Podcasting How Tos
- Podcasting options
Podcasts can be audio-only or include video. Even PowerPoints can be converted to video podcasts with narration. You don't even need a portable media device to listen/watch podcasts as both audio and video podcasts can be played on any computer with iTunes.
- Podcasts Can Be Played On (Almost) All Devices
Although podcasts can be played on a computer, the main appeal comes from portability, but you don't nesessarily have to have an iPods. Any MP3 player (which start around $20 ) can play audio podcasts. The MP3 player only needs the ability to interact with iTunes. As for video, the player needs to be capable of playing MP4 files. Although many (or most) students have at least an MP3 player, we do not recommend assuming all students have one.
- Open Source Software is All You Need
You don't have to buy any software to create a podcast. You will need a mic (at least) to record the audio, but all the software is open source or freeware. Audacity can be used to record and edit the audio. MediaCoder or SUPER can convert various audio and video formats to MP3 or MP4. And Wondershare PPT to iPod will convert a narrated PowerPoint into a video podcast (although Wondershare isn't open source or freeware, IMG has a copy available for faculty use). And iTunes is free to download for everyone.
- Use a Good Headset with USB Mic
Using a USB noise cancelling mic with headphones to record the audio can improve the quality of your podcast. By using a noise cancelling mic in a quiet area, background noise will be kept to a minimum. Although the higher quality headset the better podcast, don't spend too much money. USB headsets aren't too expensive (around $30 for a good one). And IMG has headsets to check out.
- Create PowerPoints That Can Be Read
When creating a PowerPoint for podcasting, keep in mind how the PowerPoint will be displayed. If you create a PowerPoint to be shown by a projector, size of text should be legible across the room. However, if you create a PowerPoint for a video podcast, the text should be legible on a small screen. Text should be easy to read, images simple, and animation limited. Podcast on how to create PowerPoints for podcasting.
- Write a Script
For a quick Podcast, you may be able to wing it. But for a quality lecture, you should write a script. The script will prevent you from going on a tangent and will help focus the lecture. If you are narrating a PowerPoint, the script can be split up by slides.
- Edit Out Ummms, Hummms, and Silence
A script will help keep the narration smooth, but sometimes a cough or a stutter may break the flow of the podcast. Audacity can edit out the silence or ummms in an audio podcast. If you do stumble on a word, take a couple seconds to gather your thoughts and begin again, re-recording the section. The break not only helps to get you back on course while recording, but also lets you easily spot the hiccup in Audacity. If you're adding narration to PowerPoint, there's no need to start over; just re-record the text for the slide.
- White Noise is Good Noise
Background noise can distract listeners, but white noise can help pull together seperate sections. If you record two parts of a narration and combine them in Audacity, then the two may sound spliced together (sudden audio changes). If you add a white noise track throughout the presentation, it will smooth over the transition from one segment to another. Just be sure the white noise doesn't distract listeners.
- Record Reusable Audio
Many of your podcasts may begin or end with a static message, such as an introduction or a concluding disclaimer. If you reuse parts for each podcast, save those as seperate Audacity files. Then you only have to copy and paste the reused portions into each podcast. It saves on time for you, and also keeps everything sounding consistant.
- Students Can Subscribe to Your Podcasts Through Blackboard
If you insert a Web Link to the URL of your iTunes store into Canvas, students can subscribe through Canvas. Once subscribed, any podcasts you add will automatically be downloaded to the student's computer.
If you or your students have any best practices to share, or if you have any questions on how to implement any of the best practices, please contact IMG at 844-5181.
Last Updated: Sept 10th, 2010