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I know this is covered in the FAQ, but I can't seem to figure out how to create Categories for separate classes. Jmartin
First, login to Classcaster.
Second, click on your blog's name after "Administer your Blog".
Third, click on "Manage" from the topmost menu bar.
Fourth, click on "New Category" to create new categories. (i.e. Contracts or Torts).
Now, when you post an article or a podcast to the blog, choose that category.
I tried to upload a podcast (wma) as a file to my blog today and got the following error doing the file upload:
PHP does not have iconv() support - cannot convert from UTF-16LE to ISO-8859-1
I just used the digital recorder and played it on my computer, so not sure why it is not working to upload.
Please help. Jennifer Martin
You need to convert the files to MP3 before uploading to Classcaster. Here's what to do:
- Download a utility called FFmpeg here. This will allow you to convert the WMA files to MP3 files that can be uploaded to Classcaster.
- Install FFmpeg by launching the ffinstall.exe file you downloaded.
- The install will place an icon called MakeMP3 on your desktop and create folders named classcaster and classcaster\archive in your My Documents folder.
- To use the utlity plug your recorder into a USB port, locate the WMA file you want to convert, and drag it onto the MakeMP3 icon. This will launch the ffmpeg utility and create an MP3 from your WMA file. The MP3 is saved in your My Documents\classcaster folder and the original WMA file is moved from the recorder and saved in My Documents\classcaster\archive.
- Upload the MP3 to Classcaster using these instructions.
-- At the point where you want to insert the file, click on the 'Insert Recource' icon. --
I don't have such a button. Using Safari for OS X; doesn't show up in Firefox either. Do I have to dig out a Windows machine?
BTW, I'll correct the spelling of resource:)
I observe this in the LifeType wiki (I think classcaster is built on lifetype, f/k/a Plog, right?):
The HTMLArea control is a great piece of software but it only works in IE 5.5 or higher and in Mozilla 1.3b or higher. It won't work at all in Konqueror, Safari, Opera, Omniweb amongst others.
I'm a little confused about why it's not working in my Mozilla browser, but at least that's starting to explain things. Any ideas about my handcoding the XML?
I figured this out. After I updated to Firefox 1.5 (I was on 1.0.6, I was surprised to discovery), those buttons appeared. You may want to add a FAQ for OS X users to use Firefox 1.5 rather than Safari or any other Mac browser.
So the only issue remaining is the uploading of files. For now I can use space on my server, but I'll run out of space relatively quickly doing that...
Are you seeing any errors? As I mentioned above, this hasn't been tested in the OS X environment, so this may be where the issues lie.
Feel free to take this conversation to e-mail if it's not of sufficient general interest.
I do have a Windows machine available, but it's going to add another step to what's already a mildly complex process...
I just tried uploading this on a Windows machine, and no luck. It acted as if it was downloading for what seemed like the appropriate length of time (probably 15-20 minutes for a 39MB file), and then...it's not there.
How big is the file? Have you converted it to MP3? What browser are you using?
Sorry for the delay. You are right about the size, that was the problem. I increased the max file size to 64 megabytes so please try to do the upload again.
The specific changes I would like to make are:
- Hiding the Menu options, because my students won't need them and their presence will cause confusion; and
- Add a FeedBlitz or RMail subscription form.
I have attempted to get the recordings of my first 2 classes up but I have been unsucessful...
I have installed MakeMP3 on to my computer. I can see the icon on my desk top. I can see the folder classcaster in my documents and a folder inside for archives. I named the files on my digitasl recorder Jan. 12, 2006.wmp. I tried to drop on the icon for makemp3 and nothing happens...
where have I gone wrong?
Two problems here. Don't use commas or periods in the names of files. Try a name like ...
Second problem is the 'wmp'. The file format coming from the Olympus WS-100 is 'wma' and if you change it, MakeMP3/ffmpeg will get confused about what it is converting.
Hope that helps. Regards,
Made these changes and it is still ignoring me... Named jan122006.wma. When I drag the doc and drop a black box comes up and goes away really quickly... But when I check the folder it is empty...
Can you think of anything else.
Just double-checking - you are looking for the converted file in...
c:\documents and settings\<your windows login>\mydocuments\classcaster
I will call you tomorrow to follow up.
I had the same problem as Danne Johnson. The file extension is wma. It is a small file 3.6 kbps. You indicated in the forum that you would call. I had our tech person look at it and was unable to troubleshoot. Please advise.
Would you check the following for me before trying John's alternative:
- Are you using Windows XP?
- Is ffmpeg.exe installed in c:\program files\ffmpeg?
- Do the folders c:\documents and settings\<USERNAME>\My Documents\classcaster and classcaster\archives exist?
- Is your PC configured to save documents to a network?
Part of my problem was that the username was defaulting to djohnson, my actual username is djohnson.ocu. There were some additional problem that the tech people were working on.
I have moved on the SWITCH as the converter. Are there any problems that I should be aware of?
