Wrapping up the Podcasting Research Project

When the semester began I fully expected to post several times on the events of the project. Much to my surprise the project had fewer technical and logistical glitches that I anticipated. That’s not to say there were no problems. There were some “soft” problems like cables being being unplugged, and then plugged into the wrong spot. A few times audio files did not upload as expected and required manual intervention.

The iTunes U site has worked extremely well for audio and video distribution. However, one of the things this project has highlighted is the need for some kind of efficient production process for converting digital assets to the appropriate iTunes U format. The scripts used in the podcasting project took care of the file conversion for me. However, in many of the online courses we are developing more and more video clips are being included, some of which are large (80+ meg).

By using the m4v format, students can view the video directly in iTunes without having to first download it. Converting mp4, mov, or other formats to m4v isn’t technically difficult. I routinely do it using QuickTime Pro. As the usage of video continues to increase, a manual conversion process isn’t going to scale very well. I’m not much of a script guru, but I probably could make use of automator scripts, or some other software solution that allows batch jobs.

I have collected data from 2 of the courses participating in the project. Tomorrow and Thursday I collect the remaining data and iPods. Data analysis can begin sometime thereafter.

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