General ICT Help
A podcast is one or more files – typically media – that are published as an RSS feed. Podcasts are usually a series of files that are published over time (episodes). Podcast feeds can be subscribed to using a podcast aggregator (often known as a ‘podcatcher’) – these tools check periodically for updates to podcasts and automatically download them for the subscribing user. Downloaded podcasts can be stored on a local computer or portable device (e.g. a portable media player) for playback at the user’s convenience.
Although intended to be used on mobile devices, various studies show that a significant percentage of podcasts are actually used on a computer and not a portable device (e.g. MP3 player).
What podcasting isn't...
Strictly speaking, a podcast is not a downloadable media file i.e. a web link to a single file that can be viewed or saved to a local disk, such as in a website or in the Group Folder in a WOLF Topic. The subscription element that enables automatic retrieval via 'podcatchers' sets podcasts apart from simple downloadable media files.
Note: You only need a podcatcher if you intend to subscribe to a series of podcasts - if you are publishing a single media file, simply link to it from a web page (or put it into a Group Folder in WOLF), as there is no benefit to podcasting a single file.
What you need to create a file and podcast it
- A computer – this can be a PC or a Macintosh
- Software to record and save media files
- A recording device (e.g. microphone) connected to your computer
- Somewhere to publish the files - please see 'Publishing podcasts', below
Users can then subscribe using a 'podcatcher' of their choice.
Do you need an Apple Macintosh computer to start podcasting?
No - you don’t need iTunes or an Apple Macintosh computer to use or create podcasts! You can use media creation tools for any software platform to create media files for podcasting. Your University PC already has software that will enable you to record and save media files, and other more specialised software is available that you can run on a University PC to create MP3 audio files.
The current version of WOLF enables tutors to make audio and video files available as downloadable/viewable media through the Course menu or in Group Folders. Students can copy these to portable devices if they wish. This is not strictly podcasting.
WOLF 2 enables tutors to make podcasts available to students. Using enhanced Group Folder functionality, tutors can make their own files as podcasts available (i.e. WOLF 2 provides a feed address students can subscribe to in their preferred 'podcatcher') OR make a folder that subscribes to podcasts from other sources (i.e. acts as a 'podcatcher' within a Topic).
Podcasting in the University website
If you are interested in making podcasts available for your School or Service/Department through the University website, please contact Web Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be happy to discuss your ideas further and help you to make them a useful and beneficial part of your web presence.