Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Sunday, 4 February 2007, 11:23 AM
 
Hello all,

First, many thanks for all of your help and advice this semester. More than 80 students used the online section of my English Phonetics course. I was doing simple "drill and kill" with quizzes, but I hope to get into more interactive stuff soon. Anyway, they got lots of practice and grading was a snap!

During the winter break (what break?) I want to add audio files--obviously-- to the English Phonetics site. I have two specific questions. I am using a Mac.

(1) Right now I am recording at home using the computer mike, Garage Band, and i-tunes (using "Don's extended instructions" from 2004.) It works, but it's quite a few steps. I need to make zillions of short (one-word) files, so even a slightly less cumbersome process would be helpful.

I have the possibility of using up to 30,000 yen in research money! Do I:
a. Invest in a voice recorder? Great sound, and it should be able to export as mp3, but it's a one-trick pony.
b. Invest in an i-pod and add-on mike? Tempting...That way I finally get to try an i-pod...but I'm worried about the sound.
c. Stick with Garage Band and use the funds for something else.
(PS. I am thinking about podcasting eventually.....?)

(2) I am linking the audio files to the WORD and having the audio files open in another window. Is there some way to have QuickTIme player appear as just a teeny little slide thingie instead of as a new window? I would like to have the students see the word in print at the same time that they hear it. At the least, I am guessing there should be some way to specify window size or something like that, but I couldn't find it on moodle.org.

Once again, I appreciate any advice. Enjoy the snow.
Suzanne Yonesaka

Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Sunday, 4 February 2007, 01:26 PM
 
A few questions first:
what version of moodle are you using?
Have you turned on the multi media setting in your moodle admin section?
(the answer to these two questions will determine if you can get the player working!)

Have you used audacity before?
If not, would you like to meet up and I'll show you how.
All the best,
Eric
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Two audio questions
by Don Hinkelman - Sunday, 4 February 2007, 10:24 PM
 
MP3 audio(MP3 audio)
Hi Suzanne,

Congratulations on making hundreds of audio files on Moodle!  Please demonstrate at the Moodle Workshop on March 22nd at Hokusei Jr. College/University.   OK?

To answer your questions from my own experience...

1a.  No, I tried an expensive voice recorder (30,000 yen) and was unhappy with the quality.
1b.  No, I tried this too and the mic quality was poor.
1c.  I don't know how to record with Garageband, but I find Audacity wonderful.  Maybe Eric can demo this software at the Moodle Workshop.
1d.  You should spend your money on several microphones (one for you and one for your colleagues or students to borrow so you can share the work).  It should be a USB mic that does plug and play into your Mac desktop or notebook. I use notebooks so we can walk over to a quiet room and record dialogues.   I like the stand microphones like the Mac Mic or the Logitech USB Stand Mic, or the Blue Microphone Snowball.  See what the Apple store is offering or Do-mu Computer.

2.   Do you want to do something like this....      phonetics MP3 audio(MP3 audio)

To do this, try the following:
  • Turn on media filters.  Go to Admin >> Filters and open the "eye" icon for multi-media plugins.
  • Upload all your sound files to the course.
  • In your moodle quiz or forum, make a small period after the word and then make a link from your sound file to that small period.
  • Voila!
Actually, the slider above is not playing the sound file for me now, so if you cannot hear it, it is problem on this site I need to figure out.  black eye
Picture of Bob Gettings
Re: Two audio questions
by Bob Gettings - Monday, 5 February 2007, 06:52 AM
 
Hi Suzanne,

I also found that the iPod was a bit difficult to use and didn't come out with such great sound. Audacity on Mac or directly recording into Windows with some recording software gave the clearest quality sond results.

If you'd like some help recording the files I'd be glad to smile We've also been talking about getting together a group to share ed materials. Maybe we could get some people to work together on recording? A lot of teachers use it?

Bob Gettings
Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Re: Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Monday, 5 February 2007, 07:58 AM
 
Thanks, everyone for the great, detailed advice. What a community!

First, as for making the little sliding thingie, Don, your advice worked perfectly. (Also I could hear the sound in your reply without any problem.) The results are so much more student-friendly than having new windows, etc. Thank you so much!

Second, as for disposing of my little budget....It sounds like either way, I need to go through the process of adjusting sound. I've used Audacity before, and it is a fantastic application. But it still involves exporting to LameLib to get the mp3 files, so I don't think it's any quicker than using i-tunes to get the files into mp3 format. Right now I prefer the GarageBand interface....I really recommend Mac-users to take advantage of it if you've got it.

As for sound, I'm not a sound freak, but the idea of getting some USB mikes sounds excellent. I will check them out today. I do like the idea of being able to record other people's voices with the laptop. When I record at home, I hang a couple of kake-futons from the ceiling, and it makes a great sound studio. But you can't do that at school!

