Posts Tagged mobile learning

Podcasting

We are getting ready to roll-out podcasting here at our university. It has been over a year in the making. We began with a pilot last summer, but it has taken this long to work out all of the kinks of technical and policy. We had intended on using iTunes U but that has been put on hold for reasons I won’t go in to. We ended up developing our own internal solution. We got the idea from Mississippi State University but ended up developing are own from scratch. We use LDAP authentication so that only our faculty, staff, and students will have access to the application. Only faculty and staff have access to create podcasts and students have access to view podcasts.

We hope to be able to implement iTunes U at a later date, but we have run into road blocks with that so we are not sure when that will come about.

Many discussions of policy about use, accessibility, and best practices went into this before we are arriving at this point. We are set to release our solution university wide July 1st and so now I am feeling the pressure to finish all of the documentation as we will be offering our first training in just a few weeks.

In training, I plan to not only talk about the technical side of podcasting, but also include information about the pedagogy as well. I think it is is important to emphasize certain best practices and using the technology appropriately for their courses.

As we get materials up on our Web site, I will post links to those.

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Let the Podcasting begin

Well, I did my first podcasting training last week. With all of the information about podcasting and different avenues that you could go down…image trying to fit all of that into a 2 hour session. Its impossible! I made it clear at the beginning to the participants that they would not be learning how to use any specific types of software in this workshop. I could have spent 2 hours alone on how to use each software. As a department we have decided to support Audacity, Camtasia, and GarageBand. So, we will do separate workshops for each of those.

Instead, I started off the workshop with a little discussion, asking them about their experience so far with podcasting and if they even knew what it was or had subscribed to a podcast. I always like to have a “get-to-know” the participants and what their prior knowledge is (this goes for any workshop I conduct).

I began with a discussion about terminology…what exactly is a podcast, podcasting, RSS feed, etc? I found that many of the participants where new to these terms. Since I work for a university I approached the workshop from and educational stand-point talking about how podcasting can be used in education and showed them some examples from our podcasting pilot faculty, how they are using them in their courses.

The first hands-on activity…I had them go out to a podcast directory (I gave them a list to choose from) and find a podcast they were interested in subscribing to and I showed them how to use iTunes to subscribe to their chosen podcast. I gave them an orientation of iTunes and talked to them about the iTunes store and finding podcasts through there.

Before jumping into the recording and publishing a podcast part, I felt it was necessary to discuss the planning process. Although there are many podcasts out there, I’m sure, that took no planning at all, when using podcasting for educational purposes, I think it is important to do at least a little planning before hand, especially if you want it to be beneficial to your students. You should decide on a consistent format for your podcast and ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want my students to get out of it?
  • Is this required or optional for my students?
  • Should I use video or audio?
  • What software will I use to record?

Recording, of course, is an important part of the process, but due to the time constraints of this 2-hour workshop, was not able to cover much in regards to this. I covered, location, location, location….

We developed our own internal solution for publishing. We developed a podcasting application that allows our faculty and staff to login with their user id and password and upload their files and the application will create the RSS feed for them. We use a single sign-on using LDAP, so they don’t have to remember another username and password, they use the same one they use for everything else. Faculty and staff have the ability to create and manage podcasts and students only have the ability to view podcasts.

We also discussed issues of accessibility (captioning videos and providing transcripts for audio), copyright and permissions. As with any other technology, I believe it is so important to stress the appropriate use of it.

Overall, I think the first session went well. I was able to get a idea of what their expectations where and now am planning to do an Advanced Podcasting workshop, to hopefully get to the other material I didn’t have time to cover in the first one….there never seems to be enough time to cover it all.

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