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…

ETSTalk Episode #16

I just got off the line with Cole, Alan and Brad – the ETS edtech crüe at PSU, where we recorded an episode of ETSTalk. I babbled for a bit about what I do here (and it was likely as clear to them as to me 🙂 ), then we talked a bit about innovations and the need to build concrete stepping stones to help people grok new stuff. I mentioned some of the projects I'm working on with faculty and off-campus folks, and we talked about reasons behind blogging (with me narcissistically remembering the story of how I started blogging, because of course everyone is so interested in that. rivetting stuff…)

It was fun talking with the ETS folk, learning how to properly pronounce prah-ject (rather than proh-ject). 'Mercans talk funny, eh? 

Cole recorded the session in his office at PSU, in the usual surround sound stereophonic way, and I dialled in via iChat videoconference. He recorded the whole thing using GarageBand, and the "auto ducking" feature seems to have worked perfectly (haven't heard the finished audio yet – I'm guessing the audio turned out OK.)

Anyway, the recording process was pretty flawless. Cole just fired up GarageBand, invited me to a conference in iChat, and Everything Just Worked. I used a headset to prevent recursive feedback, but they didn't have to do anything different on their side. Very cool. I'll have to try that more…

ETSTalk #16

I just got off the line with Cole, Alan and Brad – the ETS edtech crüe at PSU, where we recorded an episode of ETSTalk. I babbled for a bit about what I do here (and it was likely as clear to them as to me 🙂 ), then we talked a bit about innovations and the need to build concrete stepping stones to help people grok new stuff. I mentioned some of the projects I'm working on with faculty and off-campus folks, and we talked about reasons behind blogging (with me narcissistically remembering the story of how I started blogging, because of course everyone is so interested in that. rivetting stuff…)

It was fun talking with the ETS folk, learning how to properly pronounce prah-ject (rather than proh-ject). 'Mercans talk funny, eh? 

Cole recorded the session in his office at PSU, in the usual surround sound stereophonic way, and I dialled in via iChat videoconference. He recorded the whole thing using GarageBand, and the "auto ducking" feature seems to have worked perfectly (haven't heard the finished audio yet – I'm guessing the audio turned out OK.)

Anyway, the recording process was pretty flawless. Cole just fired up GarageBand, invited me to a conference in iChat, and Everything Just Worked. I used a headset to prevent recursive feedback, but they didn't have to do anything different on their side. Very cool. I'll have to try that more…

ETSTalk #16

Our DIY Podcasting System

It's taking some time to get the Podcasting program off the ground here at UCalgary. In the meantime, here's a preview of our beta distribution system.

UCalgary Podcast Distribution (beta)

UCalgary Podcast Distribution (beta)

I've heard rumours that we're working on a more scalable system, and I'm looking forward to that. The dubbing facility is just about maxed out at the moment…

It's taking some time to get the Podcasting program off the ground here at UCalgary. In the meantime, here's a preview of our beta distribution system.

UCalgary Podcast Distribution (beta)

UCalgary Podcast Distribution (beta)

I've heard rumours that we're working on a more scalable system, and I'm looking forward to that. The dubbing facility is just about maxed out at the moment…

Penn State Podcasts with Drupal

Cole just posted a note about PSU’s podcasting training session, including a screenshot and link to the Podcasts @ PSU website. Looks very well done – I’m sure we’ll be borrowing liberally from it when we get our butts moving here.

What’s interesting to me is that the site is done in Drupal. Taxonomies to organize content. Drupal’s RSS feeds spitting out the podcasts. Very nice. It looks like a pretty stock implementation without much hackery to get things going – but knowing Cole, he’s probably added some cool stuff to streamline the publihsing process.

Cole – I hope you have time to put together a colophon to share with the rest of the class 🙂

Cole just posted a note about PSU’s podcasting training session, including a screenshot and link to the Podcasts @ PSU website. Looks very well done – I’m sure we’ll be borrowing liberally from it when we get our butts moving here.

What’s interesting to me is that the site is done in Drupal. Taxonomies to organize content. Drupal’s RSS feeds spitting out the podcasts. Very nice. It looks like a pretty stock implementation without much hackery to get things going – but knowing Cole, he’s probably added some cool stuff to streamline the publihsing process.