My recorder arrived today and I hope to tape my first podcast sometime this week. In the interim, a question. I am posting summaries but occassionally still record a class for a student who is absent for a good reason. I am still considering whether I want to generally post those lectures. If I decide not to, Is it possible to have a passworded section or separate page for classes so that these are made available to those students?
- Login to the admin section of your blog.
- Click on Control Center.
- Click on Secret Post under Security Plugins.
- You may need to refresh the page to clear the cache so the link shows up.
- You may need to refresh the page to clear the cache so the link shows up.
- Enable the plugin.
- Below the Topic entry is password_field. This is where you can enter the password for the post if it is so protected.
- In the right hand menu column, beneath the Categories list is a check box to Enable Password Protection for this post. If you check it and include a password in the password_field only folks with the password will be able to read the post.
I tried to put the play it now link in the blog and the voices come out twice as fast... HELP
<p>Play It Now! <object width="17" height="17" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://www.classcaster.org/button/musicplayer.swf?&song_url=http://johnsons_civ_pro_ii.classcaster.org/blog/resource/podcast/download/Jan102006.wma.mp3&">
<param name="movie" value="http://www.classcaster.org/button/musicplayer.swf?&song_url=http://johnsons_civ_pro_ii.classcaster.org/blog/resource/podcast/download/Jan102006.wma.mp3&" />
<img width="17" height="17" src="noflash.gif" />
The sample rate on the files is not right. How are you converting the files from WMA to MP3? The sample rate needs to be at least 22050 to work with Flash and the sample rate on your files is listed as 16000. If you let me know how you are doing the conversion, I can help you correct the sample rate so the Flash player works.
Please make sure that your WS-100 recorder is set to record in HQ mode. See this FAQ for instructions on changing the recording mode. Once you are recording in HQ mode, the sample rate will be fine to use wit the 'Play it now' feature.
I want to add a link to Professor Martin's Battle of the Forms podcast.
Is that possible?
Here's the link to the blog post on CALI_radio...
... or link directly to the podcast itself...
Might be best to link to both.
I seem to recall that at one time you recommend audacity to edit audio files. Is that still true? If I use it, do I use "their" mp3 converter or will the one you recommended for the Olympus files work for that too?
Audacity is great for editing and free.
Get it here... http://audacity.sourceforge.net
You cannot open WMA files (the ones that come from the Olympus) directly in Audacity, so you will need to use ffmpeg or Switch to conver the file to something that Audacity can read like WAV or MP3. In this situation, I suggest converting to WAV so that there is no loss of fidelity and then opening/editing in Audacity and saving as MP3.
Is it also possible to see how many people have subscribed to the feed? They may only visit the blog infrequently. I can tell how many people have subscribed to the email option I set up by going to FeedBlitz, but I don't know how to check stats on the regular feed.
P.S. Elmer, thanks for tagging all our blogs at del.icio.us.
The picture shows where to hold the two pieces and the lotted line shows where the two pieces seperate.
The lockup problem sounds just like the school's network firewall stopping the download in the middle as an illegal download prevention system.
The same thing could be happening with student computers that are attaching to the school network. The same download prevention could be in place for any computer on the school network, but it could be somehow enabled for faculty or staff computers. It's worth having a conversation with the local tech support folks to see if there is something they can do.
Beyond checking with local support about any network/firewall issues, check with the students to see if they are able play other sound files.
I just posted a summary in which I went over the answer to a sample question. I would like to post a copy of the question (.rtf or .pdf) on my blog. Please tell me if I can do this, and if so, how.
Use the same process to upload the file to your blog (as explained in the FAQ here)
Then you do the same thing as with an MP3 by attaching the file to a blog post as decribed in the FAQ here.
The system doesn't care whether its an MP3 or an RTF file.
The sample rate for your podcasts is till less than 22,050 which is the lowest sample rate that Flash know how to deal with. Since you are recording in HQ mode, it must be something in Switch that is causing the problem. Check the 'Encoder Settings' button in Switch and make sure that the sample rate is set to 22,050.
How do I phone in a recoring for my blog? I did this once before as a sample and it worked. I tried to call in and the recording won't recoginize my 10 digit number and my pin combination.. How do I reset the system for this purpose... I need to do this because I did 1/2 of the class with the recorder off...
Elmer and/or John
I noticed that there are statistics generated, and I like that it tells me the number of hits to the blog -- but I don't understand the more detailed statitics... Is there anyway to see which particular posts are being hit?
I am posting summaries for my Contracts classes as part of the project and lectures (passworded so not part of the project) for my Civil Procedure class. I am curious if I can discover which students are using the posting...
One thing that it is not possible for the system to do is to tell which students, or anyone else for that matter, are accessing a blog. We do not identify users, so there is no way to tell who is using the blog.
Thanks for the response. While it would be nice to know WHICH students are using the posts, I am more than willing to settle for which posts are being hit.