Thanks again everyone. And let's talk more about recording and sharing files. Can you imagine how cool that would be-- how subversive, actually-- to have students from various universities all studying off the same materials? I think some of you are already doing it, right?

Thanks again!
Suzanne
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Monday, 5 February 2007, 11:18 AM
 
With Audacity, it is only once that you have to "set" the path to lame. If you really know how to use audacity, I can guarantee you that it is MUCH quicker than garageband. If waiting until the moodle get together is too long, the offer is still there to do an audacity work shop sometime soon. Can someone set up a time and place? If you want to come to Otaru, we can do it here later this week or early next.
Eric Hagley
Picture of Paul Gemmell
Re: Two audio questions
by Paul Gemmell - Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 11:34 PM
 
I would really like to get to know Audacity, too. I'd be interested in a workshop, but I'll be out of town next week. Further, does it make a difference if we're on Mac or PC? I don't mean in Audacity, but how it is integrated into other tasks and applications. You're a Mac-ie, aren't you Eric?
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Thursday, 8 February 2007, 09:01 AM
 
Yes Paul, I'm a mac user - always have been, always will be!
Audacity for mac, like almost all open source software, is very similar to (though not quite as powerful as) the windows version.
Integration of the final product does not vary.
Would anyone else be interested in an audacity workshop - maybe just an hour or two, the week after next? What day would be good? I'm pretty much fine to do one any day as long as I'm given a bit of notice. Should we advertise it on the JALT site? Is Otaru Junior College all right as a venue or does someone else want to offer a venue within Sapporo - ideally a place where mac's can be used on a wireless network. This is the option that will be available in Otaru (in addition to the use of desk top PCs or your own wireless pc)
Hope to hear from a few people soon.
Eric
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Two audio questions
by Don Hinkelman - Thursday, 8 February 2007, 09:36 AM
 
Hi Paul,

Audacity has both PC and Mac versions--both free.   And hopefully our school will have Audacity installed for all computers by this April.  On the March 22nd workshop we will definitely have an Audacity session because the recordings integrate so easily into Moodle.  For example, my "phonetics" mp3 file took just a couple clicks to make.

Now as for your real question, "does it make a difference if we're on Mac or PC?"   Yes, of course it does.   I am a Mac.  I am cool, hip and sophisticated.  cool  If you are a PC, you are a dorky bean-counter.  mixed   MP3 audio(MP3 audio)

Seriously, do you really want to support monopolistic, proprietory systems in the world?   Do you want Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer to amass vast fortunes when others are building OSs for free?   Did you know that Microsoft purposely banned all open document formats and international standards interoperability in Vista and installed their own proprietory, commercially-licensed formats that require you to hook into the Windows world at significant expense to you?

Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Thursday, 8 February 2007, 10:33 AM
 
I was talking about doing an audacity work shop earlier as Suzanne said she wanted to do her hundreds of phonics recordings over the break. March 22 is a little late so I thought perhaps a shorter earlier purely audacity one would be required. If you can wait until the 22nd, that is fine! If you want to get stuck into Audacity beforehand, that's fine too!

Just wondering, Bob, will there be wireless / wired net access at Hokusei for those who bring their own computers? Macs no problem? 
Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Re: Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Thursday, 8 February 2007, 11:45 AM
 
Hi all,

Thanks again for all of the input. I already did the bare minimum of audio uploading (using Garageband) to my website (just what I need to get the ball rolling and not panic in April). In fact, doing a lot of short recordings went much faster than I expected because you just fall into a robot-like daze. I think I glommed on to Garageband because it was there and the interface is really obvious to me. And pretty. But I do realize that Audacity is a great option-- I used it before, and I just need to recall how to use it again, which shouldn't take long.

I think an Audacity mini-workshop would be great! I realize that you can't plan around me, but I will be in the US (at the TESOL conference) the last 2 weeks of March, so I can't attend a March 22 meeting. mixed And I am deep into extrance exams and meetings starting tomorrow until the 17th. Wow!

Eric, if you are willing to do an Audacity workshop between 2/18 and 3/11, please suggest a couple of possible dates & a.m. or p.m. and maybe a few of us will be able to come. I'm sure many of us have Moodle audio-related questions and tips.

Suzanne
Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Two audio questions
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Monday, 12 February 2007, 06:50 PM
 
Hello Suzanne,

It looks like most of your questions have been taken care of. Anyway, here's my sixpence worth:

Your questions:
Do ! ...
a. Invest in a voice recorder? Great sound, and it should be able to export as mp3, but it's a one-trick pony.

