23.2 That sounds easy! Simple audio recording and editing for instructional podcasts

Presentation by Sally Bell (University of Strathclyde) & David Buri (Glasgow School of Art).

Sally and David described how they are looking to podcasts and audio guides as a new way to engage students.  As well as a way to reach the local audiences at the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow School of Art, GSA has a very large social media following and so there is also potential to reach a world-wide audience.  Podcasts offer the advantage of being less formal – a more casual form of communication. 

Sally and David identified many potential library applications for podcasts including orientation tours; promotion of specific resources, including clips from academic staff; research tips; promotion of exhibitions and events; interviews with staff about their research;  and interviews with architects about their use of library resources and how research informs creative practice.

Podcasts can be recorded on standard mobile phones so no specialist equipment is required.  Audacity was identified as an ideal digital editing tool as the software is free, open source, multi-platform and well established (Lynda.com even has tutorials available).  It is flexible for both basic and advanced use.  

Podcast presentation

Sally and David gave us a live demo of editing an audio recording using Audacity.  They made producing a professional video with excellent sound quality appear very straight-forward and showed us many of the tricks that can be applied.  You can easily layer recordings and add many different effects such as fading, normalising the sound to boost vocals, and adding music.

They emphasised that once you’ve put in the work, making the podcasts discoverable is just as important via VLEs, OPACs, websites and social media channels.  It’s also important to provide transcripts for accessibility and gain student feedback.

Thanks to Sally and David for encouraging us to download Audacity and give it a go!
You can listen to Sally and David’s podcast review of the conference here.

Review by Elaine Cooke, Manchester Metropolitan University

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