Tag Archives: Podcasting

iTunes U Anyone?

Now to re-investigate iTunes U. ( http://www.apple.com/education/solutions/itunes_u/)

I’m really curious to see the interface, but I think you need to get into an agreement to try it out. If it’s as easy to use as they say, maybe it’s worth running a pilot. I need to find some faculty interested in exploring this with me, though. There’s no point in running a pilot with just myself.

I took a peek at what Stanford has on iTunes U (the stuff they make public – I believe they have a whole separate iTunes U entity that is password-protected) and it was pretty interesting. A little hard to navigate at first (I didn’t really know what I was looking for), but really easy to access. I think I was streaming the files, since I didn’t download any of them. I didn’t actually *subscribe* to anything, although I could have.

To get into a school’s iTunes U, you need to click on a web link. You can’t simply search the Music Store for the school. The school’s iTunes U replaces the music store (so you’re accessing it through the iTunes Music Store link in iTunes), but you can easily return to the real Music Store by clicking the little house icon in the breadcrumb at the top.

I suppose it helps that they have quite a lot of content on there – music, concerts, videos, mini documentaries, etc.

Question: What format are all of these in? I know they can be downloaded to an iPod, but what about other portable players? This seems to be the big controversy… the formatting prevents other players, from what I hear. I have heard the audio is encoded into AAC, and the video is MP4 – but I’ll have to double check that. (Note: Supposedly you aren’t stuck to those formats – anything iTunes can play, you can publish) This is what makes people the most wary – that it is apparently a venue for Apple to sell more iPods to students. Not a bad tradeoff, I think (considering what little information I have).

I’m really interested in looking into this more. I would like to try a couple of Podcast pilots – one on iTunes U, one with Roller. In the end, which will instructors find easiest to use? Which will students find easiest to use? Will either group find podcasting useful at all?

Schools on iTunes:

A Few Opinions:

Yet another post today…

Sick of me yet?

Today, I am going to figure out how to make one of those little automatic ‘Subscribe’ buttons you see on some pages.

I’m pretty sure these are iTunes specific, but I can work with that.

Here’s my first trial:

Subscribe Now!

(The URL I added in the link was itpc://weblogs.ryerson.ca/roller/rss/sgoetz)

If this link opens up iTunes to subscribe to my podcast, I can make a cute little image to post in my podcast blogs.


OK, so that test worked great. I clicked on the link & got the dialogue box that showed that it was trying to load iTunes. I clicked the ‘Launch Application’ button & was brought to iTunes, where I was subscribed to my podcast & iTunes was happily downloading the first episode.

Now to put the subscribe link in my blog sidebar.

Podcasting Breakthrough!

Today I was able to podcast using the Blackboard Content Collection.

I had tried this once before… maybe I jinxed it because I went in assuming that the SSL would stop iTunes from being able to ‘catch’ my podcast. That test ended with iTunes giving me an error message that seemed to confirm my thoughts.

I moved on.

Today, I decided to look into links between Podcasting & Blackboard. There must be some schools doing it, right? Maybe with the help of a building block… I found a set of instructions that were similar to the ones I had followed earlier. I thought to myself ‘Heh, they’re probably not using SSL’, but I did feel a glimmer of hope – so I looked at their site. HTTPS.

That’s it. I’m trying this again.

I uploaded my media file to the CC. I took the address of the file from the properties section and added it to the enclosure tag of a quick & dirty “ready-for-podcasting” XML file I had worked with before. I uploaded the XML file and shared it with the users of my ‘classes’ (not that I needed to, for this test — I already have access to my own files).

I got the BBCC URL of the XML file & pasted it into iTunes….

No error message.

I got a login popup.

I quickly entered my Matrix username & password & watched as iTunes downloaded my test media file. I would like to say that I nearly cried, but seeing how this test only took 5 minutes the anticipation didn’t have enough time to build.


Now that I’ve gotten this to work, here are my initial thoughts:


– this will work well for those concerned with intellectual property rights & don’t want their materials being publicly posted (BBCC podcasts are password protected)
– this will also work for those who want to target a specific group, as any of the users they share with will be able to access it by entering their passwords. BBCC has a pretty decent permissions set
– can allow individual users, full courses, full organizations, certain roles in certain courses, etc. etc.


– you still have to make up the XML file. this is the biggest hurdle I can forsee with podcasting in general. this is why i like the blog-mediacasting idea — no worrying about XML, the blog creates the code, you just have to get the URL and distribute it

… if someone could make a good podcasting building block that will generate the xml for you IN BLACKBOARD and allow for the CC storage, etc, that would be fantastic