CUNYCast is an online experimental podcast in the Digital Humanities. Project organizers will record content, make it available online, document the process, and create a “how to” manual for future podcasters, eventually encouraging others to contribute to a network of podcasts. CUNYCast is free, open sourced, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and shared. It is more than a single project; it is an initiative that offers students and faculty the tools and knowledge they need to share their work through audio. It can be used in classes, workshops, clubs, or as a stand-alone project to enrich not only the community at the Graduate Center but also the community across all CUNY schools. A link from the CUNYCast group page on the Academic Commons will lead people to an external site where content will be hosted. Links will also connect participants to resources that encourage information sharing, and cooperative production through CUNYCast. The CUNYCast site will be hosted via WordPress, which supports audio, video, and a number of other easy to use plugins. It will also implement source code from ds106 radio, and be powered using Icecas; a streaming media server. CUNYCast can enrich the long commute to the city, whether it is by train or car, or can be enjoyed from the comfort of home, when one is sick and unable to get to class. It is a low cost project capable of producing content and knowledge for individual classes in the future while encouraging community connection. CUNYCast’s aim is to empower a DH community on demand; one that anyone can participate in.
Digital Humanities student:
In the new world of multimedia scholarship students are looking for new modes of production. They may ask themselves, “How can I reach a larger audience with my academic work and discoveries?” Publishing in academic journals is an integral part of academia but in an increasingly open source world how do graduate students reach out to wider communities to create digital content? A digital humanities student can tap into the CUNYCast web presence to learn how to make a high quality audio/digital repository. The student will learn different ways they can host their work, including requesting a block on the CUNYCast site. The student can also browse other CUNYCast programs (or more directly, ds106 programs) to see the open and conversational ways Digital Humanities scholarship shows a process-documented approach to scholarship. The WordPress production and code will be shared and easily accessible for student learning.
CUNY Faculty member:
The CUNY faculty member is interested in opening up digital publication opportunities for their students. Instead of a traditional end-of-class paper, the professor may want students to produce something that will exist online so that students can share their scholarship in a wider community and create their online academic persona. This faculty member would use CUNYCast to show students how to produce and post their podcast final project. The CUNYCast would also include documentation about the pedagogical practices being formed around digital media production in the classroom.
Outside Non-Affiliate interested in Podcasting:
Academic publishing and information has historically been a closed system where information seeking community members and independent scholars have to jump through hoops to get access to the most current and revolutionary scholarly work. This non-affiliate could look toward CUNYCast, and learn how to create his or her own online digital podcast publication. Here, they would be able to see how investigative and scholarly podcasting practices have their techniques outlined.
- We are building an open online course in Digital Humanities. Documentation and technical explanations will be available to GC users via the Academic Commons.
- Web hosting
- Icecas Account
- WordPress A/V Plugins, including Soundcloud
- ds106 Radio
- Recording Equipment
- Audacity (open source audio editing software)
A few questions I’d like to see clarified tomorrow.
– Is CUNYCast an audio streaming service (web radio), a podcasting service (hosted audio serve via rss), or a streaming service with an archiving functionality? Each of those solutions will have implications for your software stack and the hardware necessary to run it. FWIW, DS106 radio is the last of these three.
– You will need to work towards a unified voice when talking about this project. The fact of the matter is, what you propose cannot be done for free (as in beer)… there are costs associated with web hosting and streaming and storing audio. It can be done, as DS106 has shown, with free (as in freedom) software, but there will be cost built into the process that you should anticipate and account for. It will not be significant, but it will be variable depending on what kinds of access you want, uptake you imagine, etc. All of this is to say: be careful and purposeful when you use the word “free.”
– The technical specs you lay out in your post:
… are insufficient. There’s no such thing as “Icecas,” (you mean Icecast), “ds106 Radio” is not a spec but a model, “Recording Equipment” is so non-specific as to useless, and it’s not clear how Audacity will be integrated. These are not meant to be persnickety comments, but rather to emphasize to you that at every step of the way you need need to notice, flag, and push past imprecision. If you’re going to present specs, you’ll need to be able to articulate what purpose they serve in your overall process.
– If you are indeed embracing ds106 radio as your model (as I think you should), then you should do some broader reading on what ds106 is and how and why a web radio station emerged out of it. This will, and should, inform the rhetoric you build around CUNYCast. And it’s an understanding you’ll need to develop before you connect with the people who put the environment together to ask for advice.
You might benefit from an exercise where you sketched out the software stack used in ds106 radio, drawing from the Google Doc you’ve seen. In what ways and with what tools is audio captured, transcoded, transmitted? How is it archived? What are the limitations of this set up? Should there be limitations that there are not?
I continue to think this is an exciting, worthwhile project, that it has a scope that’s manageable in the time we have, that you’ll learn a lot doing it, and that it can be of service to the CUNY and local DH community.
Remind me tomorrow to share some additional thoughts about the calendar component.
Looking forward to seeing and thinking with you all tomorrow.