There’s an interesting article in the latest EDUCAUSE Quarterly that’s available online. The article goes over the podcasting pilots at University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry.

One of the first findings was that most students seemed to prefer audio over video, which they attribute to being more portable. This is despite the students actually originally requesting video, which shows that it’s worthwhile doing more indepth studies like this. This was a good thing, as moving to audio only provided a large reduction in staff time. They also looked at different ways to record the audio, including students with ipods. They found that a computer hooked to the PA system provided the best audio for the price, however.

The second thing they did that I think is worthwhile looking at is automating the process. They made it so students could record the lecture by double-clicking an icon on a computer. Once the lecture was over the student stopped it, entered some metadata, and the program took it from there.

They also studied distribution methods. The files were provided in both MP3 and AAC. About half used each, with those using AAC preferring it due to the ability to bookmark and speed up/down the audio. For those that may be confused, AAC is a standard codec, not one by Apple (Apple added a DRM layer to AAC for the iTunes store).

They provided these files via a centralized website, course websites and RSS. They found the centralized site was preferred as well as RSS (true podcasting).

Some other points made include Intellectual Property and faculty buy-in. They chose to put the podcasts and audio files behind authentication. Integration with Sakai may also come out of the project and includes interest by Apple.

The full article is worth a read if your looking into podcasting in an elearning context or otherwise.