Technology in the classroom: podcasting introduced

By on September 28, 2005

Forget downloading music: podcasting is becoming one of the most popular media deliveries on the Internet. However, not very many Quinnipiac students seem to know what the heck it is.

“Podcasts fit perfectly into the emerging world of ondemand media,” Richard Hanley, Graduate Program Director for the School of Communications, says. “The ability to download a talk show, church sermon, speech, play-by-play of a sporting event, or similar piece of content, and listen to it whenever and wherever, liberates the audience from the linear confines of traditional media.”

Podcasting is a way of publishing audio broadcasts through the Internet. For example, it allows independent producers to create selfpublished “radio shows” to put on the Internet so people can download the file and listen to the program online. Any computer with audio-playing software can play podcasts, andsome podcatching software, which checks for and downloads new content automatically, can copy podcasts to portable music players.

Originally, podcasting was meant to only allow people to distribute their own “radio shows,” but now podcasts are used for several other reasons. Some of these include: education (Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, has podcasted encyclopedia articles); politics (George W. Bush’s weekly radio addresses have been podcasted); conference and meeting alerts; and even communicating from space (U.S. astronaut Steve Robinson claimed the first podcast from space on August 7, 2005).

Podcasting could be a new way for Quinnipiac students to receive information. Students could download QU sport recaps, campus event listings, and more. But would QU students even take advantage of this new technology if it was made available to them?” P

eople are always online these days and I think it’d be easier for them in some ways to listen online rather than using the radio,” said Lauren Rubino, a junior public relations major.

David Scott, an employee at QU’s computer Help Desk and third-year computer science major, admits that “If (podcasting) doesn’t add on to my tuition, then I’d be fine with it, just because of the fact that the tuition pays for QUDaily, The Chronicle, the QU radio station, and Q30.”

Hanley also points out that this new technology can connect those off-campus to the QU community. “Podcasts, or just a RSS feed of the QU Daily would connect our alumni to the campus,” he said.

Podcasting differs from other types of media delivery because its subscription model uses a feed (like RSS or Atom) to deliver a file. The words “broadcasting” and “iPod” make up the word podcasting, which can be deceiving, since podcasting nor listening to podcasts requires an iPod or any portable music player.

People can find podcasts online, but the most popular websites to find them seem to be and, which has thousands of podcasts publishing audio content on numerous topics.

Podcasting works by the “podcaster” publishing a podcast by recording into an MP3 file and putting it on the Internet. The podcaster gives the file a description, including the full address of the audio file and title (this is called an “episode”). The RSS feed usually detects a new entry, retrieves the file, and checks for other new files, and then notifies the user of any and gives the user the choice to download these new files. Finally, the user can download the file and listen.

Since late 2004, podcasting has become increasingly popular. On June 28, Apple Computers added podcasting to its iTunes 4.9 music software and launched a podcast directory at the iTunes Music Store. Only two days after releasing the program, Apple received one million podcast subscriptions.

Considering that downloading music and movies are so popular, especially on college campuses, it is a possibility that podcasting could, eventually, become just as popular with Quinnipiac students. But would it be useful?

Sonja Hobson, a junior Athletic Training and Physical Therapy double major, thinks podcasting would be helpful at Quinnipiac, because it would allow professors to “broadcast their lessons over the Internet and students could access them on Blackboard.”

“Podcasting is another exciting example of people’s creativity and innovation with respect to technology,” Associate Professor in the School of Communications Sharon Kleinman said. “People have always used, transformed, and reinterpreted communication technologies in innovative ways that the developers and proponents did not anticipate.”


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