Podcasting on Campus, May 23, 2006, from 08:30 AM - 12:30 PM at Rutgers University, College Center, New Brunswick, NJ
This is a free half-day seminar that explores how podcasting is being used and could be used on campuses. Apple Computer, Inc. is offering a number of these sessions at colleges. I'll be speaking at the Rutgers session.
The topics scheduled are: "Podcasting Means Content to Go", "iPod in the Curriculum", and "iTunes U."
iTunes U is a free, hosted service from Apple for colleges and universities that provides easy 24/7 access to their educational content. NJIT started down the podcasting road with some experimenting in summer 2005. We piloted podcasting with selected faculty during the fall 05 and spring 06 semesters. Rather than trying to get a lot of content online, we opted to experiment with formats.
NJIT has recently been selected to be an Apple iTunes U school, so we'll be moving our materials over to that platform this summer.
In my session, "Paths to Bring Faculty to Podcasting", I will focus on the approach of our pre-iTunes pilot program in podcasting primarily course materials.
- the formats we used and why
- recruiting faculty
- creating podcasts
- software and hardware
- goals for our iTunes U site
- Those faculty who would regularly record lectures or large portions of their face-to-face course.
- Faculty who would record segments of a class session.
- Audio recorded outside of class to supplement the course.
- Reformatting existing media from online courses.
Simply recording an entire 90 minute lecture and offering it to students is probably not very effective. We recommended that faculty consider selecting portions of a lecture or supplementary audio recorded outside the classroom and that files be â€œchunkedâ€ into segments that can easily utilized by students. Faculty members needed to decide if their podcast would be:
- Audio only - the most widely used format, an mp3 file
- Audio with video - we used m4v files, keep in mind that this may not be as useful for students using mobile devices (iPods etc.) because the video size is limited (not suitable for some text) or if they have an audio-only device (though it can still be viewed on a computer) or if their device doesn't accept the m4v format
- Enhanced podcasts - Audio with still images (documents, PowerPoint slides etc.)
RECRUITING: Why should you consider podcasting course content?
- To supplement class materials
- To replace materials or lecturing face to face
- As an alternative way to experience a lecture or to allow students to review lectures again
Issues That Faculty Should Consider About Podcasting
- What devices are available to your students?
- Are your students interested in receiving materials in this way?
- Will audio files be sufficient/useful?
- How will you record? (in class, in the studio, at your desktop computer)
- What equipment is available for recording?
- Do I want my materials available online? Do I need to restrict access?
- What is the best length & format for my podcasts?
- How will it affect student performance?
- Will it affect student attendance?
CREATING THE PODCASTS
In the Instructional Technology & Media Services department, we would provide equipment & assistance in learning how to record podcasts. We also uploaded the podcasts, created the RSS feeds and maintained the public web site at podcast.njit.edu.)There were a few instructors who were interested in hosting their podcasts within their WebCT course so that the material could be passsword protected and available only to students who were enrolled.)
SOFTWARE & HARDWARE
Faculty who recorded their own audio (rather than use our studio) used a portable recorder supplied by ITMS. We have experimented with the iRiver N10 and Creative Muvo Txfm. We found the quality to be rather poor, though some of that may have been the recording conditions of the classroom & the ways that faculty used the recorder.) One instructor used his own iPod with an external microphone we supplied.
Existing media was also reformatted for podcasting. We have a large archive of course materials used primarily for online courses that currently are posted in WebCt or sent to students on CDs or DVDs. We used SoundForge, Final Cut, and QuickTime Pro for audio cleanup and file conversion on all files. To convert PowerPoint slides to video, we used Camtasia Studio.
GOALS FOR NJIT BECOMING A PART OF iTUNES U
- Standardized format for delivery.
- Ability to have a public and private face for podcasts.
- Added visibility for the university
- As part of a current university web site redesign project we see a need to offer admissions, athletics, alumni and other public relations materials via podcasts.