Research Instruction & Information Technology Group


Learn about creating and utilizing podcasts with the RIIT Group.

Podcasts are simply audio and video content that you can subscribe to. Subscribing ensures you are notified when new content is available. Podcasts are easy to create and are an effective means of distributing rich educational materials. Podcast training is available in the RIIT Group Multimedia Studios.

Software, like iTunes, is used to automatically identify and download new files in the series when they are released, by accessing a centrally-maintained web feed (RSS Feed) that lists all files currently associated with that particular series. New files can thus be downloaded automatically by the software and stored locally on the user's computer or other device for offline use, making it simpler for a user to access episodic content. You do not need an iPod to create podcasts or to view podcasts.

For more information on podcasting visit the Penn State podcasting page.

Visit Penn State’s home on iTunesU.

How to create a new podcast in iTunesU

Types of Podcasting

Audio Podcasts

Audio podcasts are (yes) audio only. They are generally mp3 format and our the most common type of podcast. Audio podcasts are the most compatible with all computers and portable media devices. Positive aspects of audio podcasts include their relatively small file size, usually less than 10MB depending on length, and that they are relatively easy to create. A negative aspect of this type of podcast is that the content or message is limited to audio only. However depending on the content, the audience, and the purpose that may be all that is necessary.

Enhanced Podcasts

Enhanced podcasts are a somewhat unique type of podcast that combine audio podcast with synced images, similar to a narrated slideshow. They often contain multiple still images that change like a slideshow, and you can also add live URL links to Websites as well as chapter markers to skip around the podcast.  Technically, enhanced podcasts are audio files in .m4a format, with a layer for embedding the synced images. The enhanced podcast format is playable on any Mac or Windows computer that has iTunes installed. A benefit of enhanced podcasts is that they present both visual and audio content, but the file size is nearly the same as a typical audio-only podcast, and exponentially smaller than a video podcast.

Video Podcast

A video podcast is a term used to distinguish between podcasts which most commonly contain audio files and those referring to the distribution of video.  However, the term Podcast has from its inception described the distribution of digital media files, including video and audio via RSS enclosures and hence the terms video podcast, vodcast or less commonly vidcast.

Unlike an audio podcast, creating a video podcast is like any other video production project and requires more production and planning time to produce. In regard to file size, downloading a video podcast requires a high bandwidth connection because they are large files (typically upwards of 100 MB each depending on the length).  The preferred format for video podcasts is typically .m4v or mp4 they can be created and consumed by both Mac and Windows users.