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Starter Kit: Faculty Podcasting Tip Sheet

Podcasting can contribute to your students’ learning experiences in a number of ways. This Tip Sheet provides tips based on the experiences of EMU faculty who have included podcasting in their instruction. As with any educational technology, it works best when it is part of your pedagogy.

EMU Professor Michael McVey of the Teacher Education Department created a podcast titled “The Considerate Podcast,” which can be accessed at EMU on iTunes U. In these audio podcasts Dr. McVey provides tips for faculty new to the experience of podcasting. A few of these tips are provided below.

Recording lectures for podcasting

  • Place the recorder’s microphone close to the speaker. Lapel mikes are a good idea, especially if the speaker is moving around.
  • Most recorders will pick up ambient noise, such as the sound of shoes on floors. If you are wearing a jacket or scarf that brushes against the microphone, it will probably record as a “scratchy” sound.
  • Speak as clearly as possible, and remember, an audio podcast does not record facial expressions, gestures and so on. Keep the medium in mind when you are speaking.
  • Be sure not to chew gum; most recorders will pick up this sound clearly.
  • When students ask questions, or when they respond to questions you pose to the class, try to repeat the question before responding, so you capture the question on the recording.
  • Put a reminder in your calendar to alert you to change the recorder’s batteries after approximately 10 hours. This way, you will not miss recording a lecture because the recorder lost power.
  • Try to transfer your recorded lectures to the EMU on iTunes U site regularly--after no more than two sessions. Remember, students, especially those with learning disabilities, may rely on your podcast lectures to keep up in your class.
  • If you show visuals with your lectures, such as images or PowerPoint slides, post the PowerPoint files to your course Web site or blog. You might also consider saving your images as a PDF and posting them to EMU on iTunes U also.

Recording podcasts that complement your course materials

  • Relate real-world experiences.
  • Podcast summaries of key points made in the lecture.
  • Add new material rather than repeating what you covered in class.
  • Summarize a point that students may have had trouble understanding in class.
  • Discuss something relevant to the course content, for example, a report or journal article that you read, research results, or remarks of a conference speaker.
  • Suggest a particular topic that your students can search online for more information, and invite them to share what they learned in the class discussion forum or course/student blog.
  • Suggest a Web site that your students can visit for more information, and invite them to share what they learned in the class discussion forum or course blog.

Content tips

  • Work from a script, unless you are experienced in speaking extemporaneously.
  • Edit the recorded version to remove long pauses, mistakes, “ums,” coughs, and other unintended sounds.
  • Provide a script whenever one is available, to adhere to ADA accessibility guidelines. If you have a hearing-impaired student or student with a learning disability for whom following the spoken word is difficult, text of the podcast gives them an opportunity to learn with other students. PDF documents may be uploaded and distributed via iTunes U.
  • Consider having your students create podcasts related to course content.

Distance learning tips

  • Podcasts connect students and instructors in ways that text-based communications tools do not. Consider using podcasts as a regular part of your pedagogy.
  • Have students create podcasts as part of assignments, summaries of exercises, readings and activities instead of submitting them solely as text documents.
  • Make podcasts as presentations of upcoming material. Camtasia Studio, Adobe’s Captivate (PC platform) and SnapZ Pro (Mac) allow you to do screen capture with voiceover. Camtasia Studio and Captivate also interface with PowerPoint, enabling you to record a voice-over PowerPoint. You can then export the finished project to a format compatible with iTunes.

Hardware and software tips

  • Use a hands-free USB headphone/microphone headset, as it keeps the microphone a consistent distance from the source sound.
  • For PCs: Audacity software is free, open source software to use to create your audio and export your recording to an MP3 audio file for use in the podcast. In addition to the main program file be sure to download and extract the LAME MP3 encoder which is required for exporting to MP3 (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/).
  • Macs: Audacity works for Macs, or you might use GarageBand (included in Apple’s iLife suite). You can insert images that display with your audio. Images may include URLs so students can click and go to a Web site. GarageBand also comes with music and sound clips that are copyright clear and free for your use.