If you’re beginning to explore the “flipped model” of instruction, you may be pondering how you can deliver lecture content outside the classroom walls. Podcasts are one popular means of delivery for many instructors.

Simply defined, a podcast is “a series of audio or video files that are broadcast to a computer or personal media player over the Internet by publication in an RSS feed” (Shelly and Frydenberg, p. 106).

The process of creating a podcast is fairly simple. However, if you’re brand-new to this process, you may be seeking an orientation to what it entails and where, exactly, you should begin.

In Web 2.0: Concepts and Applications, Gary B. Shelly and Mark Frydenberg provide an overview of the tools and technology essential to creating a podcast. We’ve adapted these suggestions to fit what you may need to consider as an instructor providing course content to students. By reviewing these points, you’ll have a sense of the first steps you’ll need to take.

  • Recording your podcast requires some basic hardware, such as a microphone (as well as a webcam, if you hope to provide video). In addition, you’ll need software that allows you to record, edit, and save your podcast files. Some of these tools may be built into your computer; check your settings to see what’s already available to you. If not, you may need to obtain a headset with microphone, a digital voice or video recorder (small handheld devices should suffice), or an external webcam.
  • The content of your podcast will, of course, focus on the information associated with your unit or lesson. However, some basic formatting tips can add to the appeal and clarity of your podcast. For example, you may want to add a brief audio clip or graphic that serves as an “opener” – like the beginning of a television show or radio program. (When choosing your audio or video, also be mindful of copyright and intellectual property issues.) Also, at the end of your recording, include a list of credits, as well as any relevant Web links (e.g., your course’s Web site), which can provide an additional source of information for your listeners.
  • Once you’ve completed your recording, you may notice that your podcast file size is running up into the dozens of megabytes (MB). Compressing these files prior to distribution will help them become a more manageable size. You can compress your files using your recording software or via an online site such as Zamzar. Also note the file format required by your mode of delivery; for example, you may need to convert WAV files to MP3, or WMV files to MP4.
  • Your converted files can now be uploaded to a podcast application, a blog host, or your LMS. (pp. 117-119)

This post just scratches the surface of podcast creation. If you’re interested in delving deeper into this topic, conduct an Internet search for terms such as “how to create a podcast,” and you will find a wealth of tutorials, demonstrations, and FAQs that can assist you in the process.

Reference: Shelly, Gary B. and Frydenberg, Mark. 2011. Web 2.0: Concepts and Applications. Boston: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

Have you created lecture podcasts? What tips would you share with your colleagues? Submit your ideas below or send them to [email protected].