Podcasting on Blackboard
This tutorial explains how to post podcasts to your Blackboard site.
Posting podcasts to Blackboard offers the following advantages over "regular" audio or video files:
- If enabled, students will be able to subscribe to your podcast via an RSS feed in a tool such as iTunes. This means that new episodes will automatically be delivered to them, even if they are not logged into Blackboard.
- The media files are stored in your Blackboard course and are copied from semester to semester when using copy course.
- If you are using Blackboard to deliver regular lecture recordings to your students, we strongly encourage doing so via the podcast tool.
Audio Recording and Editing Software
We recommend the use of Audacity. This software is free.
- To use this software on campus, you will need to submit a request for Computer Services to install it on your computer. Each of you will have to individually install the needed MP3 encoder. (MP3 Encoder Installation Instructions)
- You will need to provide your own microphone for the computer.
- To use this software at home, you can visit http://audacity.sourceforge.netto download the software and the mp3 plug-in. Remember to download both files.
Video Tutorial: How to use Audacity recording/editing software.
Uploading a podcast
- The first step is to prepare your podcast files. Be aware that uncompressed audio or video files can be very large, download slowly, and fill up your students' iPods or similar devices quickly. It is important to work with compressed files. (Example: An mp3 file is a compressed audio file.)
- Name your audio files correctly: do not include unusual characters such as backslashes (/) in the filename. Make sure the file name terminates in the proper file extension, depending on the file type. Please note: Use of spaces in file names on Blackboard is not recommended. Podcasting supports the following file types:
- .m4a – Audio only format
- .mp3 – Audio only format (can be built using Audacity or Camtasia)
- .mov – QuickTime movie format (can be built using Camtasia)
- .mp4 – Video & Audio format
- .m4v – iPod/iTunes video & audio format (can be built using Camtasia)
- .pdf – Acrobat Reader (documents)
- Decide where you want to post the files. The content area "Course Documents" is a good location - we'll use that for this tutorial. If you have many audio clips, it is a good idea to create a subfolder for them.
- In the left-hand navigation bar, click on Control Panel.
- On the Control Panel page, in the Content Areas section, click on Course Documents.
- On the Course Documents page, locate the drop-down menu on the right of the gray editing bar. From this menu, select Podcast Episode and click Go.
- On the Add Podcast Episode page, assign a name to the podcast episode.
- If you wish, type explanatory text about the episode into the text box.
- On the Add Podcast Episode page, in section 2, "Podcast Media", click on Choose File or Browse and navigate to the file you wish to podcast.
- Click Submit.
- This will post the episode. It will appear with a listen or watch link, which allows students to access the file in the Blackboard browser window.
Enabling an RSS feed for your podcast
A podcast RSS feed allows you to publish your podcast beyond Blackboard. It allows your students to "subscribe" to your podcast with a tool such as iTunes, i.e. to automatically receive new postings without checking Blackboard.
- To create an RSS feed for your podcast. In the left-hand navigation bar, click on Control Panel.
- On the Control Panel page, in the Course Tools section, click on Manage Podcast.
- On the Manage Podcast page, in section 3, "Options", set the visibility to "Everyone". The URL of your RSS feed appears in parentheses right here.
- Click Submit.
Student access to Blackboard podcasts
- If you have not enabled an RSS feed, students will need to access individual podcast "episodes" by clicking on them, and playing them in their web browser.
- If you have enabled an RSS feed, students can subscribe to it. To do so, a student can click on Course Tools and then choose the Podcast tool.
The RSS and iTunes buttons allow students to subscribe to the podcast with iTunes, or with another RSS reader.