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Podcasting for learning – a series

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This series of posts on podcasting on the E-Learning Curve is recommended by Stephen Downes:


Written by Mira Vogel

August 10, 2009 at 14:26

Posted in podcasting, techniques

Recording an audio presentation – quick and dirty (but good enough)

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There’s a general feeling in the podcasting community (even trailblazers like Oxford) that good-enough is good enough. Production perfectionism for its own sake is not going to win a lecturer or institution any extra points. It’s the design and relevance of the recording that counts.

A member of staff contacted me at short notice to sort out recording a lecture. With the above in mind, we went together to the room in which she would be recording, armed with:

  • Laptop with Audacity, the free audio recording and editing software
  • Unfamiliar Olympus digital voice recorder (precursor to this one) borrowed from the Media Equipment Centre
  • A handheld mic, plus fuzzy (aka windshield), ditto
  • A video conferencing headset (earphones and backup mic)

Then we experimented, me at the back of the room scraping my chair and coughing to provide background noice.

  • First with the voice recorder round the the presenter’s neck, but there was way too much rustling
  • Then with the handheld mic – turned out we’d been lent the wrong lead, so we ruled that out for the minute
  • Then simply holding the recorder – this worked very well, quality-wise.

The recorder has integrated USB connection so we easily downloaded the test to the laptop. It was in WMA format, so we imported it to Audacity (after a straightforward install of the relevant libraries), and exported it to mp3, with metadata, and from hard-drive to the VLE.

It was very straightforward.

To know:

  • The original amplitude was a little high and there was clipping – you can’t see this until it goes into Audacity, so it’s just something to know – make a note of the volume and adjust accordingly. Not critical though.
  • Let the students know a) a recording is ongoing and b) to keep superfluous noise to a minimum
  • A headset mic would be ideal for hands-free presentation
  • The presenter should take their mobile phone far away or turn it off – it can interfere with the recording.
  • On this digital voice recorder model
    • Turn the recorder off before exposing the USB connection
    • To pause, press record; press record again to resume

Written by Mira Vogel

June 3, 2009 at 17:05

Posted in podcasting

iTunes U briefing on podcasting and mobile learning – a day at Apple

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The sections following this one are notes from an Apple briefing – a day of presentations from iTunes U and one of their most successful users, the University of Oxford, which took place today at the Apple premises in Hanover Square near Oxford Circus in London. The invited audience were probably mostly technical people, and I was standing in for John.

Although the two main presenters had also presented at the Beyond Walls conference we blogged about back in April, they took a different perspective in that they had a good balance of practical and technical (but very little about pedagogy or designing learning experience – this was for a technical audience, and we need to think about these things separately).

What this event was about was the practicalities of setting up a podcasting service in your institution, all the way from creating or capturing content through to feeding it to listeners / viewers via iTunes U and – importantly – alternatives for non-Apple users.

To summarise, iTunes U is simply a stage for surfacing and promoting stuff that is recorded and hosted somewhere your own institution chooses. The material can be private and internal, but most institutions are making it freely available to the world as a way of promoting the institution and the work of its academics.

As well as being a proven marketing tool, iTunes U also makes things easy for the owners of Apple products – iPod, iTouch, iPhone – and that is a pretty hefty market share that Apple has – to download and synch materials to their devices. But Apple don’t expect iTunes U and Apple products to be the only means of accessing the recordings – they’re made available in non-proprietary formats available to people like me who don’t own any Apple products, and most institutions have a separate webpage from which you can subscribe to and download the materials (10% of users come at the material this way).

Institutions which podcast tend to work to gather existing recordings, encourage academics and students to create more, start off by piloting routine creation of audio (and optionally but less often video) materials for a few courses, provide support with DIY production across the institution, use existing kit or buy some inexpensive kit, promote simple quality measures, and address legal issues like copyright and IP. Because it’s DIY (or we can think of it as building skills) institutional podcasting requires leadership blessing for a small steering committee including internal and external communication, technical people and learning technologists, academics and ideally students, and some funds for internal promotion and working up materials.

Notes follow or skip to the end for my proposals in response.

See separate doc (to come) for URLs of sites referred to during the sessions.

