Friday, November 05, 2004

About on-line textbooks and podcasting

One person sent me this via Email. "This is the first I've heard of this but it sounds awesome, innovative and definitely a huge relief to all of us being raped by the cost of our school books."

As presented previously it is may have been hard to see what the concept of digital-audio delivery of (the digital equivalent of) a text-on-tape has to do with podcasting. However, it is not hard to see how a podcast could be designed as a text alternative, especially for distance learners or for students who do not perform well in a standard lecture - read - test structure. There is another group of students to consider. In higher education how about learners who are also juggling jobs and families? Using audio podcasting along with clear performance based testing it would enable time challenged learner to use their time more productively. It is easier to carry an iPod (or similar device) to work than it would be to carry books and/or a tablet/laptop computer to work. Indeed with concerns over security many people are not allowed to carry computers to work or use work computers to access web-based learning sites. An iPod is small, it can be used while commuting to work or on lunch breaks, content can be delivered to learners in chunks and it extends the reach of their connected home computers. Each podcast could be viewed as the audio equivalent of a textbook chapter.


At 4:09 PM, Steve Sloan said...

This is a must read!

At 3:42 PM, theFerf said...

Im glad to see someone else is thinking about podcasting in education...this is the first thing I thought of when I started to understand what podcasts really were!

I think it is a great thought and look forward to where this may go.

Visit to find podcasts in all genres.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if it is possible to control student access to a series of podcasts based on their mastery of previous material?

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous said...

Maybe if a dynamic website is generated for each student containing their authorized podcast links and separate RSS feeds are set up for each student to their own sites? But that would be cumbersome to manage. The only benefit would be the automatic downloading without the student going to the site to manually download each file.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous said...

How can we secure the student RSS feeds so they are only available if they logged in successfully, and not to the whole world? Can the server generate a hash code based on login time, store it in a cookie, and append that as a query string to an URL that runs a server application that generates the RSS XML for the units the student is authorized for based on what they mastered?

At 7:17 AM, Carl Franklin said...

The whole idea of an RSS feed (or any URL) is global accessibility. What you need is some other more private protocol that includes an authorization mechanism.

So why not access the RSS file via FTP, which has authentication, instead of HTTP.

An FTP URL with authentication looks like this:



If you can't find a podcast client that takes a URL like this, you can always write a little app that downloads the rss feeds by FTP to a local website, then point your podcast client to the local webserver, which of course, is not public.

I hope this helps.


At 6:08 AM, Eric Rangell said...

Would it make sense to form a project to enhance Moodle to support podcasting, using the ideas above? Also, how can the ftp URL be secured so that the student password is not sent as plain text over the wire?


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