As we look for more ways to get our learners engaged with our their own education, we sometimes roam from the beaten track of text and into the realm of media creation. Podcasts, for example, can be an excellent means through which to give learners an opportunity to flex muscles they rarely use in academic pursuits. This can be a challenge that brings them (and us!) to new levels of learning. For some it can also be a source of unnecessary frustration if not guided to easily accessible and reliable tools to successfully complete the project. To help reduce that frustration this post introduces two, free, tools to help our learners craft quality audio.
Developed by a group of volunteers as an open source tool, Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. Available on all major operating systems (i.e., Mac OS, Windows, Linux), Audacity is the ultimate OER media creation software in our toolbox! With over nineteen years of development, the team at Audacity has established an excellent user’s manual with an interactive guide to the interface. Audacity is easily installed on any laptop and can be found in all public computer labs on campus.
GarageBand bills itself as a “digital audio workstation”. Geared towards musicians, it is a tool easy enough for the rest of us. It comes pre-installed on all Macs and is available on all public Macs on campus including the Audio Recording Booth in Newton Hall. GarageBand is also available for iOS devices.
As an Apple product, the high quality of support available is a great benefit for those just getting started with audio recording and editing. Given it’s seventeen year history there is a great following of enthusiasts regularly creating and updating support in online communities as well.
While the use of these tools serve well to complete higher learning objectives, the implementation of either can be a learning activity unto itself. As such the availability of Lynda.com as a learning resource can be invaluable. Garrick Chow has both a GarageBand Essentials training as well as a comprehensive and easy to follow training course on the use of Audacity. Members of our teaching and learning community can access Lynda content, for free, with their Geneseo credentials.
Life Pro Tip: remember, Lynda training sessions can be curated into playlists that you can share with your students so that only the most relevant portions of the training are highlighted.
While these free resources can be applied to create and edit audio files, they don’t exist in a vacuum. You may require tools such as microphones (available from the Help Desk) to create your audio, or a platform such as SoundCloud to host your final product, depending on the desired outcomes. If you’re looking to create an assignment (or as a student, complete one) around audio creation, don’t hesitate to schedule time with us so we can help you establish and apply a workflow.