Cole – I hope you have time to put together a colophon to share with the rest of the class 🙂

iTunes U now has podcasting

I hadn’t visited an iTunes U site for awhile, so this may not be new. I just checked out the Berkeley iTunes U to see what they’re doing with it, and notice the shiny “Subscribe” button when viewing a topic. I don’t remember that being there before, when I was poking around in the Stanford iTunes U. Berkeley’s using it to let folks subscribe to audio on topics like Global Affairs, as well as individual courses. Hey! That’s podcasting! If only I knew of anyone that could use something like this
Berkeley iTunes U Podcasting

I hadn’t visited an iTunes U site for awhile, so this may not be new. I just checked out the Berkeley iTunes U to see what they’re doing with it, and notice the shiny “Subscribe” button when viewing a topic. I don’t remember that being there before, when I was poking around in the Stanford iTunes U. Berkeley’s using it to let folks subscribe to audio on topics like Global Affairs, as well as individual courses. Hey! That’s podcasting! If only I knew of anyone that could use something like this
Berkeley iTunes U Podcasting

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, etc… for classrooms

My copy of Will‘s book “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms” just came in. Looks like it’s going to be a pretty good read, providing the perspective of an in-the-trenches teacher, rather than just the geek echochamber I usually expose myself to…

Will Richardson: Blogs, Wikis, Podasts, and other web tools for classrooms

The book is definitely on top of my nonfiction reading list (my fiction reading, on the bus ride commute, is currently another Gregory Benford book I’m deliberately reading out of sequence…)

My copy of Will‘s book “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms” just came in. Looks like it’s going to be a pretty good read, providing the perspective of an in-the-trenches teacher, rather than just the geek echochamber I usually expose myself to…

Will Richardson: Blogs, Wikis, Podasts, and other web tools for classrooms

The book is definitely on top of my nonfiction reading list (my fiction reading, on the bus ride commute, is currently another Gregory Benford book I’m deliberately reading out of sequence…)

Intro to Podcasting Session Recording

We were able to record that Intro to Podcasting presentation I gave on Wednesday, and the video has been processed and compressed. The audio is a bit wonky because the microphones were fixed and all turned on – and I wasn’t wearing a lapel mic so I get hard to hear as I wander around the front of the room. Next time, I’ll wear a lapel mic, and warn everyone that all of the microphones are on all the time to avoid the paper rustling and desk drumming that got picked up.

Thanks to King for working his video compression ninja skillz on the rough VHS source. He pumped out a small (iPod) and larger (computer playable) version.

We were able to record that Intro to Podcasting presentation I gave on Wednesday, and the video has been processed and compressed. The audio is a bit wonky because the microphones were fixed and all turned on – and I wasn’t wearing a lapel mic so I get hard to hear as I wander around the front of the room. Next time, I’ll wear a lapel mic, and warn everyone that all of the microphones are on all the time to avoid the paper rustling and desk drumming that got picked up.

Thanks to King for working his video compression ninja skillz on the rough VHS source. He pumped out a small (iPod) and larger (computer playable) version.

Intro to Podcasting

(more formats available here)

Intro to Podcasting Session

I checked the registration for the session tomorrow – it’s up to 50 people. We’ll have to open the extra wings in the Big Room, but there will be lots of room for all.

I just tested the visualizer to make sure it showed my old 3G iPod clearly, and it looked like a Stevenote circa 2004 – I should pick up a black angora turtleneck. 🙂 Should be fun. I’ve grabbed a copy of the Creative Commons Senate Content Pack, and have a bunch of mixed podcasts preloaded for demonstration.

We’ll be followinng Levine’s Law, starting with a quick demo in iTunes to show the various podcasts out there. Then, to Audacity (if I can convince it to recognize the USB microphone) to create a quick and dirty recording and then publish it to either my blog or weblogs.ucalgary.ca (or both) to make a podcast. Then, back to iTunes to show it pull the file down, and then to the iPod on the visualizer to show the full round trip.

That part really shouldn’t take very long, so I’m hoping to leave a good portion of the session for a discussion of WHAT and WHY to podcast. And, perhaps more importantly, what NOT to podcast. Perhaps some brainstorming of how it might work on campus, and what kinds of activities would be appropriate. Should be fun. I’ll try recording the session – if that works out, I’ll share it with the rest of the class.

BI 587

Photograph and QTVR by King Chung Huang of the Teaching & Learning Centre, The University of Calgary.

I checked the registration for the session tomorrow – it’s up to 50 people. We’ll have to open the extra wings in the Big Room, but there will be lots of room for all.

I just tested the visualizer to make sure it showed my old 3G iPod clearly, and it looked like a Stevenote circa 2004 – I should pick up a black angora turtleneck. 🙂 Should be fun. I’ve grabbed a copy of the Creative Commons Senate Content Pack, and have a bunch of mixed podcasts preloaded for demonstration.

