"How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail hrallis@d.umn.edu.

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Podcasting Basics: Audacity & Garage Band

Developed by Helen Mongan-Rallis, June 2006. Page last updated: October 14, 2008

What is podcasting?

The term "podcast" can be used as a noun to refer to content (the sound file) or a verb (the process of making the sound file available to users). Podcasting is the method of distributing the sound files using RSS format so that users can listen to these on their computers, or download from their computer onto a portable mp3 player such as an iPod. What distinguishes a podcast from other audio files available online is the fact that it can be downloaded automatically using RSS feed software (see Wikipedia on podcasting).

Using Audacity (Mac or Windows):

If you have an existing audio file and want to reduce the file size and/or convert an audio file into an MP3 file format for uploading to course website and/or podcasting:

  1. First be sure that you have downloaded and installed both Audacity and the LAME encoder (see directions on this below)
  2. Open Audacity
  3. From the "file" menu, select "open file" --> locate the file where you have it saved on your computer, and open it
  4. Once the file is open, click on the drop down menu arrow next to the file name --> this opens the drop down menu --> select "split stereo track"

    screen shot showing how to delete audio track

  5. Once you have split the audio tracks into two (stereo track), you can then delete the second track (this greatly reduces the file size, which is necessary in order to have the file size be small enough for users to download). To delete the second track: click on the "X" next to the file name of the lower (second) track --> this deletes this track.

    screen shot showing how to delete audio track

  6. Finally, export your file as an MP3 file (this is the best file format to enable end users to listen to the recording on a variety of different types of audio players, such as a iPod):

    Screen shot showing file export as MP3 menu

Audacity & LAME

Audacity is a free, cross platform application that can be used to record audio (for creating a podcast) and for editing existing audio files.

  1. Step 1: Download Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). Install it on your computer
  2. Step 2: In order to be able to export sound files that you create or edit in Audacity, you will also need to download and install the LAME MP3 encoder (see How do I download and install the LAME MP3 encoder?). Note: when you follow the directions from this link and download the LAME file, it is important that you remember where you save the file on your computer - see next step.
  3. Step 3: The first time that you use Audacity to convert a file to another format (e.g. convert from .wav to .mp3), you will be prompted to identify where LameLib or libmp3lame.dylib is saved. When this prompt appears, navigate to where you saved it (see Step 2 above). Once you have identified the location, you will not be asked this again, and Audacity will "do its thing" without you having to worry about this again.

Using GarageBand & iTunes on a Mac to record and create a podcast:

  1. Launch GarageBand --> click on the podcast button from the list of choices that appear
  2. A box opens directing you to navigate to the location on your computer where you want the podcast to be saved and to give it a name (which it gives an extension of .band) --> do this and then hit enter
  3. A set of tracks opens in a GarageBand window: podcast track, male voice, female voice, jingles and radio sounds. Beneath that is a set of controls that you will use to start and stop your recoding. Below there is a space to include an image to go along with your podcast (episode artwork).
  4. To add your voice recording: once you have decided what you are going to say/record, click on the red record button and start speaking (using either the built in microphone on the computer, or an external microphone). When you are done speaking, click on the record button again to stop the recording.
  5. To insert music, click on the audio button under the "Media files" section of the GarageBand window (you will need to have music files in your iTunes library for a list of music tracks to appear here).
  6. Select the music track from the list of music files that you have on your computer, and then drag and drop this onto the jungles track.
  7. Play the sound track for as long as you want it to be played, then click on the space bar to stop the music playing
  8. From the edit menu select "split" to split the music track in two --> then click to the right of the where you have split the sound track, and hit the delete key to remove the unwanted portion of music.
  9. When you are done, save your podcast (choosing "save" under the file menu).
  10. Finally, from the share menu select, "Send to iTunes."
  11. To convert the file into an mp3 format, open iTunes, and under the advanced menu, selected "convert selection to mp3." The file is then ready to upload to the location from which it can be podcast.

Can one podcast using a wikispace wiki?

Yes (see example at Helen WikiSpace on Podcasting). Here's what you do:

  1. Create a WikiSpace account (this is a free service)
  2. Set up your wiki
  3. Click on "Manage Space" link under the actions subheading (on left side of wiki page)
  4. In the window that opens, under "space contents" click on the link to "List and upload files."
  5. In the new window that opens, click on the "browse" button and locate the audio file (mp3) -- > once the name of the file appears in the box, click on the "send file" button. Once it is uploaded, it will appear in the list of files that you have on your wiki at the top of the page. Make a note of the file name.
  6. Return to the wiki page into which you wish to insert the link to the audio file (which is also called a podcast) --> click edit
  7. Go the the point on the page where you wish to insert a link to the audio file --> within double square brackets, enter the word file, followed by a colon, followed by the name of the file. Example: [[file:samplecast6_20_06.mp3]].
  8. To listen to the podcast file, click on the link.

Useful references and resources on Podcasting:

  1. Recasting the Concept of Podcasting: Part I - by By Colin Dixon, Senior Analyst, IP Media and Michael Greeson, Founder & CEO of TGD Research. March 23, 2006. Describes how 80% of podcasts are never listened to on a portable device, but are either listened to on a computer or just deleted.
  2. Baughm D. (2005). An introduction to Podcasting. Digital Video in Education. 27 March 2005.
  3. Dyrli, O.E. (2006). Do-it-yourself radio is spreading across the Internet like wildfire. From DA District Administration Magazine for K-12 Education Leaders.
  4. Freedman, T. (2006). Podcasting for schools. Information & Communication Technology in Education. A list of ideas for using podcasting in schools (can also listen to this as a podcast). Created Created on Sat, 11 Mar 2006.
  5. Leach, J. (2006). Podcasting for schools - the basics. Podcasting can help reach pupils that more traditional methods cannot. But how does it work? Jimmy Leach. From Education Guardian, U.K. Accessed June 14, 2006.
  6. O'Hear, S. (2005). Podcasts offer the audience pupils crave. The Guardian. Oct. 4, 2005. [Read about what students are doing at Musselburgh Grammar School, Scotland. Then link to the MGS blog and podcasts.
  7. Podcasting news. Accessed June 14, 2006. [A blog about issues & events related to podcasting].
  8. Wilson, T. (2006). Podcast Palooza FETC.

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