John Hickey, Senior Mg HE

History of iTunes

2004 Duke provided all incoming students with an iPod (and Belkin mic attachment). Ipod was new and viewed as a music player. Students asked what they wanted on it; lecture capture was something they wanted. A new way of taking notes which freed up their attention for listening. The students were writing down times and prompts allowing them to navigate the recording easily (iPod interface was conducive to precisely this). Duke professionally recorded the lectures and posted files on webpage. Downloading wasn’t very convenient.

Itunes store was established – find, download, play, sync music. Duke Uni asked Apple to make them into a rock star.  Then Stanford, MIT, Michigan and a subsequent explosion of interest. 18 countries and 600+ institutions as of May 09. Stanford was the first to want to make the content available to the general public.

Jan 13th launched outside English-speaking countries.

Practicalities of podcasting with iTunes U

Itunes U is free. It’s rebrandable, so the university page doesn’t have to look like a shop front. The videos themselves can be rebranded, e.g. The OU’s watermark. It’s standards free – no DRM, no exclusivity, all built of RSS. Content stays on Uni servers if preferred (or can be hosted). The institution, rather than Apple, is taking responsibility for the content. Spike in use during the Olympics relating to searches about China from an academic, educated perspective. Darwin’s 200th birthday. The software running in the background doesn’t have to be Apple. Content is non-exclusive. Unis encouraged to diversify, so iTunes U and other ways.  Itunes U is not a replacement for a learning management system nor a virtual learning environment. Itunes is a way of organising audio and video content and link it in optimally to a public web site or private VLE eg Blackboard building block. Universities create artwork. Itunes U has a public site and a private site for content available behind a login. Each site has links. There is no entrapment within iTunes U.

So what’s in it for Apple?

It doesn’t really cost anything – it’s just stage space. Apple also produces host space called Beyond Campus (e.g. Tate) and for primary and secondary education. BETT will be using this.  It won’t sell any more iPods but it does provide more conversations with prospective customers. It’s hooked into the iTunes store, but there’s an admin control to turn off the store but allow access to iTunes U – so the site can be deployed for 1000s of machines in a programmatic way.

Only institutions can deploy iTunes – not individual departments.


UCL’s bumpers (‘intros’ and ‘outros’) at the beginning and end. 80/20 rule – 20% is very well produced, 80% is ‘natural’. Trinity College Dublin discovered that who was speaking mattered more than the production quality.


Easy and scalable; control of look and feel; instant podcasting (synching); related content is easy to find; works with existing authentication environment without claiming anything back – iTunes is not entitled to student or staff information; easy to distribute or make salient auxiliary course content eg transcript, safety information, reference information within a tab structure; iPod ready.

Itunes U supports screen readers.

Works with any Open format – particularly MPEG 4 which supports closed captioning. Doesn’t support proprietary formats like Real or even QuickTime.

iTunes U is just a stage (as in a space for hosting and promoting); its success the explosion of public content took Apple by surprise and consequently. By design it doesn’t support VLE integration, but provides code libraries to help with this, and there are examples of institutions integrating with the VLE (e.g. Vanderbilt)

How much content should we have to start a site?

“Enough to represent the breadth and depth of your institution.” Hickey recommends 250-300 individual pieces of content. Any fewer looks thin. Once you reach 1000 pieces they recommend moving to 3-column layout. University of South Florida’s Lit to Go, students recording copyright-free literature. This plumped up their provision with a collection. Itunes U recommends starting with public site first, because it “provides a better explanation across the institution about how you might best be able to utilise it”.

Alternative feeds for downloading the material

Stanford have an html page of simple RSS feeds. Oxford also takes users to normal podcast site. (These are indispensable – both for people who don’t have or use Apple products, and for contingency if Apple should by some freak of circumstances go belly up.

User stats and marketing impact

Stats are available from iTunes. Cambridge is publishing theirs. OU has its iTunes U Impact site. 3.6 million downloads in the year; 87% from outside UK, with 1 in 6.6 downloads proceeding to visit the website. Consider iTunes U a good marketing tool. They can break down the statistics geographically to help make decisions about where to promote their brand.  It’s necessary to refresh content or visitors will stop returning. The OU published a plan for a given period of time. Change splash screen every month or so.

Support  (for admins? Or everyone?)

