OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

OU Podcasts Site Goes Live

Another day, another OU web play… Realising that the OU on iTunesU presence has its downside (specifically – having to use iTunes), you can now get hold of OU “enhanced podcasts” from the OU Podcasts (beta) site.

The architecture of the site borrows heavily from the OU Youtube presence, offering Learn, Research and Life options (even if they aren’t populated yet).

I’m not sure whether there is duplication (or even triplication) of content across the Podcast, iTunesU and Youtube sites, but then again – would it matter if it was? And I’m not sure if there is a pipeline that allows content to be “deposited” once behind the firewall, then published on the podcast, Youtube and/or iTunesU sites in one go, as required (can anyone from any of the respective project teams comment on how the publishing process works, and whether there is any particular content strategy in place, or is content being grabbed and posted on the sites howsoever it can?!;-)

The pages for actual “programme” elements contains an embedded (though not shareable or embeddable?) player, along with subscription feeds for the topic area the “programme” is assigned to.

The programme page has a rather redundant “Permalink for this page” (err – it’s in the browser address bar?), and there doesn’t appear to be a link to the actual audio file, which might be useful going forward, but there is a range of topic/channel podcast subscription feeds.

I don’t think the podcast page resyndicates audio content from the open2.site, podcast feeds from OU/BBC Radio programmes or archived (real player, bleurghhh:-( content co-produced by the OU that is still available on the BBC website. (For examples, see the far from complete RadiOBU player.)

Design wise, I wonder how well this sort of page design would cope as a container for OU/BBC TV content? Maybe I should try to steal elements of the CSS stylesheet to tart up the OU/BBC 7 day catch-up service?! (Or maybe one of the podcast team fancy a quick doodle on the side?;-)

The URL design looks neat enough, too, taking the form: http://podcast.open.ac.uk/oulearn/arts-and-humanities/history-of-art/ (that is, http://podcast.open.ac.uk/oulearn/TOPIC/PROGRAMME/).

The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that there is an option (for OU Staff?) to Login, which leads to the option to “Join [the] hosting service”:

So while it doesn’t look like there is much benefit to logging in at the moment, it seems as though there is a possibility that the site will be offering hosting for individually produced podcasts (using Amazon S3, I believe…) in the near future?

I’m not sure where individually produced podcasts would live on the podcasts site, though? In the appropriate topic area?

Once again, great job folks… :-) [Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the OU podcasts site.]

PS a couple more minor quibbles, just because…;-) The favicon is a KMI favicon. This doesn’t really fit, IMHO. The release of the Podcasts site has not been reflected (yet) with a mention on the /use site, which looks increasingly “stale” (there’s no mention of Platform there, either…).

Although there doesn’t appear to be an opportunity for Faculties or Departments to have a presence, as such, on the site (unless they provide content for topic areas?), I wonder whether the podcast site back end could actually be used as a content delivery service for Departmental content (e..g. the content on the Department of Communication and Systems website).

PS see also: Getting Open University Podcasts on your TV with MythStream

Written by Tony Hirst

December 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

Posted in OBU, OU2.0

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I think I can answer some of your comments.

    > I’m not sure whether there is duplication (or even triplication) of content across the Podcast, iTunesU and Youtube sites…

    Yes, there is some duplication.

    > And I’m not sure if there is a pipeline that allows content to be “deposited” once behind the firewall, then published on the podcast, Youtube and/or iTunesU sites in one go…

    This system manages the metadata, creates the XML files, and looks after the media (which is uploaded to Amazon’s S3 service once the podcast and/or tracks are complete and approved). The management of both the iTunes U and YouTube websites is done via their own systems. Whislt the is an API for the former, we haven’t looked at it yet.

    > The programme page has a rather redundant “Permalink for this page” (err – it’s in the browser address bar?)…

    If you browse around, you’ll notice that there are some podcasts that are in more than one node of the subject tree – the permalink provides a more direct link to the podcast, regardless of which nodes its in.

    > …and there doesn’t appear to be a link to the actual audio file…

    Click on a track and you’ll see the link at the bottom of the podcast information below the player

    > I don’t think the podcast page resyndicates audio content from the open2.site

    Not automatically, no, but some content that’s currently on open2 may well migrate to the new site.

    > So while it doesn’t look like there is much benefit to logging in at the moment, it seems as though there is a possibility that the site will be offering hosting for individually produced podcasts (using Amazon S3, I believe…) in the near future?

    Yes. Podcasts can also be limited to SAMS login-only access.

    Incidentally, all the media is hosted on Amazon S3 – the OU doesn’t have anywhere near enough bandwidth to support this venture.

    hockeyshooter

    December 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm

  2. @hockeyshooter great work! What about the KMi favicon though? Huh?

    Tony.. /use/ will no doubt be updated by comrade Brown at somepoint. Is it stale cos it’s out of date or stale looking?

    Guy Carberry

    December 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm


Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 811 other followers

%d bloggers like this: