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Podcasting of lectures

What Do YOU mean by A Podcast?

Wikipedia defines a Podcast as ".. a digital medial file ... which is distributed over the Internet ... for playback on portable media players". In our context the media file could be a recording of an interview with an academic or relevant person that students download and listen to on their computers or music players (of which Apple's iPods are an example). You can find good examples of this use on the Warwick Podcasts page.

This section however focusses on the use of podcasting to offer audio recordings of your lectures to students. This may be useful to allow students to review your lectures or for students who were unable to attend. The choice is yours however, these pages are intended to make you aware that such facilities exist, only you however can decide whether they will be of benefit to your students.

How can I get started?

The easiest way to get started is probably to borrow the digital voice recorder from the WBS ISSU Helpdesk and to use this to record your voice during a lecture. When the lecture is complete you can then convert the recording to mp3 (don't worry we'll show you how!) and make it available to your students.

The above method is by far the easiest for you and works in any room at any time. The only problem with it however is that the recording is only likely to pick up the lecturer's voice and not the students. Depending on how interactive you class is intended to be this may not be a problem. If the number of questions from the audience is likely to be small you could simply repeat verbally any question that is asked. This would then be picked up by the recorder and would lead to a complete recording. If your class is intended to be highly participative however this might not be practical. In this case please see the section below on 'How can I record the audience as well'.

Now I've got my recording what do I do?

If the recordings are short (depends on the quality but around 30 minutes) then you can post them on my.wbs. If they are longer or very high quality then you are best advised to post them on a Sitebuilder page and to post a link to that page from my.wbs, again we can show you how to do this. Using this method your students still only need to go to my.wbs to see all relevant material but you can make use of the very large file sizes that Sitebuilder can hold. You can find information on how to create a Sitebuilder Podcasting page at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/servicessupport/web/sitebuilder2/faqs/create_pages/specialpages/podcast/.

How can I record the audience as well?

This depends which lecture theatre you are to teach in. Currently lecture theatre B3.20 is set up to allow you to easily record both yourself and your audience. Providing sufficient funding is made available to purchase the requisite microphones this service could also be made available in the other Phase 3 lecture theatres (B1.16 and B0.12).

For all other rooms we have a 'roving microphone' that can be passed around the audience. The can introduce a delay as the microphone is passed around but is ideal for 'Question Time' style sessions. Please note that in this case preparation work is required to set up the theatre so we will need a number of days' notice.

We will continue to respond to the level of demand for this service. If it proves popular then it clearly makes sense to make the investment to make podcasting available in all lecture theatres. If, however, there is very little use of podcasting then it would be a mis-allocation of scarce resources to purchase extra equipment for the theatres - hence the key point is that if you are interested in Podcasting please get in contact and let us know.

Where can I learn more?

By all means contact me (Martin Chandler) and I'll be happy to discuss this more. You can also find out more about the facilities and systems available at Warwick you may wish to check the IT Services training webpages. They offer periodic courses for staff in 'Creating and Broadcasting a Podcast' training course run by IT Services. Please note this course is for staff only.

Michael Walford of Warwick's Centre for Lifelong Learning has produced two interesting entries in his blog: