In April I wrote about the University of Otago Podcasting service and iTunes U, but what is interesting is how the use of podcasting has grown since its inception (2007). The graph above shows the number of downloads each day since 2007 – this year the start of first semester is shown very clearly but a marked increase in downloads.
A few quick stats
- Number of classes using podcasting – 50 classes – Semester 1 2009 (39 classes – 2008, 1 class – 2007)
- Most downloads for one class – 34,334 downloads
- Busiest month – May 2009 – 46,790 downloads
- Most downloads for one podcast – 3,172 downloads
If you wish to investigate podcasting for your class contact the ITS Helpdesk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
When it was launched in 2008, Otago University’s iTunes U content was available in two ways:
This dual method of delivery means that content can be viewed by almost anyone: as long as you have an internet connection, a web browser, and software that can play MP3 and MP4 files (if you don’t have any software capable of playing MP4 video files, we recommend VLC, which is an open-source media player).
Last week, Apple released the version 3 software update for the iPhone and iPod touch. As well as other enhancements, the update now allows you to browse and view our iTunes U material directly from your device. This means that you no longer have to download content onto your computer, and sync with your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Here’s how to find iTunes U on your device:
- Tap the iTunes button
- Tap “More” (at the bottom), then “iTunes U”
- Scroll down and tap “Universities and Colleges”, then scroll down and tap “University of Otago”
From there, you can browse through the Podcast pages, and download material by tapping on the “Free” icon beside the movie or track you want to listen to (you’ll then need to tap “Download” to download the file to your device).
If you are a staff member with an iPhone or iPod touch and you haven’t registered it for staff wireless yet, you can do so by filling in the online registration form. Once your registration is complete, you’ll be able to connect to the Staff Wireless network, which is available at many locations on campus.
New in iTunes U
The most recent addition to our iTunes U material is Science Matters – presentations and interviews from both the Science Festival, and Hands on Science events. Check it out in iTunes.
I recently attended an ITS training course to learn about Audacity, and how to prepare podcasts. Audacity is a free digital audio editing application, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Here are some of the ways I can prepare my podcasts in Audacity:
Importing various audio file types (WAV, AIFF, MP3, Ogg Vorbis) is easy. Once a file is imported you are able to see the sound waves and start editing. Below I have imported an MP3 recording of a lecture.
Now that I have my lecture imported, I have decided to add some backing music to make the content more palatable. This is as easy as adding a new track and importing another audio file. This doesn’t have to be used only for backing music – you might have an introduction file that you put on every podcast you create.
Once I had my backing track in place, I realised that it was much louder than the lecture track. To fix this I could have turned the volume of the individual track down, but instead I used the equalisation tool. This equalises the volume of all the tracks.
As with most live lectures this lecture has a few annoying coughs in the background. These are remarkably easy to remove if you can pin them down. The image below shows once such cough, before and after silencing.
This is a taste of what I learned during the course. If you want to be able to edit your podcasts, I recommend you attend the ITS Audacity training course.