Adding audio clips, known as podcast episodes, to your course is a great way of providing your online students with on-demand lecture content. They are relatively easy to produce and can benefit both the student and instructor. For example, Podcasts are great for promoting self-paced learning.
In this month’s “How To” I will walk you through the process of recording an MP3 audio clip. Watch for next month’s issue, where I will share with you some best practice tips for adding and managing these audio files in your course content.
Step 1: Download Audacity® and the MP3 Encoder Plugin
To record audio from your computer, you will need a recording program. I recommend downloading the free audio recording and editing program called Audacity® to your PC or MAC computer. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ to download and install the this software for your type of computer. It is available in several versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix computer operating systems.
To make your audio recordings accessible on any computer, you will need to download and install LAME MP3 Encoder plug-in for Audacity®. MP3 audio files are the best format for accessibility across computers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Step 2: Connect a Microphone to Your Computer
Once the program is installed, connect a microphone to the computer. It is recommended that you use a high-quality microphone, such as an easy-to-use Snowball microphone available to faculty for check-out through the Faculty Resource Center.
Step 3: Make a Recording
- OPEN your Audacity® program and position your connected microphone within speaking distance.
- CHECK the MICROPHONE MENU to make sure the program will use the microphone you connected.
- In the program, notice that there is a panel of playback buttons located under the program’s menu bar. CLICK the red RECORD button to begin recording your podcast episode.
- While Audacity® is recording, a new audio track will appear. The blue graphics that appear are a visual representation of your recording as it happens, also known as waveforms. They are a good indication that your microphone is working and recording your audio. The moving red arrow and line is the playhead; it signifies the progression of your recording on the audio track’s timeline.
- When you are done recording, click the yellow STOP button located in the playback controls. To review your recording, either click the green PLAY button or press your keyboard’s space-bar.
- To save and export your recording as an MP3, locate FILE in the program’s menu bar and click on it. From the pop-up menu, select EXPORT.
- In the Export File window that appears, choose a location to save your file. Then, give your file a logical name and select MP3 FILES from the SAVE AS TYPE menu. Click the SAVE button.
- An EDIT METADATA FORM will appear. If you would like to label your audio recording with this additional
information, complete the form. However, you must CLICK OK to generate your file.
- The file will be generated and saved to the specified location.