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Podcasting and iTunesU

The CITL podcast is a semi-weekly podcast dealing with issues and application skills in different learning technologies. Episodes are based on questions we encounter in the CITL and through faculty consultations, as well as new resources we discover. Some episodes are cross-posted on Vimeo in a series called TechTalk. If there is a topic not currently included that you would like us to cover, let us know.

Learn to create podcasts

The CITL staff can help faculty interested in creating podcasts on their notebook computers. In addition, users can access online training modules to learn about podcasting at Radford University:

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a special type of file download that happens by way of ‘subscription.’ Instead of files being downloaded piecemeal or incrementally delivered as a stream, podcasts are delivered as ‘episodes’ that are automatically downloaded to the subscriber as they become available. Podcast downloads are sometimes referred to as 'feeds.'

Audio, video, and PDF documents can be delivered as podcasts. Apple’s iTunes software is the most popular application for managing podcast subscriptions.

The ‘pod’ part of podcasting refers to the ability to download content from iTunes to an iPod. However, it is not necessary to have an iPod or any other portable media player to access podcasts; the entire experience can take place on your computer via iTunes. Further, using a set of simple software tools, faculty can record their own audio, such as a lecture, or their own video, such as an equipment demonstration, and upload it to iTunes U to create a podcast. Students or colleagues can then access the podcast on a computer with iTunes, or additionally download it to their iPod and take it with them.

RSS - Real Simple Syndication

The technology that makes podcast feeds work is RSS, which stands for Real Simple Syndication. Essentially, this is a special file (.xml) that resides in a website from which a podcast is being distributed. Similar to HTML, RSS is a set of special tags that indicate to a reader (such as iTunes) where to find the media being podcast, as well as episode info such as author, title, date, etc.

Programs such as iTunes U and iWeb generate RSS files automatically, so that the user doesn't have to worry about creating them.

Radford University on iTunes U

iTunes U is built upon podcasting technology. The iTunes application logically provides the ‘front end’ for faculty and student users of iTunes U, who will login with their RU username and password to access podcasts in courses for which they are registered. All podcast content is uploaded and accessed from within iTunes U.

Faculty and students can log in using the MyRU Portal.

Content creation and management tools

Listed below are some common tools for creating and managing podcast content on the Macintosh and Windows platforms. This list will be updated as more resources become available.

MAC

  • Garage Band - for recording and editing audio, can be used to create and manage content for audio and enhanced podcasts.
  • iMovie - for editing video, can be used to format movies for podcasting.
  • iTunes* - use to subscribe to and manage podcasts.
  • ChapterToolMe* - a stand-alone application for creating enhanced podcats. Currently runs only on OSX 10.4. and up.

WINDOWS

  • Audacity* - for recording and editing audio, can be used to create content for audio podcasts. Supports MP3 format.
  • Camtasia - for recording screen motions and light video editing, can be used to create content for video podcasts.
  • iTunes* - use to subscribe to and manage podcasts.
  • Screencast-o-Matic * - a browser-based screen recorder that can be used to locally save QuickTime (.mov) files that can be placed into a podcast.

*Available as freeware or shareware