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What is a Podcast?

Podcasting (or podcasts), "enables users to quickly and easily download multimedia files, including audio and video, for playback on mobile devices including iPods and other MP3 players" (Bausch & Han, 2006, p. 1). Individuals subscribe to a podcast and then automatically receive all newly initiated installments. Once a podcast is loaded onto a computer or digital music device it can be accessed and reviewed at the user's leisure, such as during a jog around the gymnasium track, waiting for the campus bus, folding laundry, or commuting to campus (Read, 2005b).

Technically, a podcast works through an RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) which pulls down an .xml file containing the Internet address of the media source. This is read by a podcast aggregator, commonly referred to as a podcatcher. Apple Computer's iTunes [http://www.apple.com/itunes] is the most popular podcatcher ("Podcasting to Hit Critical Mass," 2005). Another well-known aggregator is Juice [http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net],


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Bausch, S., & Han, L. (2006). Podcasting gains an important foothold among U.S. adult online population. Nielsen/NetRatings, Retrieved July 16, 2006 from http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/pr/pr_060712.pdf.

Podcasting to hit critical mass in 2010. (2005). Bridge Ratings. Retrieved July 14, 2006 from http://ww.bridgeratings.com/press_11.12.05.PodProj.htm.

Read, B. (2005b, October 28). Lectures on the go." The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 6 from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v52/i10/10a03901.htm.]