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Media files that include an audio recordings of a lecture combined with presentation slides are among the most popular supplemental learning materials currently being offered to students. These media files are different from audio files because the audio file is enhanced with images or slides, which leads to the more commonly used name "enhanced audio files." These files are typically distributed by podcast or webcast.

Enhanced audio podcasts can contain chapters that reference particular slides. In this case, a pull-down menu appears permitting navigation to any of the chapters within the podcast. When these enhanced audio files are viewed on media devices (iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android), the slide content is displayed similar to the way album art is presented.


Enhanced recordings are good for capturing: lectures and presentations with in-depth presentation materials.

Educational benefits for this media:

For instructors:

  • Organizes image and text presentation materials into a re-usable form.
  • Summarize/highlight terms and text, while elaborating on topics.
  • Recorded audio can go into detail for Images that are hard to explain. (Ex. statistical graphs, data charts and models).
  • Recording archives lectures that may be content heavy can help students review material after class.
  • Recording can be used post-lecture for self-assessment.

For students:

  • Media files can be used as a resource for further reflection on lecture subjects.
  • Encourage active learning processes in regard to study topics.
  • Connects spoken ideas to visual representations and salient terms.
  • Images alongside audio can reinforce spoken content.

Example of an Enhanced Recording

Frontiers of Science - (link to enhanced podcast)

Led by Professors David Helfand and Darcy Kelley, a team of 30 faculty and science fellows are developing Frontiers of Science, a new science core curriculum course for Columbia College. The course is currently being piloted for five years as a requirement of all first-year students. Students attend lectures from a variety of disciplines including astronomy, biodiversity, neuroscience, and climate change, as well as small seminar sections to discuss concepts from the lectures and associated readings. Students also complete related activities and problem sets intended to develop core competencies in scientific thinking and methodology. CCNMTL produced an online version of the course text specifically written and annotated for this course by Helfand, coordinates the course websites for all of the sections, designs and implements course evaluations, and participates in the weekly faculty course design meetings.

Best Practice Tip

Visual clarity of presentation slides, live demonstrations, presentation props & materials

When using PowerPoint as a visual aid it is necessary to capture it as a full screen shot. An inset can be used so that the audience can see the presenter and his gestures simultaneously with the PowerPoint presentation. It is important to remember that a PowerPoint presentation becomes ineffective if too much text is used and the presenter begins to just read the slides.

It is important to make the font size of the text large enough so that every word can be projected clearly on to the camera and to the audience. When producing a PowerPoint it is also important to note that some colors of text are hard to see against certain color backgrounds, thus making them less effective. For example, white text on blue background will be clearer and grab more attention than black text on a plain white background. Furthermore images, charts and diagrams should be visible enough so that they can effectively complement the material being taught.

For more educational best practices, visit see (LINK - Educational considerations for audio recording a lecture).

Recommended Software

  • ProfCast: ProfCast is a simple to use tool for recording lectures including PowerPoint and/or Keynote slides-and especially easy for creating Audio+Slide media. This application records audio via your computer, while also recording timing of the slides that are presented on screen. ProfCast, available for Mac and Windows, also offers an integrated workflow that makes creating, recording, and publishing podcasts easy.
  • Camtasia: Camtasia is a screen capture program for Microsoft Windows. An area of the screen or the window that is to be captured before recording begins; it is also possible to capture the entire screen area. This program also records audio via input to your computer.
  • GarageBand: Using GarageBand, audio be recorded via a USB-port microphone or internal laptop microphone. But GarageBand application also has a wide range of tools available to ad professional touches to your recorded media--like filters, background music, and sound effects. This software is particularly helpful for podcast creation.

Recommended Hardware

  • Hand-held audio recorder, can be placed at lecture podium or point of presentation: ZOOM recorder
  • Using a laptop with an internal microphone.
  • Laptop can also be used with a lavaliere microphone for better audio quality.

Media Formats
The following media file formats are recommended for web distribution:

M4A or M4B: Using AAC encoding, this file format is the default format for iTunes, offering better audio quality than MP3 at a variety of bit rates.

MP4: H.264 encoded MPEG-4 video is the standard for high quality video on the web.

MOV: QuickTime-based video, which also supports H.264 video encoding, is the most common video file format used in podcasts.