Apple realise that many people don’t read manuals. There are a couple of quick videos on artwork, branding, tab creation – not definitive, just need-to-know.
Behind the scenes – the institutional admin’s view
The admin at each institution has an Apple ID and password.

Front page is banner graphic / album art – inexpensive and easy to insert.

Main thing to create on a technical side is an RSS feed. Institution feeds content to iTunes.

Users can view in different ways: genre; icon and so on.  How do you maintain the separate public and private sites consistently e.g. one graphic image overlayed on each course? Templated metadata input. There’s a web API to automate the workflow to achieve the consistent creation of content. Also possible to do manually. To upload artwork requires two pieces of software. For each piece of material you include a contact email, a link, alternative text for screen reader.

Peter Robinson, University of Oxford

Background computing and audiovisual. Vid projects, audio projects. He has spent the last year capturing and reworking material for itunes.ox.ac.uk. Stresses teamwork. Worked to a deadline – treated it like a project with a launch day.

Downloads have been enormous, iTunes U is global. Good ‘metrics of success’ 150 feeds of mostly 1h lectures. 80% material is audio only. Parallel Web Portal accounts for 10% of downloads – podcast.ox.ac.uk. This matters because some of the machines at oxford are heavily locked down, and for political e.g. Anti-capitalist reasons. Up to 3,000 downloads per week, and increasing (so it requires a high level of availability storage, says Spiros). Stiglitz’ discussion on global financial regulation has been their biggest success; topped iTunes chart for 5 weeks. Peter tweaked the title to anticipate searches for “credit crunch”.

Growing content

Sowing seeds of new content requires a sort of internet gardening. Album covers includes faces which allows a sense of who is giving the material, and their importance within the university. Discussions are recorded – e.g. professors reading the headlines and triggering discussions. New pedagogical forms. Capturing strong, charismatic, interesting people doing what they do.

There’s a tricky IT landscape at Oxford, in that it’s devolved to colleges and sometimes departments. Central thinking involves devolved thinking. No central audiovisual repository.

Laptop ownership is now 91% among freshers.

Small project board, uni webmaster, internal coms, learning technologist and technical person, and a 5th (academic?).

Legal work for Council approval needs to be started early – it moves at a glacial pace.

Peter began to collect material and metadata in a spreadsheet, breaking it down into categories. e.g. Oxford Internet Institute. Apple is better at marketing content than institutions are at marketing the internally-hosted site. So the message was “Don’t change what you do, but buy into getting more outreach and moving your stuff into a more prominent position”.

Model is a DIY model, devolved. Create > Place Online > RSS item.

What academics need to do

How do you get your content? Andreas Busch is prof of Politics. He was already recording things.  Another way to get content was to find people who were doing interesting research, sent them an email and recorded them. It was mostly students who did this.

Tagging – as many and as broad as possible, to surface yourself.

Podcast communit at Oxford was established. Includes Simon the quantum nano-technologist who’d done a science museum exhibition. The former Head of the Medical Research Council about stem cell research.

The institution’s iTunes U site

Think about whether there is something there that should be promoted in response to current affairs. Some jostling for a position on the front page. ‘Top downloads’ on front page instigates a sense of pride in individual academics.

Some training material based on the workflow.

Technicalities – people have used Yahoo pipes to produce the RSS feed, although Ox has an internal systems. Encoding engine Apple Podcast Producer chugs through the encoding in different formats. Better anticipating everything (eg high quality mobile formats) at once and storing for future use rather than coming back to something years later. Stored on own server with simple folder structure representing departments. Delivery channels VLE, iTunes U, web version, an unanticipated channel possibly requiring a weird format.

At Oxford it was launched with a recording from the VC and a press release.

Legal and quality issues

A team of people listens to everything that gets put up. Quality is in the eye of the beholder – not aiming for perfect quality. Try to avoid Q&A sessions. Four-hour integrity check – a script to check the Web Service e.g. Links are working and so on. All the tabs have separate feeds with separate settings. Legal workflow – release form for everything in the system. At Oxford academics own copyright of own material, so academics can decide whether or not to release own material.


Internal with £300 worth of A5 fliers for freshers pack. External marketing via Coms.

