Types of assignments

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • explore different assignment types
  • examine resources and tools to help you produce your assignments.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • use effective strategies to produce assignments in different mediums
  • evaluate and select different tools to create videos, presentations, websites, online portfolios or a model or prototype.  

4. Audio and podcasts

Bad audio quality can not only make your audience feel irritated but also affect your credibility.
 

Listen to how sound quality affects our perception of facts (ABC Radio, 3m37s). This study, by Dr Eryn Newman, found that people were less likely to trust the speaker if the audio was poor quality.

Audio recording

If possible, use an external microphone or audio recorder rather than your smartphone or camera’s built-in microphone. Check if your course or school has microphones you can borrow to do your assignment. An external microphone will allow you to:

  • get the microphone as close as possible to the sound source
  • record the sound you want to pick up. The built-in microphone will pick up all the sound in the surrounding environment
  • handle and adjust the controls on your video recorder without worrying about the noise you make.

A lavalier (lapel microphone) or a headset microphone, particularly with a noise cancelling feature to filter out background noise, will record clearer audio than a built-in microphone. 

If you want to buy a microphone, the Podcast Host has some recommendations:

Where to record audio

If you are videoing in a noisy environment, it would be better to record your audio in another location. You can use editing software to add the audio to the video later. Audio or video editing software can be used to reduce background noise but it will require a lot more effort.

Audio settings

Microphone settings
  1. Place the recording device about 10 cm away from the person speaking
  2. If you have an external microphone, set it at an angle from the mouth (45 degrees) to avoid breathing straight onto it
  3. Record in stereo (two channels — left and right) to get a better sound
  4. Choose to record as a WAV file, if possible. This is a high quality, uncompressed format. Keep it as a WAV file when you are editing. When you are finished, you can select to export the file as a lower quality, lossy compressed format, such as MP3 or ACC, for a smaller file size. Find out more about file types and compression in our Working with files module.
Sample rate and bit-depth

Set the sample rate and bit depth in the audio editing software on your computer or the app on your smartphone. If possible, choose a:

  • Sample rate of at least 41 KHz (41000 Hz) — a higher sample rate will record a higher range of frequencies, which gives a better quality sound, but the file size can be very large
  • 16-bit depth or sample format — the bit depth affects the dynamic range of the recording. 16-bit is a good, general purpose, high quality setting. A 32-bit recording will give a better quality but the file size might be too large for exporting and uploading.

Audio recording with smartphone apps

If you cannot use an external microphone, use a recording app on your smartphone, that lets you set it to stereo and WAV file. Read how to make high quality recordings using your smartphone for more tips. If you don't have a recording app installed, try one of these apps from Google Play or the App Store:

Audio editing software

You can use audio editing software on your computer to record and edit sound.

Tool Download for free Available on Library computers Guides Tutorials on Lynda.com (A UQ login is required)
Audacity Yes Yes Audacity Manual Learning Audacity (LinkedIn Learning, 1h53m)
GarageBand (for MacOS) Yes No Garageband Support Garageband Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 4h4m) 
Adobe Audition No No but it is available in student labs for some courses. Check with your school. Audition tutorials Audition CC 2018 Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 6h4m) 

Get more information on tools for working with sound, including Logic Pro X.

Audacity vs Garageband 
Read this article to help you decide which free audio editing software to use.

Submitting your audio assignments

You may be required to upload your audio file to Kaltura on Learn.UQ (Blackboard). Get instructions on how to upload to Kaltura.

Podcasts

A podcast is a digital recording, usually audio, made available online for downloading. Often users can subscribe to the podcast program and are notified when new podcasts are published. Podcasts can be a monologue, an interview, a documentary and a range of other formats.

Prepare a podcast

Quick tips:

  1. Prepare your script or interview questions using everyday language and short sentences. Long sentences can confuse your listeners
  2. Practice reading your script. Try to vary your tone of voice. Avoid a monotone
  3. Use music to create the mood and engage your audience. The Finding and using media module lists sources for music and sound effects.

Podcast tutorials

LinkedIn Learning podcast courses

These courses require a UQ login:

Podcast hosting

After you create your audio file for your podcast, you can upload it to a site for others to access it.

Tool Free account available Storage space for free accounts Guides
Soundcloud Yes for a Basic account 3 hours Creator guide
Podbean Yes for a Basic plan 5 hours Podbean podcasting basics
WordPress Yes 3GB Podcasting on Wordpress

You can then submit your podcast to directories like:

More audio tutorials

Do these tutorials if you would like to understand more about audio techniques:

Duration:   Approximately 20 minutes


Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

 Effective communication Effective communication

  Independence and creativity


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