Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Podcasting at MERLOT

This morning I attended a three-hour pre-conference workshop at the MERLOT Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. Imagine the sinking feeling I had when the first announcement was that they would only be demonstrating Apple tools. Luckily, they agreed to point out alternative methods using a windows PC environment when possible.

Once again I am amazed at the amount of Apple-evangelism about podcasts. Even the presenters admitted that they come from a PC-dominated campus but they think that you just need to get on the Apple bandwagon if you're going to create podcasts. Clearly these guys are not responsible for the purchase and maintenance of computers on campus. If they were responsible for that, I doubt that they would be trying to inspire 85-90% of the staff to ask for new computers.That's the last thing I want to inspire on my campus. There are Windows-based tools available to do what they are demonstrating so we really need to give people the tools that are compatible with what they already have. Now, back to the workshop.

The presenters did a good job. This was a hands-on workshop and they did have each team of 4-5 people create their own podcast. The steps followed were:

Step 1: Broadcast idea brainstorming and development (what will be the theme for your series of podcasts?)
Step 2: Plan the first episode (encouraged the use of storyboarding)
Step 3: Preshow preparation (script or talking points, background research, a little practice)
Step 4: Studio setup (we didn't have a "studio" so we all tried to hide somewhere quiet for our recording sessions)
Step 5: Recording your podcast using Garageband (sorry, Mac only) and editing with same
Step 6: Compress (or encode) the podcast to reduce filesize
Step 7: Upload podcast and create RSS feed
Step 8: Subscribing to your podcast (they used iTunes of course, but I would recommend checking out ed-cast as an alternative (thanks Mark Peterson) since it is higher ed sponsored and not vendor-based)

BTW, Ottawa is a beautiful city. I'm a first timer and it is a special place.
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