Discovering Open Resources at Home (and Beyond)

With all my yelling for openness on campus recently, I am proud to show off some of the open content emerging within our iTunes U space. There are thousands of course podcasts that are still behind the log in wall, but so much great open content is being published every single day. It is really cool to see. If you have iTunes installed and you click this link you’ll be taken to our top downloads area to see for yourself.

PSU on iTunes U: Top Downloads

PSU on iTunes U: Top Downloads

The one thing I’m not sure we are doing a good job at is exposing this to the teaching community as a resource. I’m not thinking about it as a resource for just posting content, but a resource for linking content into an existing course. A quick browse through the WPSU stuff alone brings to light hundreds of amazing assets that are very well done and could support all sorts of learning needs. If there isn’t anything to discover at PSU for you, it may be time to take a look at the content that has been appearing in the overall iTunes U space. Not only is there an excellent selection of open content items from higher education available, but the folks in Cupertino who manage this environment have done an outstanding job bringing open and available content to us from all sorts of sources — take a look, there are some high quality resources just waiting to be used, mashed, contextualized, and shared.

Back at PSU we are in the midsts of a total redesign of our entire podcasting service — from the Podcasts at Penn State site to our iTunes U environment. We are consolidating, working to make things more discoverable, and trying to find new ways to encourage the open posting of content. We are hoping to start releasing some of the new stuff around the start of the Spring 2009 semester. With that in mind, we are all ears! What should we be doing to promote this in a wider sense and raise greater awareness on and off campus?

Podcast Producer Integration

We are looking very closely at Apple’s Podcast Producer for use in and around campus. I wrote a little about it the other day while sitting in a meeting … this morning I opened the QuickTime player on my MBP to record a very quick piece of audio. When I went to the export it I saw a “Share …” option in the File menu. Not remembering that from the QT Player in 10.4 I decided to check it out. What I saw really surprised me … an option to share the file to a Podcast Producer server.

What that means to me is that I can open QT Player anywhere, record audio/video, and instantly publish it to our Podcast Producer Server. I haven’t looked at it beyond that, but it certainly makes me realize there is big power coming together here. With a chain like iTunes U, Podcast Producer, simple creation tools, and facilities on campus to help people make digital content, sharing just got a whole heck of a lot easier. I will be interested to see how/if workflow can be invoked from a simple “Share …” command in QuickTime. If it can, the possibilities for quick and easy content creation and distribution is only limited to what one could dream up. I wonder in the Windows version of QT Player can do this?


I’ll share more as we get further down the path. I am also curious to see what happens when I click the login button … will it give me a new set of options to invoke custom workflows? If that is the case we can build workflows to put things in all sorts of places … want to publish to an iTunes U course space? Done. Want to publish via your Blog? Done. Want to push it to our streaming server? Done. I am hoping the integration I see lets me take the final step and really create once and publish to many environments.

More on Moving MT to a New Location

Last night I wrote about exporting one blog out of the Blogs at Penn State platform and importing into a commercial (or self hosted) blog environment … clearly it is really easy, but I didn’t think of a couple of things. So today I did the same thing with my Spring 2007 Podcasting Update that I had done in the Blogs at Penn State about a year ago. You can see the whole thing here at this space now by using this link. This time I did three things while moving it:

  1. Grabbed all the images it references from my PSU Personal space and uploaded them into my common directory here at this blog. I obviously preserved the names to make it easier. Another thing I do with all my blogs is organize all the media I reference in each post into a common location … because of this I was able to take the export file and do an easy find and replace with the old path to the new path. Perfect! Now all my posts reference local media files.
  2. Next thing I did was create a new category here at Learning & Innovation that I wanted all these posts to show up in — I chose PSU Podcasting.
  3. Again using TextWrangler I did a quick find and replace to set the Primary Category to PSU Podcasting. This brought all my posts in under a common category. I didn’t do that on my iPhone blog import and it made me go through and update each by hand … not too bad, because I only had 20 or so posts, but if it would have been a big blog it would have taken me some time.

I could easily create a script to do that here locally, or by working with someone smarter than myself we could come up with a simple little utility to do it all via the web. All told, it took me under 10 minutes to make it all happen. Seamless move!

Podcasting at Penn State


Being able to time shift academic content is proving to be an important and emerging trend on campus. Students are making time to interact with educational content in ways they haven’t in the past and we feel it is important to understand that.

The Podcasts at Penn State project’s goal is to provide a platform to enable easy podcasting for all members of our target audiences.

Our project is essentailly a semester old now and we have seen great growth. During the Fall 2006 semester we saw about 40 sections actively podcasting across all of the Penn State system. We are currently engaged in a formal evaluation of the first phase of the pilot and will be engaged in more evaluation this Spring.

We are expanding the pilot to 50 sections as well as a handful of what we call Engagement Projects. With these projects we provide faculty with a set of resources and ask them to work within a targeted set of expectations to integrate podcasting into their teaching. This approach allows ETS to work collaboratively with faculty and students to understand how we can better support and promote a service before we launch it.

Learn more about the Engagement Initiative at