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iTunes U: Part 2— Making a Podcast

Three steps to making a podcast

Generating podcasts for iTunes U involves three steps:

  1. Record the lecture (audio or video).
  2. Convert the audio or video to a podcast format compatible with iTunes.
  3. Upload the podcast to Apple's servers.

Each of the steps is described in detail specific to Dr. Androutsos' podcast production.

Recording the Lecture

Dr. Androutsos uses a program called Camstudio, to capture his Tablet PC desktop as he writes on previously prepared diagrams, while the microphone built-in to the Tablet PC captures his voice commentary. The resulting screen capture is saved as an AVI movie file.

Convert the Lecture to a Podcast

Before the content can be uploaded to iTunes, it must be converted to a file format that can be played by the iPods.

After recording the lecture, Dr. Androutsos says that, “most of the time generating the podcast is spent converting from .AVI to .MOV. This varies depending on the speed of the computer. It can take up to 10 minutes for a one-hour lecture, which generates a 180 MB .MOV podcast file.”

His workflow is as follows:

  1. Use Camstudio on the Tablet PC to record the lecture (output format is .AVI)
  2. Use FFMpegX on a Macbook Pro to generate the podcast (convert .AVI to 1.5Mbps, 640x480 .MOV)
  3. Use Firefox to connect to iTunes U through Blackboard and upload the podcast to Apple's servers via the web interface.

The final step is to test the content with iTunes or an iPod.

Uploading the Podcast

It takes only a few minutes to upload the content to Apple's servers (depending on the speed of the network connection). He said, “from my Macbook on the Ryerson network, it was matter of a few minutes. From home, on an aDSL connection, it took about 20 minutes.”

Other Content

iTunes U content isn't limited to just audio and video podcasts. Dr. Androutsos says that he has also uploaded PDF files of his lectures, which are automatically converted to an iPod-viewable file format.

iTunes U: Part 1— Course lectures on your iPod


iTunes U Support Page has step by step instructions and includes information about compatible file formats, bit rates, etc.

Contact CCS to set-up your iTunes U account and have it configured it to be accessible via Blackboard.

For a fee, the Digital Media Projects Office provides resources for converting your media to podcast compatible formats.