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July 17, 2007

Listening to Podcasts in iTunes

Blogs and podcasts make use of "RSS" (or "real simple syndication"). This allows people to have new entries delivered to them directly, just like newspapers are delivered to their doorstep. People can use desktop applications or web portals to collect (or "aggregate") their favorite blogs and podcasts. They can even have them delivered directly to their email.

iTunes can be used to subscribe to audio and video podcasts. You don't need iTunes, but it makes it easier, particularly if you are going to transfer the files to an iPod for enjoying offline. Here is how to subscribe to a podcast in iTunes.

You might want to print off these instructions before you begin!

1. Copy the "feed" to your clipboard.

a. The "feed" of this blog is http://blog.lib.umn.edu/dmc/taweb/index.xml

Select the text of the feed URL, and use your browser's Edit menu to copy the feed to your clipboard.

2. Subscribe to the "feed" in iTunes.

a. Open iTunes.
b. Go to the "Advanced" menu, and select "Subscribe to Podcast."
c. Use control-v (Windows) or apple-v (Mac) to paste the URL from step 1 into the window.
d. Click OK.

3. Listen to the podcast.

a. Click the "Podcasts" button in the left menu in iTunes.
b. Locate "Digital Teaching Workshop" in the Library window.
c. You may need to click the little triangle next to the title to open the list of available files to play.
d. Select any file and click the Play button to listen or watch it.
e. If a file is listed but is grayed out, click "Get" to retrieve the file before you play it.

4. Update the podcast.

When you return to iTunes in the future, new files will automatically be fetched. If they do not, you can follow these steps to refresh your play list.

a. Click the "Podcasts" button in the left menu in iTunes.
b. Locate "Digital Teaching Workshop" in the Library window.
c. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) and select "Update Podcast" from the popup menu.

Subscribing to other podcasts

If you are following other podcasts in UThink, look for the RSS 2.0 link in the side bar. It usually appears on the right. Do not follow the link--just right-click (Windows) or control-click (Macintosh) and select the option to copy the link from the pop-up menu. You can then proceed with step 2 above.

Other podcasts will always have a similar link that you can copy and paste.


Sample Audio Podcast

Download Audio File

Sample Video Podcast

Download Video File

Podcasting with UThink

To podcast using UThink, see these instructions.

Hint: It may seem daunting at first, but you really can skip the "advanced steps" until you are more comfortable!