What is ProfCast software good for and does anyone at UCLA have experience with it?

ProfCast http://profcast.com/ is Mac-based software for recording and publishing presentations as part of podcasts. I first heard about it during the iTunes University presentation and then several people mentioned their experience with it.

Prof. Groeling mentioned that while it’s great, it wants to finish everything right when he’s trying to shut it down and get to his next class (depending on how much time you have before your next class, this might not be a huge issues, but when I’ve got a 10-minute passing period to get to a class in a different building with computer hookups on both ends, I don’t have a lot of time to spare. For my 50 minute class, rendering the file took something like 3 minutes; I imagine a longer class would take longer).

The program is very simple, easy, and intuitive for the most part (you give your standard lecture in the standard way, except you launch this program before and have to render the file afterward). It basically produces a small file that automatically syncs your powerpoint or keynote slides to the point in the lecture where you changed/advanced slides. My students especially like the way slides are handled as chapters in the files, which allows them to quickly go to the most relevant slide’s discussion when they have questions during exam review.

The file sizes vary a fair amount depending on the resolution of the powerpoint/keynote slides (I think); A 50-minute lecture was around 30 megs.

One piece of advice: if you’re a pacer and don’t spend all your time near your laptop (and its internal microphone) consider hooking up a wireless lavalier mic, as my students complained about audio fade-out when I wandered too far away.

Molly Montgomery mentioned that what it does, it does very well. But it’s not meant for taking different clips and pulling them together after the fact.

A second piece of advice: when combining slides with a podcast, use the plainest format and keep the slides simple. The pod screen and viewer in iTunes are tiny. If you want to provide detailed information, provide it separately using master slides as chapter markers.