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
- still thinking of locking content within Blackboard (i.e., iTunesU is too open)
- 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…