Jennifer Reeves: Podcasting Experience from NLII

I just got this from Jennifer Reeves ( from MOJO … great recap and overall impressions of the podcasting that went on at NLII. Worthwhile little read…

My Podcasting Experience
By Jennifer Reeves
University of Missouri Professor and KOMU-TV Executive Producer

I had heard the term “podcasting” muttered here and there in technology committee emails. But three weeks ago was the first time I’d really thought about it. That’s when I jumped into this project with Apple Computer and Penn State. I was clueless. But now I can podcast and explain it simply to the many people who are curious and want to know more. I plan to share my knowledge to as many people as possible at the University of Missouri and at our radio station and television station.

This podcasting experiment was exciting. I was able to guide a journalism grad and a student to produce good content for the podcasting world. My partners in podcasting, University of Missouri student Kyle Palmer and graduate Sarah Ashworth, were initially wary of the project. They wondered if they could do good content for the internet that is broadcast quality. I convinced them to take this experience in with an open mind: A new technology doesn’t have to be perfect. This trip was all about just doing it and finding out what would happen.

We found out podcasting works and you can produce quality audio. My team took the skills learned at the Missouri School of Journalism and delivered a level of professionalism to podcasting that is new and very enjoyable. Going into the podcasting experiment, I wanted to deliver two different types of audio files: full feeds of featured speeches and panels and “NPR style” reports. My approach at the beginning was very similar to a t.v. news producer: Get people interested early and keep delivering product that they like so they’ll keep coming back. I was able to turn the speeches around onto the internet pretty quickly… And I did it even faster once I learned how to compress my broadcast-quality audio into quicker to download and upload files.

With podcasting, once you’re there, you’ll keep getting content – But that content has to be worth listening to. It’s a little different than the normal audience of radio or television. During one of our first podcasts, I helped edit the script with Kyle and Sarah. I realized they didn’t have to use the same broadcast voice you hear on the radio. They were able to really speak directly to the listener… Anyone who listens to a podcast wants to listen. That means they’re more involved in the topic. So Kyle and Sarah didn’t have to be as general in their scripts. They could use the words “you” because we were talking to the conference members and “we” because we were also part of the conference. It felt a little more comfortable because podcasting is not as formal as on the radio waves.

I let them wander around the conference and find stories while I captured full speeches to help continuously provide more content. But the continuously part wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. That’s mainly because we had never used the audio editing program Audacity. It gives the simple editing we needed for this trip, but it failed or corrupted files often. It was also much more tenuous compared to the system we already use for KBIA, the University of Missouri-owned NPR station. Being a reasonable novice working just with audio files (I’m more of an expert when it comes to editing audio and video at the same time), I didn’t realize how compressing the audio files dramatically eases the wait in uploading and downloading the podcasts. I also got to a point where I needed to capture more audio from a speech, but hadn’t been able to upload previous speeches at the same time because I completely overwhelmed my computer. I discovered my computer was unable to capture sound and have someone edit another audio file at the same time. Audacity crashed and I lost a small portion of a panel session. It could be Audacity or just user error, but I think it was probably a little of both. Either way I couldn’t multi-task on my computer as much as I’d hoped because I wanted to be sure the audio capture was not violated. After this conference, it is very tired. I’ll have to ask our friendly tech support to give me more memory! The cool part was I did do what I wanted: Provide content on a continuous basis. While Kyle and Sarah interviewed, wrote and edited, I was pushing content they’d already finished and streams of speeches to my blog.

Barring the technical glitches, the upload process was very smooth. It’s simple enough that I can see anyone podcasting: From my parents to my son when he gets a little older (maybe when he’s 4). It also feels like I’m part of a little underground club. Anyone who knows podcasting likes to talk about it. I’m hooked with the best of them. A cool moment came near the end of the conference. Kyle, Sarah and I were working at a table near a conference room. When the meeting ended, a podcast addict asked if she could grab a couple more podcasts before running off to the airport. I just connected her iPod to my iTunes and shared. A couple of other people noticed what I was doing and did the same thing. It was a cool geek moment. I can already see students hanging out when one asks a classmate if he’d listened to the class discussion from the podcast… and since only one person had actually downloaded it, they share the content by simply dragging and dropping it into their iPod.

