Audacity is a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.

In this assignment, you will create an audio media package in the form of a podcast. The theme of your podcast should be related to the topics of civic media, migration, and citizen activism.


Assignment Instructions:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the basic tools and interface of Audacity
  • Record a 10-15 second sound bite (it can be anything at this point)
    • Make sure your microphone or headset is plugged into the computer
    • Hit “Record” (the red circle button at the top) and start talking
    • Hit “Stop” (the brown square button)
    • Hit play to test your recording
  • Edit what you recorded in Audacity
    • Hit stop before you start…
    • Highlight the areas you want to delete and hit delete on your keyboard.
    • Highlight the areas you want to add a filter to, then apply a filter: Effect>> Amplify
      • The first filter you should apply is “Amplify.” Just choose it and let the program calibrate the best level.
      • Try out other filters…
  1. Compose your podcast
  • RECORD VOICE in a new window
    • Write down four sentences relating to civic media, migration, and citizen activism
      • The first sentence should introduce the topic.
      • The 2nd sentence should give detailed information.
      • The 3rd sentence should introduce the sound bite in the next step (saying something like “Paul Mihailidis says…” Note: that later you will add a sound bite of Paul saying “digital media offer avenues for citizens to engage in civic life, the potential to have a voice in local community issues, and the potential to find avenues to participate more meaningfully in everyday civic life” (see below). Be creative in your 3rd sentence and don’t simply restate the quote verbatim.
      • The last sentence should wrap up your podcast with a concluding statement.
    • IMPORTANT!: Record each sentence on a separate track, by hitting record and then STOP (not pause) after you’re done with each of your sentences.
  • MOVE your voice tracks so that they don’t overlap
    • Use the double arrow tool (see photo; bottom-middle button) to move any track right or left.
    • Make sure you leave silent gaps between each of your sound bites and at the beginning before the first sound bite.
  • ADD A SOUND BITE to support your argument
    • Download thisMP3 audio and add it after your 3rd sound bite (where you say Paul Mihailidis says…).
    • Import the file to audacity: Project >> Import Audio (wait till it converts and loads).
    • Play the sound bite to test it, and then position it after your third sound bit using the tool you used above.
    • Alternatively, you can record one of your colleagues saying something or even download a relevant sound bite of the Web. See bottom link for help converting/downloading audio/video
  • IMPORT audio (music):
    • Download LEGAL music from the following Creative Commons web source (try to find some “ambient” or calm “instrumental” music in the “Free Music Archive” web site):https://creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos
      • Import the file to audacity.
      • Keep the music on a separate sound track and clean/cut it to fit the length of your podcast.
      • Start the music 3 seconds before your first sentence/voice starts, and keep it going 3 seconds after you last sentence/voice ends.
    • Tips:
      • Observe the “waveform” and listen to how the music changes when the waveforms increase and decrease.
      • Use the Zoom-in and Zoom-out lenses (top-right) to see more or less detail in your waveforms.
      • Try to find a starting point where the waveforms dip (meaning the music is low). Delete the rest of the music and keep that segment.
      • Keep the music on a separate sound track.
  • ADJUST the overall volume for the music and sound
    • Make sure the sound of your voice is higher in volume than the music and clearly audible by adjusting the overall volume for each track using the levers on the left of each track.
    • You can alternatively use FILTERS >> Amplify…
  • ADJUST the volume within each music segment
    • This step allows you to bring the volume of the same segment up/down at certain intervals. Use the double triangle tool (top-left). The goal is to bring the music up when you are not talking and bring it back down when your voice or a sound bit is running.
    • For the beginning and end of the music, you’ll need to insert TWO keyframes only:
      • At the beginning of your story, have the music start loud and then dip when you start talking. At the ending, have the music go back up when you finish talking.
      • Click once at the beginning of where you want to start the volume up/down and again where you want to stop.
      • Click-hold small white squares that appear and move up (for volume up) or down (for volume down).
    • For the middle, you’ll need three keyframes.
      • In the middle between sentences or sound bites, have the music go up and then down again when the talking begins again.
      • Insert a keyframe right after the talking starts, another right before it starts again, and a third in the middle.
      • Adjust the middle button to bring the volume up by lifting the small square up.
    • Trying making music go up-down-up instead…
  1. Upload your audio segment to a podcasting service
  • Upload your mp3 file tohttp://soundcloud.com
    • Create a Soundcloud account
    • Go to “Dashboard”
    • Go to “Upload and Share”
    • Click “Choose Files”, select the file you want to upload.
    • Fill the Title, Description, and Tags boxes
    • Choose the “Public” option
    • Save and check your “Dashboard” to make sure the track has uploaded. Click play and listen to it.
    • Be patient… it may take a while before you podcast is posted.
  1. Embed your Soundcloud podcast in your WordPress RSS feed
  • In Soundcloud, click on the “Share” (top left corner)
    • Click on the “WordPress” icon.
    • Click on “Customize your player”
    • Make some customizations… and copy the code from the bottom box.
  • In WordPress, create a new post
    • Paste the Soundcloud code in the WordPress post…  (the code should look like this:
    • Publish/update your post.

Use this resource to convert and download video/audio from online sources like YouTube: http://www.onlinevideoconverter.com/ or http://keepvid.com/