Lectures now ready for downloading to iPod, MP3 players

June 5, 2006, volume 36, no. 3
By Marianne Meadahl

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Stories

The addition of podcasting capabilities to the digital audio recording system at Simon Fraser University is enabling technology to take university lectures out of classrooms - and more easily than ever put them into the pockets of students.

Using portable MP3 technology, and a system that is the first of its kind in Canada, registered students can download their lessons and listen via their iPods or MP3s, anytime, anywhere.

While other universities are starting to move in similar directions, students at SFU can now subscribe (via podcast.sfu.ca) to lecture podcasts in more than 400 courses per year, allowing them to tune in at their convenience.

David Kaufman, director of SFU's learning and instructional development centre (LIDC), says, “The system is growing beyond our wildest expectations at our Burnaby campus, and we are looking to make it available as soon as possible at our other  campuses in Surrey and downtown Vancouver.”

Besides course lectures, the website also allows access to a wealth of downloadable public lectures and events at SFU, providing visual and audio materials for visitors anywhere in the world.

The result is virtual access to everything from the popular Nobel lecture series to convocation speakers such as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Mary Robinson.

Although the addition of podcasting is new, digital audio recording has been in place for many years. Thousands of lectures in more than 1,300 SFU courses have been digitally recorded and made available online, thanks to a fully automated system that makes lectures available as MP3 and Windows Media files within minutes of concluding. That system was developed by students Oleg Titov and Dmitry Nasanovich in the LIDC. The duo has also been instrumental in the latest system development. “This will definitely take studying to another level,” says Nasanovich.

Efforts to expand SFU's existing digital recording technology have been led by an LIDC and academic computing services team, with support provided by the office of associate VP-academic Bill Krane.

Podcasting is becoming the wave of the future on campuses such as Berkeley and Stanford, where systems are directly linked with Apple. Other Canadian universities are introducing podcasting on much smaller scales. 

“We are proud to be a Canadian leader in providing this important service,” Kaufman explains. “This is just one of our many technology tools for supporting our students and faculty.”

Search SFU News Online