This was a great experience. I hope to guide journalists in using this technology. They can become some of the first in the journalism profession to use podcasting to help drive our viewers and listeners to extra content or similar content that they may enjoy as they work out or drive around town. The possibilities are endless. The greatest part is helping take this experiment and turn it into a part of our curriculum. Who knows what is next.

Thoughts from NLII: Final Stuff

I really had a great time at the NLII Annual Meeting in New Orleans the last couple of days. There are some people doing some great things in higher education and it actually has me excited about what we are trying to do. I want to figure out how to impact more people with it, but I have a feeling that will come. The session I participated in yesterday really was an introduction to the charter members of the Apple Digital Campus project … as well as an invitiation to join the emerging community we are creating. The five schools (PSU, Duke, Stanford, Missouri, and Ohio State) were all there and we each took some time to describe our role in the project … I’ll post the slides when I am back on a high bandwidth hookup … Carl Berger, who is the research director for the project, did a masterful job moderating and describing our common research goals. Just a great session. The podcast of the session is now available over at the Educause Blog site … here is the post by Jennifer Lee Reeves from MOJO:

On the final day of the NLII Annual Meeting, five universities came “out of the closet” to talk about a new community that is forming in conjunction with Apple Computer. Yvonne Belanger of Duke, Cole Camplese of Penn State, Susan Metros of The Ohio State University, Melissa Poole of University of Missouri’s School of Journalism and Victoria Szabo of Stanford University each talked about the projects they’ve worked on in partnership with Apple. At the same time, Carl Berger officially invited your school or university to join the new forming Apple Digital Campus. If you’d like more information, email Peter Hoffman of Apple: or CSU-Monterey Bay’s Professor and Idea Lab Director John Ittelson:

The people from MOJO, who were awsome to work with, also did a quick wrap up podcast. All good stuff. I am proud of the work of the ADC so far and I really believe it will be an amazing community that will impact change in Higher Education.

I’m sure I’ll have more reactions, but for now that’s all I got! Talk to you soon.

Thoughts From NLII: Day One Wrap

It was a good day, and I have to say this has been the best conference I have attended. The presenters (at least the ones I saw) were really all willing to push the normal higher education ideas well beyond their current position. To me, that’s refreshing … I am so sick of the same old, same old in higher ed … the time to adjust some of our outdated models is here.

The hallway talk was even better. I met some great people and I think I’ve established a few interesting connections to folks who will impact my world in the coming weeks and months. All in all, a worthy trip — even I am in New Orleans all by myself without anyone to enjoy the killer jazz with … oh well, more motivation to return!

I was just interviewed by the MOJO students for the podcasting stuff … not even sure what I said, but I most certainly plugged SI and the innovative work going on there. I hope it turns out OK when it is released. They have been talking to all sorts of cool people and the podcasts are so well done … just great to see an idea go from a suggestion to reality so quickly … to be honest we just started talking to the Educause folks about this six weeks ago and they have built a great system! And the MOJO people have done such a first rate job. Very good stuff! Make sure you subscribe to the feed, or just do it the old fashioned way and visit the website.

Dinner tonight is with Apple Digital Campus people to figure out what our online community looks like and how it will be used. Should be very interesting — and oh, we are going to a great place. I have some ideas, and I am sure as the wine starts to be poured I’ll discuss them. Tomorrow is our presentation and then I fly out … whew, worth the trip.

Thoughts From NLII: WIKI Land

Another great session … this time about how WIKIs can impact teaching and learning. “Adventures in WikiLand,” by Brian Lamb from U of Britich Columbia … More on that in a minute … one of the great things about the presentation is that it is more of a demo than a death by PowerPoint. He started at his own wiki and I went back to the root directory and found that UBC has a whole blogs initiatives going on and then on to University of Minnesota where they have it going as well … man, PSU is behind the times — as usual. I am tired of this and I really think we need a dedicated office whose focus is on emerging technologies … a living, learning lab. Something like SI, but at the University level.