Institutional readiness – John Hickey

The people and roles

1.Institutional leadership – somebody high up needs to say that it is alright to give content for podcasting.
2.Legal leadership – one global agreement from Apple, which is not the tough part – the tough part is the intellectual property. Need to start involving Council early – two pieces of info they need to know for public site: it’s global, and it’s downloadable. So need right to redistribute the material globally. If a student asks a question in France, do you have the right to use their voice? And if the student leaves? Or is expelled? In most institutions the legal council has already thought of this and students have signed something on admission to the effect that the contributions they make are part of the institution’s academic pursuit.
3.PR and coms. Institution must think hard about what they are putting out. Also what happens in a rebranding of corporate look+feel.
4.Technical leadership – somebody needs to make and test the RSS feeds. In U of Ox the feeds were scattered throughout the institution.
5.A project manager is helpful – a person to flow communications through.

How to get started: the application to iTunes U

1.Degree-granting institutions apply to iTunes U (there’s no commitment on the application).
2.Primary contact
3.Technical contact
4.Legal contact
5.How many pieces of media
6.6-9 month plan for the media
7.What kinds of media formats they are in

iTunes U then sends a PDF with the agreement to be signed (there isn’t a specimen legal agreement – John says that it caused more work to make it public.)

Then iTune U creates the site, although public release may happen at a later date.

Going live

Records are always released on Tuesdays (New Music Tuesdays). Institution’s PR schedules this with iTunes. Itunes works with institution’s marketing people, there’s often an institutional press release which Apple helps with (though Apple doesn’t press release).
The fastest turnaround from applying to launch was 45 days. The usual is – between signing the agreement and launching – average 2-3 months. There is often a hitch between applying and signing the agreement which often traps applications in institutional cycles and extends the time.

He won’t tell us how many institutions have signed, but the information Apple does share:

  • Nearly 200 universities make their content publicly available through iTunes U on the iTunes Store
  • These 200 universities, combined with over 50 Beyond Campus providers and a dozen state K12 projects, are making over 150,000 audio and video education files available for free
  • There are over 300 universities using iTunes U for internal, private use

We will see a large increase in next academic year. Apple see themselves as simply providing stage space and a way for academics and institutions to surface their stuff globally.

21st Century Learners and mobility – John Hickey

Apple studies 21st Century learners.
Mobility – devices and expectations. “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born”. So what do today’s students view as technology?
Mobile networks cover 90% of the world’s population. By Olympics 2004 1 in 4 of all mobile devices sold will be smartphones.

63 % use tech to prepare for class – 60% of those use social networking sites, 58% use mp3 players, 75% use notebooks. 24% use technology in class, though (this might be to do with power). 66% of classrooms have wireless access in 2007. 82% prefer recorded lectures, 60% of institutions say they do not routinely make it available (really – that few??)

Apples say they don’t view things purely as hardware, they view things as integrated with an operating system – as what you can do. You need applications in order to be able to do things. Iphoto. Garage Band. Ship free with every single Mac. He talks about the technology receding into the background. The hardware and software work very well together.

Timeline 2007 16 unis and 12k audio and video files. Today 600 active iTunes U site and 18 countries. It’s bucking the current economic trend.
The mobile landscape will be all about content. Creating it. Or capturing it.

See also

UCL’s Peter Mobbs ‘The Potential of iTunes’ – caught a glimpse on the UCL site I think.

STEEPLE project to become independent of any single host or system – as well as technicalities, there’s lots on copyright and dealing with IP issues.

Andreas Busch’s (?) of the U of Ox piece on the pedagogical value of podcasting

MV ideas

Podcasting – making recorded material available for download onto mobile technologies –  is not a fad. The reason it isn’t going away is because it fits with the broadening participation agenda, the flexible learning agenda, and because mobility has so much to offer in pedagogical terms – the in-situ critical presentations on works of art in art galleries. The instructional or informational presentation. The interactive tour. The lecture where students can give the lecturer their full attention rather than frantically scribbling notes. It also helps improve the international profile of the institution.

We could begin a drive over summer to find and create an inventory for existing recordings.

Oxford uses interns / students on placements or pro-rata to help capture content, and listen to/watch it. At the moment, there is a feeling at Oxford that capturing video as well as audio is too challenging. Can Goldsmiths succeed in this by using some of our home-grown talent?