We’ll be followinng Levine’s Law, starting with a quick demo in iTunes to show the various podcasts out there. Then, to Audacity (if I can convince it to recognize the USB microphone) to create a quick and dirty recording and then publish it to either my blog or weblogs.ucalgary.ca (or both) to make a podcast. Then, back to iTunes to show it pull the file down, and then to the iPod on the visualizer to show the full round trip.

That part really shouldn’t take very long, so I’m hoping to leave a good portion of the session for a discussion of WHAT and WHY to podcast. And, perhaps more importantly, what NOT to podcast. Perhaps some brainstorming of how it might work on campus, and what kinds of activities would be appropriate. Should be fun. I’ll try recording the session – if that works out, I’ll share it with the rest of the class.

BI 587

Photograph and QTVR by King Chung Huang of the Teaching & Learning Centre, The University of Calgary.

Samson USB Microphone

Samson C01UI ordered a Samson CO1U USB “podcasting” microphone to use for my upcoming podcasting workshop. Brian has one, and it’s a beauty. Nice and heavy, and seems to have really nice and rich audio quality. Better than my little USB headset, Powerbook built-in mic, or iSight camera offer, anyway. It was cheap, too – under $80.

After I opened the package, I plugged the USB cord into my G5. It was recognized right off the bat, and iChat and Garageband were able to use it with no additional installation. Then, I went ahead and installed the Samson “applet” to get additional tweakery and bitfiddlery.

Don’t install the applet. It also drops a kernel extension into your system, and requires a reboot. Sure, it gives you a cool-looking levels controller, but it also makes the microphone invisible to audio apps. I’d rather have a stock mic that works, thanks.

So, I uninstalled the .kext and rebooted to clear it out. The mic is visible again. But not to Audacity, for some reason. I’ll debug that tomorrow.

First reaction is: the mic (when it is recognized) sounds really nice. Is the flakeyness worth it? I’ll know more in a couple of days of playing…

Samson C01UI ordered a Samson CO1U USB “podcasting” microphone to use for my upcoming podcasting workshop. Brian has one, and it’s a beauty. Nice and heavy, and seems to have really nice and rich audio quality. Better than my little USB headset, Powerbook built-in mic, or iSight camera offer, anyway. It was cheap, too – under $80.

After I opened the package, I plugged the USB cord into my G5. It was recognized right off the bat, and iChat and Garageband were able to use it with no additional installation. Then, I went ahead and installed the Samson “applet” to get additional tweakery and bitfiddlery.

Don’t install the applet. It also drops a kernel extension into your system, and requires a reboot. Sure, it gives you a cool-looking levels controller, but it also makes the microphone invisible to audio apps. I’d rather have a stock mic that works, thanks.

So, I uninstalled the .kext and rebooted to clear it out. The mic is visible again. But not to Audacity, for some reason. I’ll debug that tomorrow.

First reaction is: the mic (when it is recognized) sounds really nice. Is the flakeyness worth it? I’ll know more in a couple of days of playing…

Intro to Podcasting

I’ll be giving an “Intro to Podcasting” workshop/presentation/session on Wednesday April 19th here at the Learning Commons Teaching & Learning Centre. I’ve only got an hour, and it will be an “intro” session, so I’ll follow Levine’s Law and start with the demo. Then, I’ll stick with the demo, showing different tools used to create, publish, subscribe, and listen to podcasts. I’m hoping to keep the session rather informal, with some audience participation. I’ll be recruiting some “volunteers” from the audience to create a podcast right then and there. Should be fun.

The workshop registration page is available now, but we’ve got no idea how many people are interested. We could either wind up crowded around my desk, or in a big lecture hall, or somewhere in between, depending on the number of people who sign up.

I’ll be giving an “Intro to Podcasting” workshop/presentation/session on Wednesday April 19th here at the Learning Commons Teaching & Learning Centre. I’ve only got an hour, and it will be an “intro” session, so I’ll follow Levine’s Law and start with the demo. Then, I’ll stick with the demo, showing different tools used to create, publish, subscribe, and listen to podcasts. I’m hoping to keep the session rather informal, with some audience participation. I’ll be recruiting some “volunteers” from the audience to create a podcast right then and there. Should be fun.

The workshop registration page is available now, but we’ve got no idea how many people are interested. We could either wind up crowded around my desk, or in a big lecture hall, or somewhere in between, depending on the number of people who sign up.