Friday, April 28, 2006

iPod for Podcasting: US University Experience

After a quick play with the iPod, I went back to the issue of how to use it for education. Apple Computer Australia sent me some useful links on this. What I got from these (discussed below) is that you have to give some thought how to prepare podcast content for education: just recording lectures may not be the best approach.

Also the OECD have released a report on e-learning. There is a useful summary of the report online.

But none of this helps me work out exactly what audio or video encoding to use for a podcast, so that an Apple iPod and other devices can actually play it. What I had in mind was the "HOW TO make Enhanced Podcasts (images, links and more with audio)" from O'Reilly They also provide a sample enhanced podcast.

Some of the items on Podcasting at US universities:

The University of Missouri has a useful whitepaper on how podcasting and vogcasting (video) work and some discussion on educational use.

Duke University held a Podcasting Symposium, September 27 - 28, 2005, the sessions of which are available as podcasts. But these seem to be long unedited recordings of the live sessions and bad examples of how to use podcasting.

University of Wisconsin have a useful page on "teaching & learning with podcasting" :
Avoid overly complex and dense content material that includes lots of facts and figures. ...
Recordings of classroom lectures may not be the best use of podcasting. ...
Narrow the focus of a podcast ...
They then go on to the details of how to create & deliver podcasts.
# Plan what you will say ...
# Record audio ...
Equipment ...
They go to mention Audacity, free, open source audio software, which I have used and works well.

But the only place mentioned to publish the podcast is the Apple iTunes Store. Stanford University seem to have gone a long way down this path, creating "Stanford on iTunes":
* Download faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports.
* Play audio on your iPod, Mac or PC, or burn a CD.
* Stay Connected anytime anywhere.
* Experience Stanford on iTunes today and continue learning with Stanford.
The only way to access this content seems to be to sign up to iTunes. Why the university doesn't make the content available on its own web site isn't made clear. Perhaps Standford fears its web servers will be overloaded or is it that you can only load content onto an iPod via iTunes?

1 comment:

Tama said...

Hi Tom,

For some Australian perspective on podcasting in a university setting, I gave a presentation earlier this year entitled "iTeach, iLearn: Student Podcasting" which you might find of some interest. It details the use of podcasting as assignments in an honours course in Communication Studies at the University of Western Australia and my thoughts on podcasting more broadly as a pedagogically-useful process.

Cheers,
Tama