A Goldsmiths podcasting project
1.Hunt for content
2.If we have 300 pieces or more, then we’re ready to go.
3.If not, work out a plan for increasing our collection (also actually collecting our collection, not to mention documenting our collection)
4.Make it DIY. Raise the educational issues – what changes if your presentation is downloadable after the event? – and produce an inventory of available kit and supporting guides on using it. Organise workshops (I’ve run a couple of successful ones on creating audio recordings)
5.Get members of the senior management team behind this, to give the nod to people creating and submitting their recordings
6.Make sure we know the info to answer the iTunes U application form above. We’d need to know this anyway, in order to make a good fist of any podcasting project.

See also STEEPLE is a UK HE community project funded by JISC and led by Oxford, with involvement from Nottingham, UCL and several others (including Goldsmiths if we want to join in)

Written by Mira Vogel

May 11, 2009 at 22:27

Posted in event, podcasting

‘Beyond’ conference on podcasting

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Here are imperfect and patchy notes from the ‘Beyond’ Oxford Podcasting Conference. There are interesting links and backchannel stuff on Twitter by hashtag beyond09 And of course the sessions themselves will be podcast (audio and video)  – presumably there’ll be a link from the conference site.

I’ll put a summary first. Learners are comfortable soaking things up. Our challenge is to avoid the TV model of broadcasting content, and incorporate challenges into the listening/watching experience. It is not enough either to merely make available content (although this is certainly useful for learners with a range of different educational needs e.g. mobility problems, attention deficit). Ideally learners can tag and annotate particular parts of a recording in order to make it less of a lumpish thing to work with. Business models / distribution models can fold. Apple was ubiquitous at this conference. What if iTunes U folds? The way to ensure that our content outlasts any one distribution model is to adhere to shared standards and metadata. Get involved with the Steeple Project, jointly led by Oxford, Cambridge and the OU with Nottingham, UCL and Reading involved. Steeple is an alternative to iTunes U with built in interoperability between systems. A kind of future-proofing which iTunes U doesn’t have. See particularly the Steeple Podcasting Booklet which (after this evening, I’m assured) can be generated from the wiki at http://www.steeple.org.uk.

One big question mark for me is cognitive evidence about podcasting. When people say very confidently (what Brian Eno also says) that the human ear requires different textures in order for the brain to remain engaged, where is the evidence for this, and what does adding texture involve? This was an interesting conf, in that it was technical without being at all practical.

Next, the sessions – and please keep in mind that the rest of this post is a little patchy. I commend you to Twitter.

Early bird session on designing podcasts

From the HEA special interest group Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes

We listen to a montage from the Today Programme (BBC Radio 4’s daily morning news programme).

What makes a good educational podcast i.e. a good listening experience?

Is lecture-capture a good way to use podcasting, or is it capturing the traditional.

Recording of lectures – summary of lectures or prevision of lectures?

One audience member uses podcasts for student-to-student support.

Another uses it for language learning and reflecting back on development

Hallam – audio notes project. Note-making as and when. Making notes is helpful (not necessarily listening back).

‘Colour’ – ‘texture’ – variety of voices. Switch, re-engage and give different perspectives.(But there is no colour or texture, as such, in verbal texts).

Worries from one educational academic about oratory rather than education; soundbiting from what is already a summary; giving undue emphasis. Worries about how to edit naive questioners, how to edit others’ voices.

What is the role of editor and producer?

Should podcasts be built to last?

How do we engage our listeners? How do podcasts fit into the broader world of what students do?

New Channels to New Learners: Podcasting and the Open University. Peter Scott, The Open University

OU has quite a long podcast form, including managing your rights, iTunes categories.

“Little R&D lab” of 100 people working on new media.

Over 30 universities have YouTube channels. de.licio.us/youtube+uk+hei. 600 Unis have iTunes U.

The OU doesn’t do educational production very well because they do everything in teams. Magazine Platform contains different models.

Three different channels.

podcast.open.ac.uk (registration of podcasts for any OU academics – it will enter a workflow and editorial process)

youtube.com/ou – sections of BBC-co-worked material.


