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A Basic Overview of the use of Webcasting in Instruction at NMU Prepared By Scott A. Smith, Instructional Technology Specialist, NMU.

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Presentation on theme: "A Basic Overview of the use of Webcasting in Instruction at NMU Prepared By Scott A. Smith, Instructional Technology Specialist, NMU."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Basic Overview of the use of Webcasting in Instruction at NMU Prepared By Scott A. Smith, Instructional Technology Specialist, NMU


3 Podcasting - Introduction What is Podcasting?UsesPros and ConsNext: Setting Up Apple© Podcasting Icon


5 Podcasting: A Definition Technically, A podcast is a non-streamed series of audio or video files that are released episodically and can be downloaded through web syndication. The word “podcast” comes from an amalgamation of the words “Ipod” and “broadcast”. A “webcast” is any digital broadcast that uses the internet as a medium for delivery. For the purpose of this workshop, we’ll be using the words interchangeably. A podcast consists of a series of episodes. Often, these episodes are mistakenly called podcasts. Digital Media Digital Media Broadcast over Broadcast over Internet Internet Audio or Video Audio or Video Episodic Episodic Computer or Computer or Media Player Media Player


7 Podcast It! Podcasts can be used in a variety of ways educationally. Common uses are: -Lecture Capture -Supplementary Information -Screen Capture -Guest Speakers -Others? Course Lecture Capture Supplement ary Information Screen Capture Guest Speaker s

8 Podcasting: Lecture Capture One of the obvious uses for podcasting is the capture of lectures. This can be a recording of live lectures, which can help students studying for a midterm or a missed class. Live lectures capture the questions students pose during class (and your answers!) Alternatively, lectures can be produced outside of class time. The latter may be needed for online courses or for the purpose of “flipping the classroom” so that more class time can be spent working with the course content in some way. Of course, the use of podcasting in such a way can also lead to potential challenges (Con Section). Audio or Video Audio or Video Live Lecture Live Lecture Studying Missed Class Q & A Produced Produced Online Course Online Course Flipping the Flipping the Classroom Classroom

9 Podcasting: Supplementary Information One need not use podcasting for just class lecture capture. Sometimes there is additional information that an instructor would like to give the students, but there is no time during class. Podcasting allows the instructor to disseminate the information to the students online in a way that is natural to them. This can take the form of mini-lectures on advanced or more in-depth topics not covered in class. Audio or Video Audio or Video Supplemental Supplemental Information Information Advanced Advanced In-Depth In-Depth

10 Podcasting: Screen Capture Screen-capture podcasts, or “screencasts”, can be a useful tool for instructors. In a nutshell, screencasts capture whatever is happening on your computer screen, as well as capture your voice as an accompanying narrative. This is most often used with some sort of presentation, such as PowerPoint. It is also useful in software or web navigation “walk-throughs”. It could also be used to show any computer- screen based process (such as citation in MS Word). Screencasts Screencasts Video Video Computer Screen Audio Audio Voice Narrative PowerPoint Walkthough

11 Podcasting: Guest Speakers Guest speaker podcasts can be used similarly to lecture capture in that the presentation is captured and stored for later playback by students. This could be for a number of reasons, including use in future courses – it might be impossible to get the same speaker over and over again. Alternately, the speaker may live far away. In this case, you may wish to record a teleconference session – just be sure to get their permission first! You can also link to other’s podcasts for your course, such as an MIT lecture, TEDTalks, etc. You might find that this can enrich your course. Audio or Video Audio or Video Live or Produced Live or Produced Import/Link Import/Link





16 Setting Up a Podcast It’s important to spend some time setting your podcast up before beginning recording as there are many variables which can lead to success or disaster. Things to consider before recording are: - Planning - Equipment - Software - Pre-Recording Setup - File Formats PlanningEquipmentSoftware SetupFile Formats

17 Setting Up: Planning (Best Practices) Plan, Plan, Plan – Create an outline of all the points you want to cover in your podcast. Try it out several times to make sure you pace yourself correctly. Try to keep your podcasts as short as possible- some students have short attention spans and it’s hard enough to keep them engaged face-to-face, much less online (20-30 minutes maximum if at all possible). If you’re presenting a slideshow, make sure that the titles of the slides are short and descriptive. Students may have to scroll through your presentation to find needed information later. The same applies to text added during editing a video. Only use video if it adds to the content – it uses a lot of bandwidth and it might not add anything of value. You, as instructor, must decide. If you do use video, try to make it dynamic and engaging. Shorter is Better Shorter is Better Descriptive Titles Descriptive Titles Outline Outline Talking Head Talking Head

