UC San Diego

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that while we do our best to capture and distribute podcasts, occasionally podcasts may not be recorded due to operator error, hardware failure, or circumstances beyond our control. Podcasts should never be treated as a replacement for attending lecture.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a series of recordings that you can download to a computer, smartphone, or any media player for later use. You can even automatically download new lectures as they are posted by subscribing within a podcast player app.

At UC San Diego, "podcasts" typically refer to recordings of classrooms using integrated cameras, microphones, and screen capture software.

If you're teaching in a classroom managed by the Registrar, it's likely you can fill out our form to request to have your lectures automatically recorded and uploaded to the Podcast website where students can watch or subscribe to the recordings, to your Kaltura account ("My Media" in Canvas), and to the class's Media Gallery in Canvas.

Is this free?

Yes. There are no charges to faculty or students for podcasts.

Whom do I contact if I have podcast issues?

For classroom assistance, contact Classroom Support at (858) 534-5784 or classroom-support@ucsd.edu.

For signup and scheduling questions, contact ITS at (858) 822-3315 or podcast@ucsd.edu.

What if I only want to podcast specific days?

If there are specific class dates that you don't want recorded, please email podcast@ucsd.edu and they will stop the recording on that day. You can also leave the wireless microphone off and no audio will be recorded.

How do I sign up?

If your course is scheduled in a podcast-ready lecture hall or classroom, you can sign up for the Podcast service by signing the Podcasting Agreement.

Is a smartphone required for playback?

No. Although the name 'Podcast' originally referred to the iPod, a mobile media device similar to smartphones, using an app to automatically download lectures to a computer, phone, or media devices is optional. It's more likely that you and your students will stream the recordings in the Canvas Media Gallery or on the podcasting website, which work in any desktop or mobile browser.

How do students find podcasts?

In part, this depends on the selections you make in your podcasting agreement. Students can always view or subscribe to podcasts at podcast.ucsd.edu, but if you've elected to have your podcasts automatically publish to your Canvas course, they can find the videos in your Media Gallery. (Note that you can always publish videos to the Media Gallery yourself should you so choose.)

How soon is a podcast available to be watched?

This can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the length of the class, the recording type, and server load. Screencasts in low-usage rooms may be available within 30-60 minutes, most dualcasts within 2 hours, while long videocasts in rooms that have already recorded multiple successive videocasts may not be available until the end of the day.

When will my podcast be available in my course’s Media Gallery?

A completed recording passes through several steps before it is published to the course media gallery. The recording is processed locally to produce a file suitable for uploading to Kaltura, which then re-processes the file. Once Kaltura reports the file is 'Ready', it will be published to the course media gallery in Kaltura, which makes it available for viewing in Kaltura/Canvas.

The amount of time required depends on the length of the recording and what content was recorded. A 50-minute screencast will typically be available in 20 minutes; an 80 minute DualCast is typically avaiable within 65 minutes. Factors beyond our control can delay processing.

Who can access my podcast?

This is determined by your selections in your podcast agreement. Generally speaking, though, podcasts may be viewed on the podcast website or in Canvas (using Kaltura).

On the podcasting agreement, you can elect to:

  • Restrict viewing to students in the class
  • Allow anyone who visits the podcasting website to see it who has UC San Diego active directory credentials

By special request, you can keep the video private (available only to you). Submit the podcast agreement and email us at podcast@ucsd.edu.

Recordings will be auto-published to your Canvas course's Media Gallery, which makes them visible to all members of the course.

  • You can choose not to publish them, in which case they will remain private to you in your Kaltura media repository ("My Media"). Please email us at podcast@ucsd.edu to make this adjustment.

How long does my podcast remain available?

The files will be available until the end of the quarter. You may elect to leave them online indefinitely on the Podcast Agreement.

Selections made when signing the Podcast Agreement can control when or if your podcast are taken off of the podcast.ucsd.edu website. Additionally, since your recordings may also be visible via the Media Gallery in your Canvas course, students may be able to access your recordings via Canvas even after the term ends (unless you hide the Media Gallery, or unpublish your videos). Podcast recordings remain accessible and available to the owner of the recordings (the instructor) for as long as they have access to their UCSD account.

Can I request to have a podcast removed from the podcasting site?

