Podcasting lectures is really easy

My hi-tech expensive phone, I won't show the MP3 player as it is old battered and tacky, but also works ;)

Judging by a conversation with a colleague today, and by John’s comments on my previous post teachers often do not realise just how easy podcasting lectures is, or that they almost certainly already use all the equipment necessary. So here’s a recipe, with equipment list and step by step instructions:

Equipment:

  • Mobile phone or MP3 player which can record and connect to a PC. My two year old Nokia 3120 Classic – current price 100 Euros or about US$135 and my six year old cheapest available then MP3 player (some more modern even cheaper MP3 players lack tghe facility to record but the SanDisk Sansa Clip can, and Amazon sell them for <US$30)
  • Access to a computer with Internet – since you are reading this you already have that for sure.
  • The capacity to go to the Mobile Media Converter site and download and install the program. (If you think this is difficult ask your grandchildren!) You will also need Audacity if you want to be really clever and edit the podcast.(NB this is probably not necessary but will give you extra bragging rights in the staff room ;)
  • If your institution does not have a course system you will also need either iTunes or a blog – but I am assuming your institution already has Moodle, or something like that.

There, the equipment list was not too frightening, and the cost is less than $50 in the worst case. Now for the instructions.

Instructions:

  1. Practice finding the “record” feature on your phone or MP3 player (these can be fiddly so allow 30 mins). Check the battery well BEFORE the  class.
  2. Remember to take the phone (preferably in silent mode or with the SIM card removed, it is embarassing as well as spoiling the recording if the lecturer’s phone goes off ;)  or MP3 player with you.
  3. At the start of class (but ideally after the faffing around at the beginning) switch it to record. Place the phone or MP3 player on the lectern (for males in your shirt pocket may perhaps work better with some equipment or if you move around a lot).
  4. Switch the record function off at the end – you DO NOT want to record your harassed replies to the students who ask questions after the class has finished!
  5. Shift the new file to your computer.
  6. Open MMC, select output format (MP3 is good ;) and drag the audio to it. (With some MP3 players you miss out this stage.)
  7. Upload the new converted file it to the course site.
  8. Sit back and enjoy the student appreciation and be the envy of your luddite colleagues – you are now a Fully Fledged Digeratus (or Digerata).
  9. Get ambitious and remove the odd bits you don’t want to podcast and/or the first six “ums” and “errs” – this means using Audacity, but the editing task is easier than it sounds. Just find the wiggles that represent the bit to cut, highlight them (one by one) by dragging with your mouse, and press delete. Don’t worry about mistakes as Audacity has an undo feature. You are now an Advanced Digerata (or Digeratus).