Getting through this first week has been a technology challenge for us all. Navigating Zoom,Canvas and all sorts of teaching and learning challenges. As we begin moving further into the weeks ahead and you begin to feel comfortable working remotely, you might consider some ways students can deliver content in creative ways.
Let’s consider podcasting for instance. Podcasting itself is not a very difficult technique to master but how can one do it remotely? Podcasting is all about interviewing, recording good quality audio, and some simple editing. At Wake Forest University, Academic Technology has two locations where students can produce podcasts; the One Button Studio and the Podcasting Room at the WakerSpace but how can we take the studio and make it remote? First, A few important tips before beginning your podcast.
- Think about your approach, your story, and your hook. Write it down. What are they? Sometimes beginning the brainstorming process by writing things down is helpful to sort through potential ideas. Also, share these ideas with friends, peers, or colleagues. Brainstorming with others is great because you might be stuck on one idea when someone else comes up with a completely different perspective.
- What are your objectives? What do you want your audience to learn as a result of listening to your story? Write them down so you can see them and keep them visible. As you move through the process, check back in with this document to make sure you are hitting all of your objectives. It’s ok if they change, just know why.
- Who are your interviewees and how will they contribute to your story?
- How will the incorporation of music and/or sound effects aid in the argumentation of my podcast? Much like descriptive text, sound effects create an environment that otherwise would not have existed. They might be helpful if you are trying to pull your audience into a specific place or time but that doesn’t mean you have to use them. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes we just need to focus on Voice. Sound effects and music can be a distraction or filler if the story just isn’t flushed out enough. Refer to tip 1 again. Make sure your story is well thought out before moving forward.
- What do you want your audience to think, hear, feel, experience.
Now, here are some best practices for creating your very own podcasting environment.
- A quiet space to interview. Secure a small area of your house or apartment where you can conduct an interview privately. Inside is ideal. Closing a door is helpful and let others in your household know you are recording to minimize the noise factor. Shut off notifications on your computer or close sites that will make noise or ding. If you are recording via Zoom, for example, make sure your phone is on silent so you are not interrupted.
- Develop a rapport. Start off your conversation with a brief chat. Let the interviewee get comfortable with you. The more comfortable the person is, the more likely they are to open up.
- Hit record right away. Begin recording right away, even if the official interview doesn’t begin until 15 minutes later. You might find that you actually include some of the conversation that began earlier.
- Interview questions. Think of your interview questions as a story. Beginning, Middle, Conclusion. Start off with something easy like “What is your name and title?”, or “Tell me a little something about yourself.” Slowly progress into your questions having them build upon each other and ending on a high note like “As a result of going through that process, what is some advice you would give others going through something similar?” Don’t just end the interview without a wrap up question. If you are just using your interviewee’s voice and extracting your own, make sure to ask your interviewee to repeat the question in the answer so the listener’s have a frame of reference for the question being asked.
- Being an active listener. Developing and asking the interview questions is one thing but being an active listener is also another part of being a good interviewer. Listening deeply is something we all need to practice so listen deeply to your interviewee’s answers. You may find additional questions in those answers and they just might make your interview that much more interesting.
- Resources. Listed are a few audio resources if you are considering adding music and/or sound effects to your podcast. Find resources that are copyright free. You don’t want to take someone else’s property without getting permission first. As tempting as it might be to copy/paste that hip new song, find something where the artist is giving you permission to use. Jamendo is a great resource that follows the Creative Commons guidelines. I also like to find music that doesn’t contain lyrics. If you paste a song under a recorded narration or interview, the listener will be forced to choose between listening to you and listening to the lyrics and you want them to listen to your message. For sound effects, I like to go with Freesound. You do have to create an account if you want to download content but no purchasing is required. Finally, with any form of research, I encourage you to find other copyright free sources. The internet is full of them.
- Edit. There are a variety of ways to tell a story. Figuring out the best approach is often done through trial and error. Experiment with ways to tell your story in the most creative way. I would recommend editing in either Audacity or Adobe Rush available through software.wfu.edu. View my Adobe Rush tutorial.
Equipment Recipe: A Smartphone, Computer, and Audacity
- Yes, your Smartphone is good enough. Sometimes the audio it produces is even better than some expensive mics I have used. Again, make sure you are in a quiet location. Set your audio to Speaker and place it next to your computer.
- Whether you have a PC or Mac, Audacity is the way to go. It’s free and downloadable from the internet. You will want to record in Audacity. View my Audacity tutorial.
- I recommend using Audacity or Adobe Rush to edit your podcast. Both programs are free to you.
Contact Brianna Derr firstname.lastname@example.org, Information Systems/Academic Technology for more information.
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