need to successfully include podcasting in your course.
What is podcasting?
Personal On Demand (broad) CASTING. In non-technical terms, podcasting is the "broadcasting" of an audio or video file (like an "episode" of sound or a movie clip) via the Internet.
Why would I want to use it for my class?
Imagine if you could deliver mini-lectures to your class, integrated with your Blackboard course website AND also include a feature that automatically notified your students every time a new lecture was available. Podcasting makes that possible.
Aren't podcasts just for people who own iPods?
No. While the word podcasting first became popularized by users of iPods, in truth, anyone can listen to a podcast as long as they have software or a device (a computer or mobile player) that can play an podcast files. This file type is recognized by PC and Mac computer software (freely available for use) including iTunes.
What else should I know?
Podcasting support and hosting is available to instructors teaching courses through Distance and Continuing Education. We provide comprehensive technical support, production and hosting. Our studio is fully equipped for creating high quality audio narrations, and we can even help you synchronize your narration to your PowerPoint slides.
The Basic Steps
There are five basic steps for creating and including a podcast in your course.
- Step 1: Prepare your presentation. You may use PowerPoint slides, as you might use in your classroom, or develop a script for audio recording. If you choose to use PowerPoint slides, we do recommend that you still consider creating a script or at least a comprehensive set of notes. Recording studios are unlike classrooms, and sometimes the technology can seem a bit overwhelming. Solid presentation notes or a script can help provide the confidence needed to successfully record narration in an unfamiliar environment. Notes or a script also help reduce the amount of editing that is required after recording. We also recommend that you review your presentation slides for any content that is protected by copyright law. Because podcasts are digitally distributed, presentation slides cannot contain any images or other content that would violate copyright laws. Please contact us for assistance with formatting or graphic design if you need further assistance.
- Step 2: Contact Distance and Continuing Education to schedule an appointment to record in our studio.
- Step 3: Send us an electronic copy of your PowerPoint slides, if you are using any. We pre-produce them in a format that is suited for use in a video podcast. We do request a minimum of three business days to process your slides.
- Step 4: Record your presentation. We invite you to dress comfortably and to bring a beverage on the day of your recording appointment. A typical recording session lasts 1 - 2 hours per episode. As you become more comfortable and familiar with the recording process, expect studio session length to decrease.
- Step 5: Post-production. We will provide assistance to prepare your podcast recording for distribution, including final editing, music selection, and publishing the podcast to our server. You will also receive assistance in publishing a link to your Blackboard course shell so that students can access your podcast episodes.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
How do I include my PowerPoint slides?
- Using Apple's Garage Band software, we are able to created enhanced podcasts that feature both your audio recording (narration) and synchronized display of your PowerPoint slides.
Can I synchronize my audio and PowerPoint slides?
- Yes, your students can view the presentation slides and hear your narration, presented in a synchronized video format.
What if I want to do video?
- For most lecture content, full-motion video is generally less instructionally significant. However, for certain kinds of information or demonstration purposes video provides a higher quality learning experience. Please contact us to discuss your needs. We have resources for creating video content.
Podcast Instructions for Students
Your instructor may include podcasting as a way to deliver course lectures, guest speakers or other course information to you. Instructors can use audio or video podcasts. We recommend using iTunes to access and view podcasts.
If you have not already done so, we recommend that you download and install iTunes. It is available free from Apple: http://www.apple.com/itunes/.
Once you have intalled iTunes (or your favorite m4a or video podcast player) use these steps to access episodes:
- Please visit the podcast link that your instructor provides on Blackboard.
- Select the link on the right hand side of the screen, "Subscribe in iTunes."
- The first episode will automatically begin to download in iTunes. (If iTunes wasn't already running on your computer, it should launch).
- Once the first episode has completed downloading, select "Podcasts" from the left-hand side menu on the iTunes window.
- Select the abbreviated course title for your course from the menu in the center of the screen. Next to the title, you should see a little triangle. Select the triangle so that the menu drops down.
- You will see additional episodes listed, followed by a "Get" button for each. Select the corresponding "Get" button to download an episode.
- To view the slides in full screen view, select the "Show item artwork button" (lower left hand corner of iTunes player) and then double-click the podcast title that appears. You can stretch or size the podcast screen to suit your viewing preferences.