My first attempt at podcasting: New technologies & fear

So as well as managing this site I am developing my love of digital technology and how they can be used in academic practice so I am currently engaged in an MA in Online and Distance Education with the Open University.

I am really enjoying this course (it will be degree number 5) and I am developing the theoretical knowledge that I feel I need to underpin my practical experience.

This week we have been asked to engage with new technologies, specifically podcasting. This terrified me.

I’ve listened to some amazing podcasts e.g. this one and this one (yes I know they are both recordings from UCLDH it is my spiritual home to be once I complete the funding application and we find some money). I’ve also heard some really bad ones (no I am not going to give examples of those!) but, until now, I’ve never tried one myself and why? FEAR.

So I was absolutely terrified and at the same time excited, but more terrified, that I would need to create one for my MA module. I thought, as I am sure many networked researchers are better at podcasting than me that I would share my attempt at podcasting for H808 with you as well as considering what fear means in relation to new technologies.

Software, what software?

So I use a MacBook and I was pretty sure when I bought it that it came with podcasting software. Thus, despite the guidance given to us as part of the H808 module I thought I would start with what I had on my mac first. However, while rummaging through the applications folder I couldn’t find it. A little search on the net showed that when I upgraded my MacBook to OSX Mountain Lion I had lost podcast publisher, as Apple no longer supported it! How useful. There are many videos and forums telling you how to get it back but that’s for another day when I have more time. So what to do now?

I installed Audacity as suggested in the H808 activity guide but I couldn’t get it to work so I went and explored other options, I ended up playing with soundcloud and garageband – my experiences are below:

Soundcloud – Ok this was easy I just set up a file pressed record and spoke into the microphone on my computer. I then uploaded the file, tagged it and added a description and there we go a sound file online that can be accessed here.

However as yet you can’t subscribe to a recording uploaded on soundcloud. They are currently developing full podcasting functionality but this is in beta test and limited to a small number of accounts. A description of the beta test can be found here. I think once they have released the podcasting functionality to all users soundcloud will become a very easy way to record and distribute podcasts.

Garageband – Garageband is a piece of apple software that comes with all Mac products as part of the ilife collection. There is a functionality to allow the recording of podcasts so for my second attempt I used this. I did a bit of online research to look at how to record a podcast using garageband is one example.

This was again very easy to use just press record and start talking – listening back to the podcast was weird as although I am sitting in my lounge with the TV on mute it sounds like I’m in a cathedral!  This may be because I was using my MacBooks internal microphone.

Uploading to the net:

Right this was easier, I followed the H808 instructions and created a podbean account and uploaded my sound file there. This was easier – once I realised I needed to export my garageband file to itunes first. The uploading on podbean was simple. As is the sharing as it is already set up on the site!

Bingo I was done! Not so scary after all, in fact I think I may be a podcast convert and may well try to do regular voice blogs now I have the technology.


I was more scared about the technology than I was about what I was going to say. I have lectured and given many presentations so speaking is not scary – hearing my own voice is bizarre but I think that is the same for everyone. As I was so scared of using podcasting technology I decided to talk about fear. Fear connects with e-learning in a number of ways – my specific concern is how fear of technology can inhibit innovation and put up huge barriers to e-learning take up.

So what are your thoughts on the subject of podcasting or audio publishing to give its non fruit based product name or on fear of new technologies and the potential barriers to e-learning?

About Sarah-Louise Quinnell

Dr Sarah-Louise Quinnell is a social scientist, specifically a human geographer with a diverse range of research interests from international environmental politics, development practice and management - specifically issues pertaining to capacity-development and geographies of cyberspace. Sarah is also interested in the digitisation of the academic research process. Sarah is a trainer for the King's College London Graduate School Researcher Development Unit where she delivers training on how to use social media in academic research and researcher development. Sarah gained her PhD from the Geography Department at King's College London in 2010.

One Response to My first attempt at podcasting: New technologies & fear

  1. I’ve always wished I had more time (in other words, support) to do podcasting for educational purposes. So far I’ve only done it to share DJ sets I record. The podcast I’ve had for more time is on Podomatic, which to date I much prefer to Soundcloud even if it does not allow the same nifty things as the latter. If you are curious, you can find my podcast at