Back to the wiki … he showed just how easy it is to create a new page … and it is very easy. I think we have another new tool to look at for course design, eBook design, and just general coursework. He gave a great example of how the wiki can be used for things like planning … he used the example of planning a camping trip and talked about how much easier (and less email intensive) the wiki is to use for this type of a thing … he showed how it was used for planning and delivering a conference … can you think of examples we should be focusing on for teaching & learning purposes? Another great page from the wiki space. Another cool reference … shows how people write in wikis. How about this quote from WhyWiki:

So I wiki. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. Sure, people might read it, but it is electronic, unreliable, ethereal. It is something I don’t entirely understand. But what I like, what I really enjoy about wiki writing, is that paper never gets the chance to solidify against me.

A funny side note … the guy sitting next to me is geeking out in terminal trying to hack the guy’s wiki as he is talking. He actually went in and changed some of his quotes and links to make his point … whatever.

Now he is getting to wiki in instruction … take a look at some examples. Of course, the audience are all saying, “but aren’t you worried of cheating and plagiarism?” … the speaker is looking at them like we look at people when they say that … “so, its your course, deal with it.” Another good idea is that in group work, with these tools we don’t have to worry about the one kid who understands Dreamweaver making the whole website … the tools get out of the way and let all members of the team contribute. That makes me happy … I know that in my classes, there are a handfull of kids who take over all the technology. We’ll be exploring this stuff more. Some entries on people who walk the talk.

Finally … why not discussion boards vs. wikis … the short answer, “there are no boxes” to constrain the flow. Discussion Boards are good for certain things, but IMHO are way over used in education. Blogs, wikis, and other personal and collaborative publishing systems are poised to take this whole .edu space by storm. We really ought to get out in front … and fast. Great session!

Thoughts From NLII: The Summer Institute

Just a quick note … might be several of these over the next day or two … I am at NLII and just listened to a woman from UT who talked about building good learning opportunities and talked really from the faculty perspective. Interesting use of wireless devices all integrated with a real world, PBL foundation.

One thing they do is run a summer insitute to get faculty engaged in these activities and start to show them the potential … I am wondering if we (at SI) should do something like that. We used to run the faculty academy program, but that was a much larger deal. This would be a simple one day event that would focus on working with faculty and getting them excited about teaching with technology. Just a thought.

She also talked about how they stopped with all the training around the applications (photoshop, dreamweaver, etc) and focused on teaching them how to use tools to build online and hybrid courses. Now we’re talking … teach our faculty how to use D3 and our other courseware design tools. They give grants, we’d offer tools. More to think about.

More Podcasting

I am getting set to attend the NLII annual meeting in New Orleans to participate in a session on pervasive computing … as a matter of fact, I think I posted an entry about that and the podcasting we’ll be doing down there. I’ll be doing a bit of my own, solo podcasting during the conference — and probably from New Orleans in general. At any rate, a student worker here at the Solutions Institute and I put together (Carlo did most of the work) a Keynote related to what is podcasting for the show.

Like I posted a while back, Apple has asked me to work with Missouri School of Journalism to make sure the event is covered. The tech group from Educause built a fully RSS-enabled blog space in place for us to handle posts and podcasts from the sessions … I got to see it today and it is really well done! Apple is going to be putting a Mac mini and a whole bunch of iPods out at the registration desk for people to check out and listen to. The mini will be running our presentation and the iPods will have sessions on them as well as some of the content from the Duke iPod project.

Check out the RSS feed next week to listen in. I’ll be posting from New Orleans as the time approaches. At any rate here is the link to the Keynote presentation as a pdf.

Podcasting NLII

I’m not sure how it came up, but I was asked by Apple to help make sure the sessions at the annual NLII meeting in New Orleans is covered via podcasts. I guess someone figured out I’ve been into that for some time now. It looks like it will be very cool as the University of Missouri School of Journalism is sending students and faculty to actually create the podcasts … the folks at Educause have even worked with us to create a nice blog system to allow the podcast team to create, publish, and serve the RSS feeds out to the masses right from the conference floor. Should be very cool. I’ll post links as it gets going!

By the way, if you are going to be in New Orleans for the NLII between 1/23 and 1/26, drop me a note (or leave a comment) and we’ll get together! I’ll be traveling alone and will be looking for some people to hang out with between sessions. Also, I am presenting some stuff from the Apple Digital Campus project with some other people engaged in the program … again, as I get things together, I’ll post some things.