Quick Follow-up from Monday’s Class

Audio Postcard Assignment (Soundscape 1) – Due Date Postponed to February 12.

Need the assignment? Find the link to Season 3 in the right sidebar of the course site ->

In our remaining minutes in Monday’s class, I was unable to quickly locate where I had embedded the SAMPLE AUDIO POSTCARD I wanted to share as you began to lock in on your approach. I found it on the actual assignment page – doh!

To make it easy for us, here’s the sample:

What to Notice?

  • Notice the narration that occurs in the original recording, as well as narration recorded later and edited into the postcard.
  • Notice the soundmarks and the ways the narration helps us identify those sonic elements.
  • Listen for the editing. Imagine the tracks you’d have if it were your project.

I figured I should also share my own example of an Audio Postcard, so here it is – with a sample brief blog post AND my own self-score:

Brief Blog Post on the Project

In Fall 2022, my wife and I visited our daughter in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Not far from the AirBnB was one of the many pocket park green spaces in the city, a park dedicated to the many Armenians who immigrated to Argentina in the late 1800s and, especially, in the early 20th century, as they fled the Armenian genocide. My audio postcard is a report from La Plaza Inmigrantes de Armenia, Buenos Aires, Argentina. I used a voice recorder app on my Pixel 5 phone to record the soundscape, with school children, street noises, and other soundmarks from the park. Later, I pulled in the Creative Commons-licensed tango music, edited the sounds of the park, and added my narration. I’m pretty pleased with the project, but I also know that I had to stretch things out too far to get to the minimum length.

Here’s my own critique that focuses on the Specifications for the Project:

Overal Point Tally: 4500 POINTS (or 4000 Points?)

  • 2:17 long. Full credit.
  • Specifications on files, GarageBand file, clips: Full credit.
  • Soundscape audio capture. Full credit.
  • Intro length and elements: Spoken intro is 15 seconds, with long musical intro added. Maybe iffy, but I’ll throw myself full credit because spoken intro and all other elements fit 15 sec. (If we say no credit for a 27-second intro for a 2-minute audio postcard, fair enough. Point tally drops to 4000.)
  • Outro length and elements: No attention to maximum of 15 seconds. Other elements meet specifications. NO CREDIT.
  • Editing. It’s mostly solid. Full credit.

This project illustrates some of the tensions one might encounter in an audio project that anchored by not enough audio. As I did not capture enough audio for the soundscape project, I was forced into some funny business: Open with long, Argentina-themed tango music; use all 15 seconds for Intro; stretch the Outro well beyond the 15-second limit. The project squeaks over the line at 2:17, but it comes at a 500-point penalty. If we ding me on the Intro, it’s another 500-point penalty.

Embedding Podcast in ePortfolio – The Fix is In

Thursday was fun – until we hit the snag of “no ePortfolio embed functionality” for the students!

It’s taken me a hot minute, but I think I have the workaround. I’ll spare you the gory details about my efforts. Instead, I’ll share the path forward. It’s not hard, thankfully!

STEP ONE

  • Open the ePortfolio Blog Post where you want to embed your podcast.
  • Click the + to add a Block.
  • Click the “Browse All” button on the popup to access more Blocks.
  • Find the “Shortcode” Block and click! (See screenshot image below)
Image of Shortcode Block Icon, WordPress.

STEP TWO

  • Go to our Show in Transistor, find the relevant Podcast, click the 3 dots at the right, and copy the Embed code. (Screenshot below.)
  • Head over to your ePortfolio and the Post showing that Shortcode block. Paste in the Embed code. (Screenshot)

STEP THREE – The Hard Part (if there’s one!)

We need to change the opening and closing HTML elements to Shortcode format. It’s easy!

  • Replace the “<iframe” at the beginning of the embed code with “[iframe
  • replace the “></iframe>” at the end of the embed code with “]
  • See my Screenshot below, where I’ve done that replacement as a demonstration.

That’s it!

I tested this Shortcode approach on a UNEPortfolios site using a student-level access, and it worked just fine. It should work for you.

Thursday To Dos

Big Deal Today – Learning about Peers & Critiques of Podcasts!!

Quick Rundown for Thursday (a checklist of sorts!)

  • Two podcasts due: Interview 1 (Peer) and Audio Playground 1 (audio tour for one person)
  • Get all key files into your shared Google Folder – Make subfolders with descriptive names (Interview 1, AP 1) to organize relevant files to help yourself – AND CRIPPS!
  • Upload each podcast to our Transistor Show – Quick Guide (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CkPnyEHN0CDcBikEhu03cZJLtP79hrCaY2R22EigXyY/edit?usp=sharing) – Remember to name the season; add artwork, ideally.
  • Make two Blog Posts in ePortfolio, one for Interview 1 and another for Audio Playground 1
  • Embed each podcast in the appropriate blog post (See Quick Guide instructions above)
  • Draft a brief, roughly 250-word framing statement that explains your idea, key challenges, important choices, and the like. (See Transistor Quick Guide for help)
  • Make sure to add the CMM 225 Category to the post
  • Publish those two Blog Posts
  • Podcast Critiques

Note: In the future, we will not use class time for uploading, embedding, and drafting framing statements for our work. It will be part of the expectation. The good thing about all this is that we’ll have more time for the fun part – listening, engaging, critiquing.

