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.

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, classroom-support@ucsd.edu

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

What if I only want to podcast specific days?

If there are specific class dates that you don't want podcast, 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 podcast-ready lecture hall or classroom, you can sign up for the Podcast service by signing the Podcasting Agreement.

What is that squiggly line under the podcast?

The line graph next to the timeline at the bottom of the player is the Engagement Chart, which shows how much students are watching different sections of the podcast. High areas may indicate more difficult sections that many viewers re-watched. Low areas may indicate lecture breaks or in-class activities of less interest to students reviewing the podcast.

Is a smartphone required for playback?

No. Most students will view podcasts using their web browser. Students can use any media player that supports podcasts, such as iTunes, to automatically download lectures to their computer, phone, or media devices.

How do students find podcasts?

Students can view or subscribe to podcasts at Podcast.ucsd.edu

How soon is the podcast available?

This can vary widely, depending on recording duration and type as well as external factors. Screencasts in low-usage rooms may be available within 30 minutes, while long videocasts in rooms that have already recorded multiple successive videocasts may not be available until the end of the day.

In some rooms, a fast screencast version may be availble within 5-10 minutes of the lecture ending.

Who can access my podcast?

When you request podcasting, you may elect to limit access to students enrolled in the class. Podcasts not restricted thusly may be viewed by anyone who visits the Podcasting website.

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.

Can I request to have a podcast removed?

Yes. Please send your request to podcast@ucsd.edu.

Why don't I hear the movie audio?

In many classrooms, if you play a movie or audio clips through the Media Station during class, audio will not be recorded. Your podcast will have silent spaces where movie 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 will not notice any difference while you are lecturing. However, our podcasting screen recorders respect DMCA law and are not able to record copy-protected video. This may result in the screencast recording a black screen during your lecture, or an outright failure of the screen recording system.

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. To sign up for the Podcast service, please 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. The wired microphone connected to the wall is not connected to the recording device.

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 collar 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 do anything special. Just put on your 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 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 a podcasting 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 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.