No. Unless, you want to want to wander around the place asking people to say things. This might be worth doing when in an English speaking country; a great way to collect 'sound bites'.

b. Invest in an i-pod and add-on mike? Tempting...That way I finally get to try an i-pod...but I'm worried about the sound.

Same answer as above, but more expensive. I have last year's iPod and a Mic that records WAV files. The quality is good.

c. Stick with Garage Band and use the funds for something else.

Yes, as has already been said, invest in a USB Mic. I have a 'MicFlex USB Microphone' which at ¥6,000 is not cheap, but great quality.

Stick with Garage Band if that's what you are used to. However, ...

... you should definitely take a look at Audacity since it has a number of features ideally suited to your goal, which I understand is to make lots of recordings of single words and phrases. For example, using Audacity, here's how you could record hundreds of words on one file, and then export the single words as multiple mp3 files:

  1. Open Audacity
  2. Record all the words for which you want sound files
  3. Create a 'label track', and label each 'sound wave word or phrase' in the sound file; the label should be the word / phrase itself
  4. Click on the 'File' menu, then select 'Export multiple...'
  5. In he dialogue box that appears choose:
    • Export format: mp3
    • Split files based on: labels
    • Name file: Using Label
    • then click on 'Export', and hey-presto, you'll have lots of mp3 files each named with the word or phrase contained within the sound file.

There are some other alternatives:

The simplest mp3 recorder for the Mac is 'Audio Recorder', which is free and records directly to mp3. Unlike Audacity, It is not possible to edit the sound wave, so this might not be what you need, but it's great for anyone that just wants to record something for Moodle without any hassle.

Another kind of software that may help you is an application that is able to find silences in a single sound file, and then split the sound file based on these silent parts into multiple sound files. One such free application is called 'Audio Slicer'.

Finally, in a few months, Mac users may want to consider text-to-speech as a possible solution to creating audio for Moodle (or anything else). I have heard that the text-to-speech feature in the new Mac OS will be much better than the obviously machine sounding voices that exist on OS 10.4 and older. With the present system (i.e. 10.4), it is already possible to have your Mac read text, and with the automator app, you can can have your Mac create a recording of some text. The new system should make it possible to do this, and have a product that sounds pretty close to human. Here's a sound file a created using a demo of at&t's online demo TTS software. It's not wonderful, but pretty good for a machine: helloMP3 audio(MP3 audio)

Hope some of this helps.
Picture of Phillip Radcliffe
Re: Two audio questions
by Phillip Radcliffe - Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 07:24 PM
 
I'd have to disagree with the first answer. A voice recorder can be handy when you don't have the luxury of sitting down with a good mic (non USB) hooked up to your computer. It is much more useful than "wandering around the place asking people to say things," or as "a great way to collect 'sound bites'." I have used the voice recorder to record student talks, speeches and so on, and it really helps to listen to them again after class.
Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Two audio questions
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 05:02 PM
 
Hello,

Philip wrote:

"I'd have to disagree with the first answer. A voice recorder can be handy when you don't have the luxury of sitting down with a good mic (non USB) hooked up to your computer. ...."

Yes, you're right. A voice recorder can be a very useful tool, including recording students. However, in the context of this discussion, which is that Suzanne has a budget of ¥30,000, and she wants to record lots of words and phrases, it would make more sense to buy a microphone for her computer, and then use the rest of the money to buy something else. That said, if she doesn't have a laptop, but wants the option of mobility that a voice recorder would afford, then indeed perhaps the ¥30,000 would be better spent on a voice recorder. In which case, try and get one that records directly to mp3 so that you don't have to go through the rigmarole of converting the sound files on your computer.

Of course, both a voice recorder and a mic attached to a computer would be even better big grin.
Picture of Phillip Radcliffe
Re: Two audio questions
by Phillip Radcliffe - Thursday, 15 February 2007, 06:48 PM
 
You're right about the rigmarole of converting files. From the price you quoted earlier for the mic and from what a decent mp3 voice recorder costs (15,000 and up) I would think that she could get both.
Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Re: Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 08:09 PM
 
Hello, all.

This has been a lively and informative thread! I appreciate all of the helpful advice from various viewpoints, especially as I can't make it to the workshop on 3/22. smile

Peter, your last set of instructions was right on the money, given the very specific task I want to do-- record many single words. Garageband is fun, but Audacity took care of the tedious task of titling (alliteration's artful aid?) them-- and exporting them-- in one swoop. Wonderful! The files also seem to take up less KBs than the Garageband clips.

As for my shopping spree, that will depend on what equipment I can get my hands on in time to submit the paperwork, etc. Again, everyone's advice has been very useful.

