Until recently I had no idea what a podcast was. Well, I had an idea, but had never participated in one. That changed, however, when I began my online Transitions class five weeks ago as it was done via podcast.
A podcast can be downloaded directly from the Internet or from streamed webcasting. Podcasts are usually a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released in episodes. Think Car Talk. If you were going to fly from Florida to California, you could download all the episodes of Car Talk and listen to Click and Clack the whole way. I’m not going to go into all the technical jargon about as to how a podcast works because you’d immediately know I don’t have a clue.
My online class is a live podcast. We all sign on at a certain time and up pops the teacher’s face and we can hear her voice. She, however, cannot hear us. An online notepad is set up so we can ask questions, write notes each other, whatever during the class and she answers real-time. When this is over the whole thing (notes and all) are put on a server so it can be downloaded later. Then, of course, it would no longer be a live podcast.
A live podcast is not to confused with a skype conversation which I think is about the coolest thing since indoor plumbing. Skype is best for a one-on-one conversation or at most three or four on each end. Each person sits in front of a computer with a web camera. Some computers these days have them built in. If not cameras are cheap and can be found at an electronics or office supply store. You sign on and place a video call to the other person. When they answer, you see them and they see you. There is a small box so you can see what they are seeing. Our not yet five-year-old godson skypes us by himself. It’s not difficult.
Anyway, back to the podcast. A podcast doesn’t have to have video and if it does it is only going to be one way. Only if it is live will you be able to participate and that will be by writing questions or notes during the session.
A cool daily podcast (M-F) is Story Wonk hosted by Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens. Alastair has a delightful Scottish accent and you can almost hear Lani blush during the banter back and forth. When I first started listening I wasn’t sure whether or not they were “a couple” but I knew if they weren’t they were missing an opportunity. They’re not missing any opportunities. Go there sometime and check it out. You can get the Story Wonk podcast via iTunes as well.
Podcast.com boasts the largest collection of podcasts on the web with 85,000. They have an index to make your search a tad bit easier.
If you’ve combed the 85k podcasts at Podcast.com and still not found the one of your dreams, you’ve got a final option. You can make and post your own. Remember though once on the Internet it is out there (somewhere) forever. And if you make your own podcast, please, please, please come back to my blog and leave a comment letting us know.
Until then, leave a comment with a link to your favorite podcast.