Technologist ModuleWhat is podcasting?

A podcast is a series of episodes made of audio voice recordings that someone can listen to either by streaming or downloading the episode.

What you need to get started:

  • A microphone to record audio (your phone works well).
  • A free computer program to edit and combine audio files.
  • An idea.

Why would you create a Podcast?

  • In school, you might be given the option to create a podcast or audio narration for an assignment.
  • It can help build your personal brand to reach more people or become part of your portfolio.
  • With its low bar of entry, it can be a great hobby to share your ideas, opinions, jokes, or interests with the world.

Forms of Podcasting

There are many forms of podcasting, and you can mix up styles from episode to episode. Generally, the types fall into two categories: talking about a topic, or telling a story. When discussing a topic, you could be speaking on your own, with a co-host, or a guest. When telling a story, you could be telling a fiction or nonfiction story. You don’t have to create a series of podcasts – it’s perfectly fine to create a single piece!

Below are some pros and cons to the most common podcasting forms:

Interview Format
The Monologue
With a Co-Host
Telling a Story

The Three Steps of Podcast Creation:

  • Pre-production: Planning the show.
  • Production: Recording the voices.
  • Post-production: Editing the voices and adding in other sounds.

Pre-production: Planning the Podcast

Pre-production is all about knowing what you’ll be talking about. It helps avoid rambling, and encourages coherent, captivating content. Think about your own professors: some of them might be really good at rambling and tangents, but others are not. If you, like most humans, aren’t great at rambling, you’re better off creating some sort of script.

All Forms
Interviews or Co-hosts
Telling a Story


  • Record yourself using a phone or microphone.
  • Make sure you pick a place with minimal outside noises. Never record outside unless it is intended for a specific purpose and you want intentional background noise.
  • Keep a consistent distance from the microphone to avoid “popping Ps” and try not to vary your volume too much. Speak slightly louder than you normally would.
    • A “popping P” refers to the tendency for us to pronounce words that start with a P louder than normal. This is caused by blowing air when making the P sound.
    • People tend to start words or sentences strong, especially after a pause. Try to limit this.
  • When interviewing someone, nod instead of saying “Yes”. This will convey your understanding without causing issues with the audio file.
  • If you have a co-host or guest, it might be more practical for each person to record their own audio using their own phone. You’ll wind up with two audio files that you’ll have to combine during the editing phase, but it might be easier than crowding around a microphone or figuring out how to connect two microphones to one recording device.

Little Birdy with an ideaA Tip!

Pauses are your best friend when editing. If you take a breath to psych yourself up for a line, take a 1-2 second pause. This will make removing the breath sound much easier later. If you mess up a line, take a pause, and redo that line. Continue as normal. Giving yourself the 1-2 seconds of silence makes your editing life much easier.


The Waveform

The waveform is a visual representation of an audio file. The X-axis (moving left to right) indicates time. The Y-axis (top to bottom) indicates the amplitude, which is essentially volume.

There is a lot more science and complexity to a waveform, but for our purposes, we only need to understand it as a visualization of our audio recordings. Our main tasks will be chopping out bad clips, adjusting volume, and removing breathing noises.

Podcast Editing

The Two Main Techniques:

a cut and a fade. not just for hair!A cut and a fade is not just to make your hair look good.

  • Cut – A clean transition from one piece of audio to the next
  • Fade – A gradual increase or decrease of the volume of an audio track. Think about how a voice might fade out near the end of a clip, or fade in at the start.

The Goals:

Our main goal is to take a bunch of clips and edit them so that they sound like one, uninterrupted clip. This is called “Continuity Editing”.

This can refer to small-level, such as keeping the volume the same across the entire piece, and ensuring that cuts are done in between words and sound clean. Continuity editing can also refer to bigger picture things, such as cutting off tangents, and adding in important context. When someone says, “Oh, I forgot to add…” we might want to put that where it should have gone.

Here, the value of pauses should be clear. By pausing in between words and sentences, we have more room in the waveform to cut and arrange clips. If we speak quickly, there would be fewer places to make clean cuts.

Little Birdy with an ideaA Tip!

Continuity editing: Editing audio clips to create a linear and consistent progression of content. This means editing out tangents, sentences that don’t quite fit, and generally making sure that the final result sounds like one long clip, rather than a series of combined clips.

Another important goal is to get rid of Popping Ps.

They are inevitable and take practice to change during the production phase. Speakers should always be striving to limit the Popping Ps and speak at with consistent volume and tone.

Sometimes, they are unavoidable or you don’t notice. There are many strategies to getting rid of that “pop” sound. One is to fade in the P sound, another is to reduce the volume of just the P sound. In the mixer, you’ll have to find the “P” sound and isolate it. It should stand out.

Audio Editing Functions

Inside an audio editing program, there are many functions that you can use to reach the goal of good continuity editing. While these functions are consistent across most (if not all) programs, how they are accessed will differ. Check out the program specific tutorials to get a feel for the layout. Below are some of the most common functions you’ll use:

  • Select – This lets you select a part of an audio track. Once selected, you can move it, cut it, and manipulate it.
  • Cut – This will split the audio clip into parts, allowing you to insert something in between, move a piece somewhere else, or delete a part.
    • A form of cut that removes the beginning or end of a clip is called a “Trim”. Basically, trimming the ends. Maybe you took a breath before you started, or looked for the stop button on your phone when you were done. In either case, you might want to get rid of that little bit at the start or end.
  • Merge – This function takes two pieces of audio and merges them into one. Just like a cut takes a clip and turns it into two, a merge takes two and turns it into one. This is useful if you want to move this newly merged piece somewhere else, or apply an effect to the entire clip (to save yourself from doing it twice).
  • Amplify – The Amplify effect will either increase or decrease the volume of a selection in decibels, the measurement of sound.
  • Fade – Another common effect, this will fade in (increasing) or fade out (decreasing) a clip.
    • A cross fade is a type of fade that involves something fading in while something else fades out. The point is to have a seamless transition between two clips. An example would be introduction music that fades out as the speaker fades in.


