4. Podcast Production: How to plan and create educational podcasts

4.1. Pre-production planning

Define the purpose of the podcast you wish to create:

  • General skills: improve communication skills, research methods, etc.
  • Course materials: e.g. learning activities
  • Conferences and public talks

Who is it for? Define your intended audience. Be aware that material released publicly may draw a wider or more specific audience than you intended

  • Students on a module/course, or all research students
  • Students and general public

Type of recording:

  • Filmed video (i.e. featuring live action such as recording a lecture with a camera in a room)
  • Screencapture video (i.e. recording presentations as seen on a display and typically not requiring a camera directed at a presenter)
  • Audio only (e.g. radio style broadcasts, where listeners are expected to be able to understand the content without being able to see the presenter or any additional displays). Note: Audio is typically much easier to produce, and often adequate.

Pre-production checking

  • Are you making ad-hoc, unrelated, one-off recordings, or can your material be assembled into a collection or series? Series tend to have significantly higher downloads and are generally encouraged.
  • Support within your department: If this material is for local use only, then do you have somewhere to publish the files (departmental/project/college webserver?) and are you hosting the subscription (metadata for RSS) locally or going to use OxItems?
  • Support from OUCS: If your material is for public release and you would like to publish it to the University Web Portal (podcasts.ox.ac.uk) and/or the iTunes U site, then there is support from OUCS available. OxItems can hold your podcasting information (metadata for RSS), and OUCS provide a webserver for hosting the media files.
  • Do you have the knowledge or experience to do the this yourself? If not, you can get free training from the OUCS ITLP courses. You can also contact your local IT officer for assistance. Otherwise, email the podcasting team at OUCS via podcasts@oucs.ox.ac.uk.
  • Who is going to do the presenting? Have they any experience with having their presentations recorded? - OUCS ITLP offer courses on presenting for podcasts.
  • If the material is for public release, have you had the presenters/speakers sign the relevant podcasting legal form?
  • Who is going to operate the recording equipment? Do you have the technology you need for your recording? - OUCS may be able to assist via the loaning of a small amount of equipment we have available for public podcasts, and we can offer training and advice on its operation and best usage.
  • Contextual materials: you can supply extra files to go with your podcasts, such as lecture slides (as PDF files), reading lists, feedback forms, transcripts and more. It is always worth checking that all material released through podcasting is suitably cleared for use. E.g. have all the images in your presentation slides been sourced with permission to republish them? Are you featuring any external audio or video clips that may be under copyright?

4.3. Where to publish your content?

Public versus private podcasting: Podcasts are by their nature, publicly accessible and often can appear in many places. It is practically impossible to make digital recordings that can not be copied, edited, relocated, or republished anywhere else. For examples of the technical futility of trying, examine the news reports on film and music piracy. That said, by placing your content in a restricted access area (such as Weblearn) and asking users not to redistribute or share this material, the spread of your recordings can be contained to an extent, if that is your wish. Making your material publicly available, and advertising it with a suitable license (such as Creative Commons) is much more advisable. For more information on licensing and the benefits of public podcasting, please see the OpenSpires website.

The common places for podcasts to appear at Oxford are:

  • Your departmental and or college website
  • Your personal website
  • The University Web Portal for Podcasts (podcasts.ox.ac.uk)
  • Oxford on iTunes U
  • A WebLearn site: this is a good location to store and share files intended for use by a small or specific audience and can also host related materials such as Powerpoint presentations, handouts, etc.
Note: for the podcasting portal and Oxford iTunes sites, speakers need to have signed the relevant podcasting form before the podcasts can be published.

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