When I began thinking about this assignment I hadn’t read the class website so I didn’t realize that our topic was supposed to relate to the Bonk book. I am very focused on the visual so thinking about removing that element and focusing on just sound is a new way of thinking for me. I had the idea of going out in the field and recording bird calls and songs and then breaking them down so that others might be able to recognize birds by their calls. I began looking around to see what species were still around so that I could concentrate on those. I had the idea of getting a couple of friends who are good at recognizing birds by their call or song to go out with me and do a “Richard Nelson” style podcast of verbalizing the natural world around me. When I realized we had a more directed assignment I was disappointed that this other idea would have to be put on hold and also relieved that the topic would be easier!

A two-minute podcast….how hard could that be! I asked my spouse, who is an accomplished documentary producer, how many words can you fit in two minutes. He told me that if you talked really fast maybe about 60 a minute. If you want the conversation to be more natural then less words. I had just written the text for the third podcast and it was about 600 words.

So a two-minute podcast requires concise thought about what to include to get the message across but still be engaging and entertaining. This would be a great lesson for students for a presentation style assessment.

I’ve done audio editing before so that part of the process was familiar. I had not added multiple tracks (for the music) so that was new to me and clearly will take more practice. I used Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) for the recording and editing. It is free and is pretty straight forward. There are a lot of tools and features but you don’t have to use them. If you are using a MAC and want to export to .mp3 you also need to download the LAME MP3 encoder (http://lame3.buanzo.com.ar/Lame_Library_v3.98.2_for_Audacity_on_OSX.dmg) (Lame, yeah, I thought it was lame too!). When I was recording I didn’t stop the once I started with when I made a mistake–I just started the sentence or phrase over again without worrying about pausing or redoing sections. I think for the first podcast my recording was about 5 minutes with all the start-overs and mistakes. This process got better for me as I went along.

I decided to upload my podcasts to soundcloud.com. I really like the embed player. If you have a pro account (which I don’t have for my personal use) you get some added features, one of which is that you can add text comments as seen in this image.


Podcast found here: http://idesign.uaf.edu/iteach-podcast-001-why-cant-i-have-pictures-in-my-dissertation-too/

So here are my podcasts:

(Note: I reference heidi.com in my podcasts as a way to get more information. I don’t really own this site so you won’t find more of my information here. The site is for Swiss clothing company.
Podcast 1 on Bonk Chapter 3

Podcast 2 on Bonk Chapter 4

Podcast 3 on Bonk Chapter 5


16 thoughts on “Podcasts

  1. Heidi, nothing happens when I try to play the podcasts! I don’t hear anything and there’s no indicator that something is playing.

  2. Awesome job Heidi! Your pods are really fun and entertaining! Your way of greeting and inviting people to follow along in the beginning is very effective to grab engagement right away.

    It does seem like you were having to talk a little too quickly to make the 2-minute highlight but they are snappy that way too.

  3. I guess I should have made it more clear that the “limit” was more of a guideline to keep people from rambling…

    I thought these were very effectively produced and linked together. I had considered suggesting SoundCloud as a potential vehicle for publishing your podcasts, and your effective use of it makes me think I should move it to the head of the line next time. I agree with your assessment of the payer–very clean and manipulable.

    Your deconstruction of the process you went through to create and publish your podcasts was wonderful and should be helpful to anyone who is new to the process.

    Taken as a whole (I’m referring to yours, Ilana’s and Jennifer’s podcasts, the only ones I’ve reviewed as of this writing), I’m reminded once again how effective an audio podcast can be as a learning tool. We tend to underemphasize their use, particularly in K-12.

  4. I thought you did a nice job with these. There was a little bit of an echo, but not much. Your voice was clear and crisp. I liked your intro’s and endings which make the podcasts seem like a series.

    • I was having problems with my headset mic – kept getting a popping sound so I thought my onboard mic was better, but a bit hollow. I probably should have gotten in the coat closet with my laptop. The clothing would take some of that echo away. But I didn’t think of that until now! I would definitely spend some $$ on a good mic if I was doing more of these.

  5. I enjoyed your podcasts – I didn’t realize iteachu was available – now I am! I felt like the pacing was fast, but alright. For a 2 minute podcast, this is aright this pacing would be too much for the listener if it was fifteen or more minutes.

    • I agree – if I was shooting for a longer podcast I would have slowed things way down and I probably would have added more music to help bridge different sections. This was a good learning experience!

  6. Hi Heidi,

    I am currently taking Web 2.0, and one of requirements is to engage with others in my cohort. Since I am the only one in the class (we are doing a special study so I can finish the program this summer), I am reaching out to others connected to the ONID program.

    Your podcasts are nicely done! I was excited to read your blog post because I have been doing a lot of research about podcasts lately, and am planning to incorporate them as both “readings” and assignments for students to produce.

    I think the combo of audacity and soundcloud might be the best way to go, although I would like to find a single free, user-friendly system that students can use to create an assignment from start to submission.

    You are right about a two-minute podcast. It is harder to accomplish than it appears at first glance! Have you worked with podcasts in any other context, as student or instructor? If so, I would be really interested to hear more about your experiences.

  7. Hi Carolyn,
    This is an old post! I would suggest using Kaltura for your media server. It is fully supported by UAF OIT so students can use them for help. You’d still want to use Audacity so that you could edit but using Kaltura for the media upload might be a good idea. It is also fully integrated into Blackboard.


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