Conclusions

There was clear evidence prior to this project that a manual podcasting process does not scale to an institutional level. This has been confirmed in this project and through experience. We were able to demonstrate that it is possible to arrive at an institutional podcasting process, which is cost effective. One such service example is the devolved model of podcasting operating at Oxford and highlighted in the Outputs section.

Coordination within the institution is required between a range of services, including technical services, creative services, institutions responsible for communications, and academics. In the deployment of institutional podcasting, there needs to be a clear path, developed in collaboration with those individuals who are keen to trial new technologies. A "wait and see" approach can easily lead to an unmanageable backlog of work.

The use of the technology plays a key part in institutional podcasting. However, depending on the technologies chosen, these can both enable and stifle. It is important to draw on experiences of others, and to apply those experiences intelligently within one's own institution. At present, there is no single technical solution that can solve "institutional podcasting" off the shelf, but there are strong candidates that can solve part of the workflow, including open source technologies (such as Opencast Matterhorn) and commercial technologies (such as Apple Podcast Producer). Technical challenges for interoperability at an enterprise level are difficult and require highly specialised skills usually quite different from audio-visual content creation. Building an effective community of practice of technically minded individuals with input from strategic communications partners will help meet the challenge that high quality, high volume audio/video activities creates in the diverse educational arena.

The main commercial-backed distribution channels for free educational content are iTunes U and YouTube Edu. For maximum exposure, it is important to be present in those. However, distribution through institutional channels, as well as HE-based channels is equally important, and by using open standards and keeping content and metadata separate from the distribution portals, entry into these and more is easily achievable. The portal and metadata work has shown that there are many opportunities for added value services to institutional podcasting activities if the data is exposed in an open manner. Through standardised portals, discovery and promotion of media is optimised. We conclude that creating efficient, well working media portals that provide a good user experience is very difficult to achieve for any one institution. Through a collaborative effort, much better results can be achieved.