Snow Day Strikes in January

If this were a newspaper, a headline like this post’s title would be a “dog bites man” story. It’s not news.

In the context of a class, of course it is news because it means some shuffling has to happen. (We all love that!)

What’s getting shuffled?

Cripps called an audible in an email sent Thursday morning, following the announcement that the college was closed until 10. Here’s what he wrote:

CMM 225 will be cancelled today. 

Obviously, this cancellation further delays our work on the Interview 1 project. BUT it does not delay other elements of the course. What to do for Monday:

  • For Those New to ePortfolio – Complete UNE’s “Launch Sequence,” parts 1 and 2 (esp Part 1). (https://uneportfolio.org/help/eportfolio/launching-your-eportfolio/)*If you’re new to ePortfolio, I created your account on 1/22, as I recall. The Launch Sequence will help you dig the email announcement/info from your UNE inbox. 30 minutes, or so.
  • For All – BEGIN work on the first Audio Playground Assignment by deciding HOW you’ll approach the prompt AND capturing the audio. (You probably DO want at least a rough script to guide your audio tour/narration.) The prompt, in brief: “Make a one-minute audio tour of a specific place for one person.” The Assignment Linkhttps://michaeljcripps.com/spring2024cmm225a/audio-playground-i-assignment/
  • There’s no expectation that you will edit any audio for either the Interview 1 or Audio Playground 1 assignment. For those of us itching to get going, I recommend Pat Flynn’s fun, brief video tutorial on GarageBand, available right on our class website’s “Get Audio Help!” page: https://michaeljcripps.com/spring2024cmm225a/get-audio-help/#garageband

If you’ve not used ePortfolio before, I expect you’ll spend about 90-120 minutes doing what I’ve outlined above. If you’ve been using ePortfolio and are comfortable with it, I think you cut that time in half – or more.

Quick Help – Where to Put What? – Week 2

As we saw on Day 1, each of us will share much of our work via the ePortfolio. But it’s a little more complicated than that. We need to access 3 other platforms: BrightSpace (for grades); Google Drive (to retrieve and upload audio associated with podcasts); and Transistor (to put Podcasts in a streaming server).

BrightSpace

Easy, as we all know how to find that bit.

Google Drive

Cripps has created and shared two Folders with you. One has Podcast Resource files and is shared with all students in the class. The other is for YOU to UPLOAD project files and is shared only with you.

I’ll walk us through the upload process as we start to have projects – 1/22 and 1/25.

Transistor

Look for an email from Transistor.fm and follow the instructions. Here’s my little guide to getting set up and putting your Podcasts into Transistor.

WordPress

ePortfolios all run on WordPress (xyz.uneportfolio.org). You’ll be uploading homework into that space, principally as blog posts. We’ll use a Category (CMM 225) to help us group that work.

If you’ve not used ePortfolio before, find the email sent the morning of 1/22 and follow activation/login instructions. That’s a good start for you – for now.

As with other tools, I’ll help walk us through some of the early bits here. Most students are ePortfolio veterans, so there’s a lot of peer-to-peer support available. UNE’s SASC and the DigiSpace is a good additional resource.

Welcome to CMM 225 A, Spring 2024 – Podcasts

I’m really excited to discover the podcasts you’ll make this term, and I hope you really have fun exercising your creativity, developing some audio editing techniques, and telling interesting and provocative audio stories.

This is not a “technical skills” course. We will learn and practice some fairly straightforward techniques using audio editing software. And you’ll get comfortable with those techniques over the first few podcasts. But our real focus is on your audio storytelling within the medium of the podcast.

We’ll do some reading and talking about some of the issues we’ll engage in the term. And we’ll have a good bit of in-class time for audio editing. At the same time, we will need to do a good bit of “homework,” defined as audio capture, audio editing, and, well, writing.

Quick Course Site Tour

  • Syllabus – This page describes course basics – description, policies, grade breakdown, academic integrity, and the like. It’s important early in the term, and it’s a good reference from time to time. You don’t need to access it each week.
  • Schedule – This page is the most important one to engage, as it lists assignments, due dates, plans, and the like. Homework assignments are available as links on the schedule. You need to access Schedule several times each week.
  • Get Audio Help! – This page is a one-stop shop for some resources/assistance with audio. It’s not the only place with information, but it’s a good one.
  • Class Podcasts – As we publish our audio stories, they’ll float into the Class Podcasts page, making it a good place to check out what folks have done.
  • Audio Story Samples – This is my little set of podcasts that I like to share in class or assign as listening homework. They work as models, examples to critique, and the like.
  • ePortfolio – A link over to UNEPortfolio, where you can get help on your ePortfolio, audio editing, and more.
  • About – My standard little bit on the course site.