A “Track” refers to a recording of sound. If you were to record yourself speaking and load it into a computer, you would have one track. If you and a friend were each recording their own voice in a conversation, this would mean two tracks.

Audio programs allow for multiple tracks, and will play them all at the same time. Best practices say that we should separate different tracks. This way, we can change the background music speed or volume much easier, without changing anything else.

If we were to put everything on one track, things would get very messy very quickly.

Multiple tracks help us organize the audio files that we are using. Put the main host or narrator on the main track. Put background music on another, sound effects on another, and other guests/actors on their own track. The end result is the same, but it becomes much easier to find what you need and visually see the pieces that go into the final product.

Editing Software to Use

There are plenty of free audio editors out there. Audacity is a very popular choice. It is fairly easy to use and has an extensive suite of tools. There is a lot of support and resources for it as well, making it simple to find the solution to whatever problem you’re having.

It is worth mentioning that, in 2021, Audacity changed their privacy policy in response to allegations that they were selling user data. If this is something that bothers you, there are plenty of other options to check out.

dig deeperDig Deeper

There are many options for editing audio and getting free sound effects to use. See below for some stuff to check out.

Audio Cutter

You might also find something on your phone that works for you. Phone apps tend to be less powerful and more clunky to use (smaller screen, using fingers instead of a mouse or trackpad), but if you’re only doing some light editing (trimming, minimal cutting, juggling only a couple tracks), it might work well for you.

Where to get free sound effects

Activity: What Motivates you?

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to engage with the topic of the Podcast while simultaneously developing skills in audio recording and editing.

Why are you completing this activity?

To explore your own motivations at school, which in turn helps you better understand yourself as a student.

Difficulty Level:

There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of this activity. See below.

Learning Outcomes:

This activity aligns to these learning outcomes:

Technologist: Record and edit an original piece of audio.

Learner: Understand why you may feel a lack of motivation/engagement with course work and learn how to be more motivated and engaged.


In this activity, you will be reflecting on your own sense of motivation in school and recording your thoughts on the matter. Once you have recorded your audio files, import them into an audio editing program and begin manipulating the audio into a polished piece.

Time Commitment:

This assignment should take you:

  • Beginner: 1 Hour.
  • Intermediate: 2 Hours.
  • Advanced: 3 Hours.

Success Criteria:

Content: An honest reflection?

Technical: Successful completion of technical markers set out below.

How to Complete This Activity:

After you have completed the motivation and engagement survey (opens in new window) from the Learner Module, review your answers and consider what factors motivate you the most or least. Collect some thoughts about yourself as a student: what motivates you, what doesn’t, how that leads to challenges, and what you might be able to do about them.

Beginner Level

Once you’re ready, grab your phone, and record some of your thoughts. You can record for as little as a minute or two, or as much as 5-10 minutes. It’s up to you.

Once you have recorded some thoughts, open up an audio editing program and import your audio. Listen back to it a couple times and then start editing! The beginner difficulty level of this activity asks you to:

  • Trim the beginning and end.
  • Edit out any long pauses, or sentences that don’t quite fit.
  • Try to cut out or reduce the volume of some breathing noises.

Intermediate Level

If you’re ready for more of a challenge, find a friend to discuss their own motivation factors at school. Lead a conversation between you two about what sort of students you are. Have each person record their own audio. When you’re ready to edit, import both audio files in two separate tracks and complete the following technical tasks:

  • Import the two tracks into an audio editing program.
  • When you are speaking, reduce the volume on your friend’s recording (if your words can be heard). Do the same when your friend is speaking.
  • Trim the beginning and end.
  • Edit out any long pauses, or sentences that don’t quite fit.
  • Try to cut out or reduce the volume of some breathing noises.
  • Fade the beginning of the conversation’s volume in and the ending’s volume out.

Advanced Level

The final activity still asks you to have a conversation with someone else (like the intermediate version), but this time we’re upping the technical components. With the two audio tracks, do the following:

  • Import the two tracks into an audio editing program.
  • When you are speaking, reduce the volume on your friend’s recording (if your words can be heard). Do the same when your friend is speaking.
  • Add music at the start. Fade it out while the conversation fades in.
  • Add a couple sound effects in a third track.
    • At least one should be low volume in the background.
    • At least one should have higher volume and be in the foreground.
  • Trim the beginning and end.
  • Edit out any long pauses, or sentences that don’t quite fit.
  • Try to cut out or reduce the volume of some breathing noises.
  • Fade the beginning of the conversation’s volume in and the ending’s volume out.

exampleAn Example

See an example script for a podcast here. (opens in new browser window)

What do I do with this?

If you are playing along using the Liberated Learner Work Binder, upload your audio file to the Technologist Module folder.

If this is the only Liberated Learner activity you plan to do, then save the file wherever you’d like. Don’t forget to share it with your friends and family to wow them with your podcasting prowess.


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Liberated Learners Copyright © 2022 by Terry Greene et al. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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