Apple’s iTunes U service enables universities and colleges to make audio and video content from lectures, interviews, concerts, presentations, news events, etc., available for anyone to download. Podcasts.mcgill.ca allows McGill to mirror this service, both giving the University full access and control over the content and overall website presentation, and providing an alternate way for users to view and subscribe to McGill-specific podcasts. McGill may also host some additional podcast content through the podcasts.mcgill.ca site.
Because podcasts are made available as both single downloads and through RSS subscriptions, the Office of Communications and External Relations will add or tag each podcast to a specific category so that users can find, download or subscribe to podcasts of their choice.
The podcasts.mcgill.ca and McGill iTunes U sites are meant to showcase the wide range of content generated by the various faculties, departments and units of the University.
Criteria for consideration of content
As this service is currently in a pilot phase, all podcast content is managed and approved by the Office of Communications and External Relations. Individual units do not have permission to upload content directly or independently.
All McGill units are eligible to submit content for posting to podcasts.mcgill.ca and iTunes U. Only material designed to showcase McGill to a broad audience will be accepted. This includes public lectures, concerts, speaker series, University events such as Convocation, and recruitment materials. Course lectures and content are not accepted at this phase. The University is aware that many faculties and departments are interested in using podcasts.mcgill.ca / McGill iTunes U for course content, and the possibility of including this material will be discussed with McGill’s senior executive at a later phase in the project
In order for content submissions to be considered, they must be accompanied by the express written consent of the presenter and must respect copyright considerations. Communications and External Relations will supply you with a consent and release form for these purposes. Content must also be of good quality in terms of audio or video production (see below for specifications).
Please note that given limited resources and the need to achieve some balance within the posted material, should a single unit have multiple submissions, Communications and External Relations may not post all the submissions, even should they meet the general criteria for posting.
How to request that your content be posted
To make a request for your content to be posted on podcasts.mcgill.ca and iTunes U, please contact the Office of Communications and External Relations. While general instructions for recording, editing and labeling content are provided here, it is strongly recommended that you contact Communications and External Relations in advance of preparing your content for submission, to ensure that it will be posted. Once your content has been accepted for posting – and we have received the signed consent and release form – you will be provided with complete instructions for submission.
There is no cost associated with the use of podcasts.mcgill.ca / iTunes U. However, McGill University does not cover the cost of recording and editing content for online publication through this service. Faculties and departments may either produce the content using their own resources, or may choose to use the services provided by Network and Communication Services. Both Audio and Video Production services are available through NCS, who offer experienced staff in addition to the facilities and equipment needed for producing or modifying existing content for online publication.
Podcasts.mcgill.ca and iTunes U hosts both audio and video podcasts. All episodes within a podcast must be available as either AAC (.m4a) or .mp3 format for audio content, and as mpeg-4 (.mp4) format for video. To ensure your podcast submission is accepted, make sure the following video and/or audio standards are met.
Please see the section entitled “Best Practices” IT Knowledge Base article on iTunes U and podcasts.mcgill.ca for further information.
Labelling your files
If you are preparing your own submissions, you will need to provide metadata in a format that will be made available to you by Communications and External Relations. If McGill’s NCS is responsible for the submission, you will still need to provide a description of no more than 255 characters which should cover: the name and affiliation of the presenter and a brief (and ideally compelling!) synopsis of the subject.
- Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264) format
- Maximum file size: 350 megabytes
- Maximum video length: 90 minutes
- Maximum average bitrate: 800kbps
- Minimum average bitrate: 300kbps
- Minimum resolution: 320px x 240px
- Minimum framerate: 15fps
- Audio codec: either MPEG-4 Part 3 (AAC/MP4) or MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) format
- Maximum file size: 350 megabytes
- Minimum bitrate: 128kbps or higher