This session is about being professional in podcasts – coherent feeds which can be consumed by other services. iTunes is merely an RSS generator and syncher to mobile devices.

Principle – keep your content in one place and then feed / aggregate elsewhere.

iTunes – potential relationship between registered credit cards and doing educational stuff. Now the OU is at 3.4 million downloads via that channel. iTunes U is a very visual channel and the images used are important to get people to look at your work and be interested in your work. iTunes has a strong brand which matches the OU’s quality drive. Zero geek and works well with mobile devices. Text docs (pdf transcripts) are a significant download via that channel). Who owns the content? iTunes allows those kinds of decisions, including selective released. ‘Understanding Islam’ was a popular download in California last year. Stats from first 301 days. 1 in 6 go to OU web site. Apple editorial team was responsible for a number of spikes in listenership. Giving free stuff is one of the OU’s core values. All materials hosted in the Amazon cloud somewhere so the OU’s core systems / servers don’t break. Outsourcing is attractive to vice chancellors (then there was a strange few sentences about his credit card, expenses claims, not needing to tax IT Services with it, and downloaders getting to choose the server).

STEEPLE.org.uk – sharing podcast best practices.

iCoper – EU-funded project on best practices for open educational resources.

Stellar – eu project.

From Twitter – use last.fm to find out if people are listening to your iTunes U site

The Challenges and Opportunities in Podcasting at a Research University. Peter Robinson, University of Oxford

The story of Oxford Uni on iTunes U. Enterprise-level podcasting – see their booklet generated from their wiki. Aggregation across 3 universities – oxford, cambridge and the OU. Community-building.Legal stuff is very important indeed. Content management. Signed release forms for material.

JISC’s Ron Cooke is concerned that we’re lagging behind EU and US in terms of sharing materials. JISC is pioneering but the content-producing academic community is lagging behind.

Difficult to know how many AV units are in the university and how we know what academics are doing, where and for what purpose. Fresher’s fair survey about technology ownership.

Read / listen to this later, it’s good (I had an interlude assisting the person next to me finding the conference hashtag.

Need to empower people out in the departments into taking ownership and creation of their own content with a lot of handholding.

Could what has been achieved at Oxford be achieved nationally?

Pathways – perhaps a tour of material on e.g. climate change (its economics, physics, etc).

Podcast community is devolved content driven by local means. The devolved model means that nobody quite knows what is coming in.

“It has hit the admissions agenda”.

Decision to put faces on the album cover as a seal of authenticity – and sometimes quality assurance by reputation.

Eric Raymond’s Cathedral and the Bazaar.

Social sciences have taken to podcasts well – maybe there is a nature of public dissemination in their activities anyway. Marcus Du Sautoy is doing a regular. Really low-tech – single digital recorder.

Legal workflow is very important. The academic and the HoD sign off each recording.

Internal marketing. External communications officers were supportive too.

Steady flow of cheap, high quality material. Audio is absolutely cracking for most things.

Podcasting People: Stories and experiences from real life podcasters


Warwick model – students do the recording, couple of thousand lecture the


Transcription? Systems coming from military and about to be on open market with automatic transcription with a high level of accuracy. But 80% might not be accurate enough. If you want to support transcripts or captioning, worth looking into.

Skills – people can’t always speak for long periods of time. Scripted or semi-scripted podcasts. Videocue autocue systems via recording on a mac.

User studies from Osnabruck. Markus Kettrl

Think Aloud methods – make a recording or take notes. Possible to edit the recordings online and extract parts. VirtPresenter lecture capture (according to some helpful soul on Twitter) can tell you which parts of capture students cue to most, nice feature, extraction facility too.

Found it hard to concentrate for this one.

Future needs and mobile multimedia with Erewhon. Tim Fernando, University of Oxford

A technical overview of geolocation database.

Including OxPoints. Helped with a charity fun-run!!

What has a geolocation database got to do with a load of podcasters? Well if you have a podcast which is relevant to a certain building for example, it could be queried in the geolocation database. If this is used on a smartphone they can download podcasts for anything that piques curiosity.

Tim Fernando talking about considerations when targeting mobile users: audio/video; filesize; quality; chapters. No point high definition when the target device is tiny. Why push more times the amount of data than necessary.