18 Setting Up: Planning (Best Practices – Cont’d) Backup Plan Backup Plan You may wish to try making transcripts and/or FAQs (frequently asked questions) available. This could provide an extra level of support to the students watching your podcast. Sometimes technology fails. Have a backup plan in case the webcasting server goes down. Test your system to make sure everything is working properly BEFORE you start the podcasting session. Also, make sure that the session was properly uploaded and made it on to the server. Test First! Test First! Transcripts Transcripts

19 Setting Up: Planning (Best Practices – Cont’d) If someone else has placed their podcast out on the internet and it serves your educational needs, link to it. Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel. Just be sure to give credit to the source. Again, ultimately it’s your call as Instructor. Don’t Reinvent Don’t Reinvent the Wheel the Wheel


21 Podcasting: Equipment When recording a podcast episode, you will need the right equipment, which will be determined by the type of podcast you are making. Audio podcasts need a microphone, a computer and either an audio recording device that saves in MP3 format and a computer with appropriate software (Audacity). Lecture podcasts will need a video camera with audio recording capabilities that saves in the appropriate formats and can connect to a computer with the appropriate software. Screen capture podcasts will need a computer with the appropriate software (Camtasia Relay or Studio). Audio Audio Microphone Microphone Computer/ Computer/Recorder Software Software Video Video Camera w/ Camera w/microphone Computer Computer Software Software


23 Podcasting: Resources - Wildcast Wildcast is NMU’s podcast server. To upload a podcast to Wildcast, you must first have an account. If you do not have an account set up yet, go to : and sign up for one. This server is dedicated and optimized for media streaming performance. Please do not download your audio or video media directly onto Educat, as it will cause problems down the line. Podcast Server Podcast Server Dedicated Dedicated Account needed Account needed Audio or Video (All) Audio or Video (All) Backups Backups Server space Server space Bandwidth Issues Bandwidth Issues

24 Podcasting: Resources - Audacity Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is actually a pretty good program and just right for audio podcasting. To download Audacity, go to: For windows 7 OS, download the 1.3.13 beta version. You will also want to download the LAME MP3 encoding library, which you will need to export MP3 format files from Audacity, at: for_Audacity_on_Windows.exe. for_Audacity_on_Windows.exe Audio podcasts Audio podcasts LAME LAME MP3 export MP3 export

25 Podcasting: Resources - Camtasia Video Video Screen Capture Screen Capture with audio Lecture Capture Lecture Capture Relay - Screen Relay - Screen capture only capture only Studio - Editing Studio - Editing Camtasia relay is a screen capture tool. You can download Camtasia relay on the Wildcast server site: It is free and easy to use. Camtasia Studio is a souped-up version of Relay that also allows you to do video editing. To get Camtasia Studio, visit the NMU Helpdesk.

26 Podcasting: Resources - Other Lecture capture Lecture capture Media Site Media Site Camcorders w/ Camcorders w/ Cordless MIC Cordless MIC Both IDT Classroom Technology and Audio Visual have tools available for live lecture capture as well. This is covered in detail in the “Capturing Lectures” workshop.


28 Podcasting: Setup - Environment Eliminate noise Eliminate noise and distraction and distraction Beware of Beware of background noise background noise The environment in which you record your podcasting session will have an impact on the sound quality of your finished product. Noise such as barking dogs, lawn mowers, and crying children will easily be heard in the background of your presentation, as will air conditioners, fans, and even the ticking of analog clocks. Try to set up in a location that is tranquil and free of distractions if possible. Obviously, in lecture capture, it will be harder to control these variables.

29 Podcasting: Setup – Testing the sound MIC positioning MIC positioning Sound levels Sound levels Mute off! Mute off! Be sure and test the sound before your official recording starts. Check the position of the microphone in relation to your mouth. If it is too close, your recording will be too loud and somewhat distorted. Too far away and it will be hard to hear you. Also, as silly as this sounds, make sure your Mute is off - It Happens!

30 Podcasting: File Formats Audio Audio MP3 MP3 Video Video M4V M4V FLV FLV MOV MOV AVI AVI Wildcast Server Wildcast Server FLV FLV Audio files uploaded to the Wildcast server must be in the MP3 format Video files uploaded to the Wilcast server must be in one of the following formats: M4V, FLV, MOV, or AVI. Note that the Wildcast server converts all video files into FLV format.

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