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Posts Tagged ‘slideshare’

Podcasting has exploded on the scene in recent years in relationship to entertainment, information, and education. I have been interested in delving into this issue for some time, but I haven’t really been provided with a catalyst that would help launch a journey into podcasting. Obviously, I was really excited when I discovered that podcasting was one of our assignments in IT 780.

I have learned a great deal from this assignment. I will discuss the technical issues in this blog, and then I will post a subsequent blog that discusses the current use and potential of podcasting in education.

For this assignment, I created a short enhanced audio file, and if you click the pig below, then you can watch this show.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3331393&dest=-1]

The foundational assignment for this podcast was straightforward and easy. Each student was asked to create an audio podcast and create an RSS feed so that others could “subscribe” to the podcast. I was able to accomplish this task. However, I wanted to create a podcast that included to specific elements, both of which I struggled to achieve. First, I wanted each of the podcast to display album art when the podcast was playing. Second, I wanted to create an enhanced audio file that functioned like a presentation without the large size. I wanted this enhanced audio file to automatically display the slides in the album art area of iTunes. This idea is certainly not new or original, but I have never created a podcast of this nature.

The audio file could be recorded and mixed using the software of our choice, and Dr. Yuen recommended using Audacity. Next, we needed to create an “xml” file that would “push” the audio file to our subscribers. The third step in the process was to upload the audio file and the xml file to a host server from which subscribers could download content. The final step was to invite others to subscribe to the RSS feed, using iTunes or a similar player. Here is the link to my RSS feed: http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~w319528/podcast/it780_rss.xml

ID3?

Everything worked fine, except the album art. After a great deal of experimentation, I finally realized that the album art must be included in the ID3 tag of the audio file. So what is an ID3 tag? The easiest way is to consider it “data about the data.” In other words, an ID3 tag carries data about the file to which it is attached. If you’ve ever wondered “How does my computer automatically know the artist, title, album of this song I just downloaded?,” then here is your answer-ID3 tags. In addition, the ID3 tag also carries the album art. This seems quite logical in hindsight, but before understanding this simple concept, I was completely lost.

Most frequent iTunes users know that you can add album art to a song after the fact. However, by including the album art in the ID3 tag, the art will actually become a part of the file. This ensures that the art will automatically present itself when anyone subscribes to an RSS feed and downloads an audio file. In order to accomplish my desire to include album art, I actually used Garage Band to accomplish this task because it offered an easy way to edit the ID3 tags of each file, while editing.

How do I enable anyone to subscribe to my feed within iTunes?

This obstacle is actually solved within iTunes. After you create a podcast, check to ensure that you can successfully subscribe to the RSS feed within iTunes. You accomplish this by click “Advanced,” click “Subscribe to Podcast,”  insert the url of the xml file.

If you want other folks to be able to search for your podcast, then you must submit the podcast to the Podcast Directory. This can be found near the top of the menu bar in iTunes or on the bottom right corner of iTunes if you have selected “Podcasts” under the Library options on the left. Once you go the podcast store, look for the link entitled “Submit a Podcast;” it’s on the top right. When you submit your podcast to iTunes, you will be asked to include artwork to represent this channel. The iTunes Gestapo will review your files and post the content to the world, usually within a week. Once you do this, anyone can subscribe to your feed within iTunes.

How do I create an enhanced podcast?

The term “enhanced podcast” simply refers to an audio file that can display images simultaneously with the audio. THe most simple way I’ve found to do this is through GarageBand. The process of editing and manipulating the audio content is similar to other audio editing software, such as Audacity. Similarly, the process of adding image is just as easy and straightforward. All the you have to do is drag and drop the image above the audio content in place the you desire, and the image below illustrates this process.

All in all, I have learned a great deal from this project and look forward to producing many more podcasts.

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Information sharing is one of the greatest revolutions emerging alongside new technologies. In many cases, access to highly esteemed professors and universities is as easy as downloading the respective professor’s or entity’s RSS feed or podcast. The playing field is beginning to level for those that have traditionally had access and those that have not. No longer do students have to pay an obscene amount of tuition and expenses to access this information.

In large part, this revolution is made possible by the emergence of new multimedia and Web 2.0 technologies. You Tube, podcasts, and similar applications provide a good medium to deliver content such as lectures, presentations, and classroom discussions. No medium can replace the traditional class, but producers of such content are edging closer each day.

One such Web 2.0 technology is Slideshare. The concept of Slideshare is simple; this free application allows one to upload a document or presentation (e.g., Word or PowerPoint) and distribute it to the masses. In addition, Slideshare allows the presenter to add an audio file and line up each slide with the audio. This scenario “feels” similar to a traditional presentation, and Slideshare has named such a presentation a slidecast. Assignment #2 for IT 780 was to create a slidecast, and I developed two videos based on Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” These presentations are below:

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Sharpen the Saw

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: First Things First

Similarly, a presenter can also choose to embed a You Tube video in a Slideshare presentation. In other words, a normal presentation can be uploaded to Slideshare, and midway through that presentation, a You Tube video can be inserted. From the standpoint of the viewer, this all comes across seamless and professional.

In addition, Slideshare allows users to share content very easily. As might be expected, presentations can be categorized as private, which restricts viewing. However, the idea behind Slideshare is a collective community sharing ideas and presentations for the greater good. An easy way to find presentations is to search within Slideshare. In fact, after submitting the slideshow above to the public on Slideshare, over 450 viewers watched the presentation within two weeks of publishing the presentation. Outside of the Slideshare format, I would not have been able to communicate with this many people in such an easy manner.  Conversely, Slideshare allows users to embed a presentation in other applications such as a blog (e.g., the slidecast above). Finally, Slideshare allows users to link a feed of the presentation to social networking tools such as Twitter or Facebook.

Slideshare is an excellent idea. There are several “bugs” that need to be worked out of the system. However, the prospect of possibility far outweighs any obstacles to creating and publishing on Slideshare.

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