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Podcast in Under an Hour

Thanks to all of you who participated in today's presentation!



Session 4: Getting Started with Podcasting Presented by Alisa Cooper (South Mountain Community College)

This workshop will be hands on with faculty leaving with a short published podcast. Participants will record a short audio clip using audacity, which will then be exported to mp3, uploaded to a server, and turned into a podcast by creating a post on a group blog. We will also learn how to subscribe to that podcast. Participants can later duplicate the process using their own resources.


Project Steps


  • Take a Position on: Paper or Plastic
  • Record your position using the script and Audacity
  • Export WAV file as Mp3
  • Upload mp3 file to presentation wiki (right here)
  • Create a post for the presentation blog using email/send email
  • Subscribe to the group podcast using iTunes & other podcatchers


Take a Position

Q&A: Retail Carry Bags - Paper or Plastic?

BagBird.jpgQ. Which is greener: paper bags or plastic sacks? I work at a grocery store, and was just wondering.

Thanks, Elias.


A. Hey Elias, good question, with an easy answer. Neither. Both are bad. However, strange as it might seem, plastic wins the number crunching to beat paper, two to one, in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). But ask that tall guy pictured to the left, if plastic is good. We think he might say ‘No.’ Over 100,000 birds and marine life die each year, due to an encounter with plastic debris, much of it plastic bags. In Australia, alone, 80 million plastic bags litter beaches and public spaces. That’s out of nearly 7 billion check-out bags used annually. And because plastic lasts about, oh, say 500 years, when the bird it killed decomposes, the bag is freed to injure another. But don’t go thinking that paper is much better. Oh no.

It’s been estimated that the US was responsible for the felling of 14 million trees to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used back in 1999. Not a figure that is likely to got any less in the meantime. So no, neither bag is greener. But there is another, that is. And it doesn’t require some nerd in a white lab coat to calculate what it might be. Indeed whole towns in Australia figured it out and declared themselves plastic bag free zones. All retailers are refusing to offer single use plastic bags. Their secret to success - it’s the reusable bag. One you use more than once. Simple, really.


Helpful Reading


  1. Reusable Bags - Paper Bags Are Better Than Plastic, Right?

  2. Paper vs. Plastic - The Shopping Bag Debate

  3. Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment


The Evils of Both
Plastic Paper
Plastic is a petroleum product - it comes from oil Paper comes from trees - and lots of them
Oil industry cause of worldwide financial and political turmoil Creates a tremendous scar in the forests natural habitat(s), for both plant and animal 
Plastic is a by-product of oil refining and accounts for 4% of the worlds total oil production Machinery requires fossil fuel and roads
  Pulp is washed and bleached, both stages requiring thousands of gallons of clean water.
Like paper, plastic bags can end up in two places: the landfill or the recycling center Paper, when thrown away, can either be recycled or end up in the landfill.


Write out your script on paper before you begin to record. It's easier to record that way and you will have less mistakes to edit out. You can record what you want, but here is a script to follow if you need motivation: "Hi, This is (first name), and when I go to the grocery store, I usually get (paper/plastic) bags to carry my groceries home in. I use (paper/plastic) because (list one or two good reasons). (Explain your decision)"


Record Podcast

Creating Audio for Podcasts: Open Audacity on your computer. Plug your headset into the correct inputs. Click the red record button at the top and record your written position statement you created above. If you mess up, either stop and begin again, or you can edit later. With short recordings, it's usually easier to just begin again. For more help on installing, setting up and using Audacity:

View the screencast of this presentation at



Export file

The screencast above also covers this step. Once you've perfected your podcast (audio file), you will need to export it as an mp3 file. Audacity saves the audio file as a WAV file by default, which is uncompressed audio and a very large file. Exporting to mp3 will compress the file and make it smaller. Click the file button, scroll down to Export as MP3. A dialogue box will pop up asking for you to fill in the ID3 tag information for your new recording. Most of the entries are for music, but you can either input what is appropriate or just skip it. Name your file with something appropriate, like your name. Keep it short. And save the file somewhere where you can find it. I recommend the desktop.


Upload File

Creating a Podcast: In order for your newly created mp3 file to become a podcast, you will need to upload the mp3 to a server so it can be accessed via the internet. This can be difficult if you don't have access to server space. Most colleges will allow faculty a small amount of space, but as soon as your college gets iTunesU up and running, this step will be easy. For now, we are going to use this wiki's server space. I have 5 gigs of space! A wiki is not generally a good option because most don't provide enough server space to house many large files. I'm lucky enough to have enough for this temporary project.


Be sure to log-in to the wiki (click here Link Disabled). Once you are logged in, click on the files tab at the top of any page. Upload your file. When the file has been uploaded, on the same upload page, scroll down and find your file in the list. Right click on the file and choose: Copy Link Location.  What you've copied should look something like this:  http://drcoop.pbwiki.com/f/testaudio.mp3   Be sure there is an .mp3 on the end. You can also just copy the following URL: http://drcoop.pbwiki.com/f/_____.mp3  Be sure to put your file name in the blank space.


Post to Blog

Now the second step to creating a podcast is to post your URL for your mp3 file in a blog. We use blogs because they create automatic RSS feeds, and that is what we need to make the audio file a podcast - subscription abilities. I do need to point out here that you will need to burn your "regular" blog feed with Feedburner to get the feed to pick up the audio files. It's really a simple process, but we won't cover that today. Click the link to read more about burning your feed.


I set up a Blogger blog to use for this presentation. The blog is called Sporty40. Click the link to visit the blog. Blogger allows for users to post to their blog via email, so that is what we are going to do. Log in to your email program and send an email to: professorcooper1.podcast@blogger.com  In the Subject box type in the title of your podcast. In the message area, type a brief explanation of your podcast and include a link to your mp3 file (http://drcoop.pbwiki.com/f/testaudio.mp3). That's it. The RSS feed will recognized the media file and let all feed readers know that there is audio on this blog that one can subscribe to using a podcatcher.


Subscribe to Podcast

So now that we have a podcast that we've all contributed to, how do we subscribe to it so we can listen to the podcasts? On the Blogger blog that we set up for this presentation, there is a subscription button on the upper right corner of the blog. In a Firefox brower, just click the link. I don't use IE, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work the same way when you click the link. In FF the subscription page pops up and you will be able to choose the podcatcher of your choice to subscribe to our podcast. iTunes seems to be the most popular podcatcher at the moment, but Juice is good too. Just click on your choice and the program does the rest. In no time at all your podcasts will be downloaded to your computer and are ready to listen to.



If you plan to duplicate this process, keep in mind several assumptions. Because this presentation is only 50 minutes, we will assume you have already:

For more help on creating your own podcast, be sure to visit my other pages:


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