Drupal is the Official UCalgary Podcasting Solution

I was just in a meeting with some folks in our campus IT department, where we were trying to figure out what the official University of Calgary supported podcasting solution would be. We were basically trying to decide if we should jump onto iTunesU in a big way, or roll our own service.

iTunesU is a really strong choice, in that all of the infrastructure bits are handled. No drive space to worry about, no backups to remember. Everything just works.  But, it’s outside of our control, and is rather  strongly Apple-branded. Even though it’s not an exclusive arrangement, and the content can/should be in multiple formats, it’s hard to sell that combo to people who are either

  1. still thinking of locking content within Blackboard (i.e., iTunesU is too open)
  2. wanting to adopt Open Source (i.e., iTunesU isn’t open enough)

Which left us with our second option: roll our own service.

So, over the summer, we’ll be putting together an official campus podcasting solution, hosted using Drupal essentially out of the box (but we’ll eventually add modules like Audio.module, Views, CCK, etc…)

One thing that really impresses me about how our IT folks approach problems is that they don’t react with fear. When we were discussing authentication and restricting access, things that are offered by iTunesU, the response was “we’ll figure that out, and here are some ideas of how we could do that…”

We’ll be, er, inspired by the podcasts.*.edu/.ca websites that are already running. Despite what the press release says, UCalgary is not the first, nor the biggest, podcasting institution…

10 thoughts on “Drupal is the Official UCalgary Podcasting Solution”

  1. Good luck … let me know if you need anything. Podcasts at Penn State is a Drupal solution.


    We have that running in parallel with iTunes U. The Drupal site has turned more into a help center, but it is a very capable podcasting platform.

  2. We made the same choice– or at least chose NOT to go with iTunes U– for essentially the same reasons. I don’ think Apple is being evil, but I do think their goals are still pretty different from ours…

  3. Any chance of sharing the goods with your good neighbours in Sask? We’ve shunned iTunes as well, but I don’t see an in=house solution happening soon. I’d love to see what you come up with.

  4. I’m pretty sure we’ll do things out in the open, and hopefully document what we do to set it up. We’ll also be strongly inspired by others who are already doing this, like podcasts.psu.edu and the like, and even ourmedia.org etc…

    I also want to say that the decision was definitely not an anti-Apple one. I’m fairly described as a raving Apple Fanboy™ and they do some really great stuff. It was a decision based on the idea that we need to do this for ourselves, and that relying on any third party for this functionality is reckless and irresponsible, and not what we need to do. Sure, it’ll be a bunch more work for us, but it’s the Right Thing To Do…

  5. And I agree with your analysis of “the right thing to do”. I’m also an Apple fan, but much more so, I worry about lack of control and any break from openness and transparency.

    Well, I’ll be watching … looking forward to seeing what you develop.

  6. Any chance to maybe share any custom solutions you will develop with a high school not far from your campus? I am setting up a school internal drupal based site (internal because of foip) and we are looking to do podcasting.

  7. Did you ever have a chance to document what you used for the setup of the podcasting? There seem to be a few different methods of using Drupal for podcasting and I’d like to know what you chose.

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