Happy Valentine's Day...hope y'all got lotsa chocolates!
Suzanne
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 01:31 PM
 
Peter's information was certainly helpful but if anyone wants more information on how to use audacity and integrating audio into moodle lets say we do a mini work shop on Monday the 5th of March from 1pm (for those that can't make the 22nd main work shop or those that want a warm up for that). This will be held at Otaru Junior College (or if anyone can offer a place in town that will better suit everyone). A Japanese Map is shown below (if the linking works properly - if not, click on the link).
The schedule for the afternoon is as follows:
1400 Welcome and introduction to Audacity - where to find it and how to set it up.
1430 Creating audio and preference selection.
1445 Basic features of audacity
1500 Break
1510 More advanced features of audacity:
importing
multiple track recording
using various effects
1540 Exporting ready for moodle / ipod / podcasting and integration therein.
1600 Break
1610 Student application of audacity:
mapping intonation and stress
visual learning aids for improving intonation and stress in conversation.
application of audacity in and out of the classroom.
1645 Q&A
1700 Finish - if anyone is interested we could sample Otaru's sushi / sashimi thereafter.

If you would like to attend or would like to propose changes please let me know.
email me directly or reply to this. email ehagley at otaru-jc.ac.jp
The mapojcmap
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 02:45 PM
 
Sorry, I forgot to mention. Otaru Junior College can supply attendees with access to a windows PC with headphones and a mic and audacity. Though I mentioned that we would be able to supply a wireless connection for mac users earlier, this will not be possible. I will however be showing most of the material on both mac and windows machines. Eric
Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Re: Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Saturday, 3 March 2007, 07:58 AM
 
Thanks, Eric, for the train directions to the Audacity workshop. CA & I had already planned to take that train and catch a taxi-- others are welcome to join us...looking forward to seeing you then.
Suzanne
Picture of Suzanne Yonesaka
Re: Two audio questions
by Suzanne Yonesaka - Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 10:06 AM
 
Hi moodlers,

Eric, thank you for putting on a very informative Audacity workshop! I'm sure everyone got a LOT out of it, and you have just saved me hours and hours of time. The Moodle+ Audio combo is starting to look really exciting. smile

(And I was impressed at your patience with us Mac-users struggling with PC interfaces as the wind threated to blow the computer lab off the mountain.)

Thanks again!
Suzanne
Picture of Phillip Radcliffe
Re: Two audio questions
by Phillip Radcliffe - Monday, 5 February 2007, 05:27 PM
 
Subversive - that gets me to thinking of all sorts of possiblities!
Picture of CA Edington
Re: Two audio questions
by CA Edington - Monday, 5 February 2007, 08:58 AM
 
Don - Just to let you know that I was able open the Sailor's Hornpipe with no difficulty (it opened in Quicktime).  Do you have your students dance to it?  big grin



Sorry, again, that I won't be able to attend the Moodle workshop on the 22nd because of private classes.  If there's an informal get-together on recording sometime, I hope it will be announced on this forum.

As I venture into developing my own Moodle site, I'll probably have scads of questions, so I'm glad you're all here!

Have a happy Monday!
CA


Picture of Phillip Radcliffe
Re: Two audio questions
by Phillip Radcliffe - Monday, 5 February 2007, 12:58 AM
 
I think that not all i-pods are equal. Some you can record with and others you can't. I have been using a voice recorder and it has worked fine for me, but it records in wave file so I have to change it to mp3 using itunes or Audacity. And I have to edit it using Audacity, so it is something you need no matter what you do. Some voice recorders will record mp3. Allan Bossaer just got one of those, so I'll ask him how much he paid for it.
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Two audio questions
by Don Hinkelman - Monday, 26 February 2007, 10:18 AM
 
Here is a great, audio/video tutorial on how to use Audacity I found on the moodle.org site: http://cter.ed.uiuc.edu/tutorials/Audacity/audacity.html

Eric, could you check this out and see if it is accurate and up-to-date? 
Picture of Eric Hagley
Re: Two audio questions
by Eric Hagley - Monday, 26 February 2007, 11:57 AM
 
That was made about a year and a half ago. It is very good but there have been a few changes though that would get you going - you would just see a few different things now. 
Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Two audio questions
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Monday, 26 February 2007, 12:09 PM
 
Don,

Thanks for that link. I've just watched the tutorial, and it seems OK to me approve. I'll be letting both my colleagues and students know about this.


By the way, the tutorial was made with a great piece of freeware called 'WhickerBill', which you can download from here:


To quote from the above home page, WhickerBill "is a cross-platform tool for creating Flash presentations. It supports screen capture, drawing, importing of clip art, audio narration, and many other features."

It's a bit clumsy and if you have some spare cash there are better apps for making Flash presentations, but then WhickerBill is free ...