Under the bonnet: Technical considerations in running Open University Podcasting. Ben Hawkridge, The Open University

Podcast authors should get to focus on content rather than on craft-skills or technical considerations.

Vast array of media authoring systems. What is the context – fieldwork? desktop? events?

Content management system? VLE?

Media transcoding for the right format? Or allow the authors to choose convenient format. Let the institution do the transcoding for mobile, mp3 player, laptop etc.

Delivery service – RSS? Atom?

Logging and stats – vital. Make the case for continuing. What does a download mean? How does a download of a 3 min vid compare to a download of an hour’s lecture?

Portal to bring together podcasts from diverse sources. OU built own CMS.

Can you hear me now? How to get your videos into UK secondary education. Bjoern Hassler, Cambridge University

Where do teachers hang out? Places made for teachers eg national science learning centre, cpd for teachers. Website + resource bank.

John Hickey, Apple

By 2012 one in four phones will be a smart phone – what will they be doing?

He couldn’t explain the computer or ipod to his grandma. His nanna asked him “Do you know what technology is?” “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born”.

The OpenCast Community Project. Olaf Schulte, ETH Zurich

Panel Session – ways forward


  • Laura James, CARET – Cambridge University
  • Paul Gerhardt – Archives for Creativity (he’s in a new JISC think tank about the use of multimedia in education)
  • Olaf Schulte, ETH Zurich
  • Lynne O’Brien, Director of Instructional Technology – Duke University
  • Peter Robinson, STEEPLES Project, Oxford University.
  • Peter Scott, Director of KMi – Open University

Q from JISC – strategies in place for staff to use podcasts rather than simply broadcasting them? How will they be used?

PR: the next challenge. How to add value. Audio feedback?

Bloke from Hallam: audio feedback is very interesting to academics.

OS:Video feedback too.

LoB Experimenting with VoiceThread to organise comments (sometimes by role)

Q: Access for disabled students – podcasting as a tool for increasing accessibility or does it pose problems?

A: Induction loops in all Cambridge lect theatres – incredible that this infrastructure has not been used to capture with better quality.

Q: Let’s get back to content and away from technology for a moment. How can we get our academics producing flagship content?

A PS: One of the best things we can do as academics is creatively make our students’ lives difficult. Old lectures are to sell students the idea of going to the library. Trying to get students to become “complex objects”.

A PR: pet tip for podcasting. Instigate as many peer-to-peer interactions between thinkers. He had one hour’s notice to interview a particle physicist about the CERN Hadron Collider – he did it over skype with pieces of paper on the bed. So, think outside the box, don’t just think lectures. Asking a naive question can prompt an academic to reconnect with what they are trying to communicate.

Q: …?

A Laura – metadata is important. People have different views of things. Recommendations might not work. “If you liked this here is something that you will find challenging”.

A PS: We will think more and more about giving away stuff we used to think of as our crown jewels. Institutions will begin to allow lecture slots for other things than lectures.

A Lynne: Being recorded can inhibit student questions.

Q: In 2 or 3 years time will podcasting become like PowerPoint? If so what can we do so that we can encourage students and academics to normalise it.

A OS: He would like to capture everything as a type of knowledge pool. The use is interesting, but he is more preoccupied with archiving.

A PR: The ear is attuned to prefer different textures of voice. Less than 10% of academics are excellent orators. Plus they are getting an umbrella concept across rather than constructing a watertight argument [be good to get his evidence for this].

A Lynne: Why are we still talking at students for four hours a week? Isn’t their tolerance in a mm age diminishing.

A Peter: I compacted my lectures by thinking carefully. Students like passively taking stuff in. We shouldn’t get sucked into a TV model.

Q: Digg

A PG – disciplined environment of YouTube 6 minutes video. Michael Wesch. Generates responses in the same medium within the same discipline.

Q: How many distribution models do we need? We’ve seen so many models. They’re not all going to survive. Cost and longevity are the issues.

A from Bjorn (floor): Doesn’t matter as long as there are compatible metadata standards (OpenContent) then our recordings will outlast any single distribution model (dead business model).

A PG: Project which committed stuff to laserdiscs.

Written by Mira Vogel

April 3, 2009 at 16:28

Posted in event, podcasting

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