A recording will be hidden from students automatically on the podcasting site when you unpublish it from your course media gallery. If you need it removed entirely, or want it to remain available in Canvas, please send your request to podcast@ucsd.edu.

Why don't I hear the audio of a clip I played in class?

In some classrooms, if you play a movie or audio clips through the Media Station during class, the audio will not be captured. Your podcast will be silent when a video or audio clip is being played.

Why is my screen not recording?

Most computers now support encrypted video, called HDCP, which prevents that video from being recorded. While many computers will only encrypt their outgoing video while you are showing copy-protected content (e.g. from iTunes, Netflix, or a DVD/Blu-Ray), many popular laptops and tablets will automatically encrypt video any time they connect to our systems.

Since our projectors know how to display copy-protected video and can legally do so, you shouldn't notice any difference while you're lecturing. However, our podcasting screen recorders must respect the DMCA and aren't able to record copy-protected video. This may result in the screencast recording a black screen during your lecture.

If you are projecting from a Mac, iPhone / iPad, or Microsoft Surface and would like to screencast, use a VGA adapter to project your lectures. This tells your computer that encrypted video is not supported. It will prevent you from playing copy-protected content, but it will allow normal content such as your lecture slides to be recorded.

What is required to create a podcast?

Ensure your class is scheduled in a podcast-ready lecture hall and sign the Podcasting Agreement.

What rooms are podcast-ready?

View the Classroom Details for Podcast-Ready Rooms to see which rooms are podcast-ready, as well as to learn about other room attributes such as environment (windows, darkenability, ventilation) and available equipment.

Additionally, the full list of podcast-ready classrooms and lecture halls can alert you to which rooms will incur a delay before podcasting can begin, as some podcast-ready rooms need some equipment installed before they can be used.

What microphone should I use?

Use the wireless microphone that is located inside the Media Station in order to be recorded. This is often the same microphone that will project your voice on the classroom speakers. Note that the wired microphone connected to the wall is NOT connected to the podcast recording equipment.

Many smaller classrooms have a permanently-wired ceiling microphone that is always recording. The audio quality from these microphones is significantly worse than lapel microphones, and cannot be disabled during conversations with students, but has the advantage that batteries never need to be changed.

The Classroom Details Search Tool can help you determine which rooms have ceiling microphones and which rooms have lapel microphones, if you wish to schedule your class according to your preference.

Where should I clip the microphone?

Clip the wireless microphone to your shirt about 8 inches from your mouth. Try to clip it right in the center, and not to the side.

How do I start recording?

You don't need to do anything special. Just wear and turn on the microphone and transmitter as usual. Recording will start at the lecture's scheduled start time and stop at the scheduled end time.

How do I get the start time right?

Your podcast starts at the beginning of your scheduled lecture time regardless of when you turn the microphone on. The podcast start time will most closely match with your cell phone's time, not the clocks in the lecture halls (which are sometimes a few minutes off). The recording will stop at the end of your scheduled lecture time regardless of when you turn the yellow wireless microphone off.

I go over the end of lecture - how can I record longer?

The Podcast Agreement allows you to schedule your recordings to last up to 5 minutes beyond the scheduled end of class. For a class where you have already submitted the agreement, contact podcast@ucsd.edu and we can schedule future recordings to continue a few minutes longer.

What do the lights on the microphone indicate?

The light on the wireless microphone will be green when the battery is good and red when the battery is low. When the light is red, please feel free to change the battery. There are new batteries available inside the Media Station and battery recycling on top of the Media Station.

What if my voice is not loud enough over the room speakers?

Please do not adjust the volume control on the wireless microphone. The volume level for the podcast is preset. If you feel your voice over the room speakers is not loud enough, please call the Media Services' Help Desk at (858) 534‑5784 and we will send a technician.

How do I know if the mic is working in a small classroom?

Many small classrooms do not have a voice amplification system. In those rooms, you should find an audio level meter, either on the microphone, media cabinet, or AV control panel, that will show how loud your voice is.

Digital Level Meter

  1. Meter at rest; microphone turned off. The normal range (-20 to –3 db) is green. Zero is yellow. Peak and overload range is red.
  2. Normal level (in the green)
  3. Brief peaks (occasional yellow or red; level not hot enough to cause distortion)
  4. Overload (audible distortion likely)

Microphones typically have a narrow band that shows how loud your voice is. As you talk, it should stay within the middle half of the band.