Because I am posting summaries for my Contracts class for the CALI project and passworded class lectures for my Civil Procedure class, I would like to know whether the Contracts students are using the summaries or my Civ Pro students are listening to the lectures.
Please let me know if this becomes available.
One of the features we hope to add to Classcaster for the fall is the ability to easily add authors to a blog and to allow a single author to have multiple blogs.
How do students add comments? One student told me he "clicked" on comment and it would not allow him to add one.
I have checked ENABLE COMMENTS --- is there something special we need to do.
To further deter comment spam, I strongly recommend using the 'AuthImage' feature which requires comment posters to enter a number that mathces one displayed in a box. Details on setting up AuthImage are available here.
Remember that the templates are sperate from the data in your blog, so changing templates only changes the way your blog looks, not the content in it.
I would like to add my podcasts to iTunes. It appears from our contract that this would be permissible but if I am incorrect please let me know. Podcasts distributed via iTunes are free, Apple doesn't charge for them.
My second question is has anyone tried this? I tried submitting them and iTunes said it didn't find any episodes. I went back and renamed each post Episode 01, Episode 02 etc ... and it still said it couldn't find any episodes. I have e-mailed Apple but that might take a while. Jim Milles at U of Buffalo who distributes his podcast via iTunes thought the problem might be that Classcaster might not support ID3 tagging.
FYI to submit a podcast you go to the iTunes store, click podcast, click submit a podcast and then paste in the RSS feed. Any ideas?
ID3 tagging is supported by the MP3s that you are posting to Classcaster, but it requires using a seperate tool, like Audacity to edit the tags. I have looked at a number of utilites that make editing these tags easier, but haven't found anything light-weight enough yet.
Lee, please try adding your feed again.
I'll be adding detailed instructions in the FAQ over the weekend.
I just tried adding them and had some problems. First I tried posting the RSS feed in as the address and it still said you have no episodes. Then I tried posting just the URL from the classcaster blog and it said the following:
Error Parsing Feed: Error on line 187, the element li must be terminated by a matching tag.
I asked our Apple rep about this problem and here was his reponse (which I haven't replied to yet)
Elmer - Thanks for your continued help on this feature that is not essential but would be nice.
It is important to note that merely putting sound files on the net and linking top them does not 'create' a podcast. Proper podcasting includes blog entries with links to audio (or video, but not on Classcaster yet) files that are formatted in such a way that the blog generates an RSS 2.0 feed that includes specific tags identifying the media file as an enclosure that is to be included with the post. Using Classcaster to create a podcasting blog post is outlined in this FAQ. If you follow these steps, your blog will generate an RSS feed that the iTunes Store will recognize.
I followed the steps you outlined and iTunes accepted my blog. Thanks for all your help and please forgive my not following the simple instructions you all gave out early on in the semester about adding podcasts to the blog. When I originally tried to do it that way I couldn't get it to work. The revision process was very easy.
You're welcome, and thank you and all the rest of the Classcasters for your patience as we work through this together.
I will be posting the long awaited FAQ item on submitting your podcast to iTunes just as soon as I wrap up processing of the AALS podcasts.
I'm not sure which topic area is appropriate for this question, so I will just put it here.
I was wondering about the feedback that CALI is planning to collect from students on this project. Is there a survey? Something else? Is there anything available now?
I ask because, as we approach mid-semester I would like to solicit initial feedback from my students. I like to get mid-semester feedback so that, if they have useful comments and suggestions, I can try and adjust for the second half of the semester.
I think now would be a good time to ask my contracts students as they have their midterm later this morning and the comments from students (as well as hits on the blog) indicate that many more of them have actually used it in the past few days (not at all a surprise...)
ALOS, I also want to take a moment to thank you (Elmer and John) for consistently providing PROMPT and HELPFUL responses to all the questions. For me at least, you have truly facilitatied participation in this project.
I have created a new Disucussion Topic for this to solicit your input on questions. In a week, I will turn this into an online survey where you can direct your students.
I assume that we want to be able to distinguish between your students and other students - so we will either need as many surveys as their are participants or ask the students what class they are in. Do I assume correctly?
The problem is that students may be reluctant to share what is perceived as an evaluation (especially if they have negative thoughts to share) in the middle of the semester. Perhaps I am being too sensitive.
As for student reluctance, I think as long as it's anonymous, it would be minimized.
Thanks, Elmer. We have it working.
I had to use a different URL for the link than you recommended. When we used index.php?op=submissionForm the link went to http://aelr_blog.classcaster.org/blog/aelr_blog/page/index.php?op=submissionForm, which gave us a bunch of error messages, so I took out "page/" and pasted in the entire URL http://aelr_blog.classcaster.org/blog/aelr_blog/index.php?op=submissionForm and that worked.
I tried setting up the submissionForm plugin using the instructions here but I'm having some problems:
First, my submission form only displays three fields: one for the title of the post, one for the body, and one for the category. Here is my form. I think this is an incompatibility with the template I am using (dots) because when I "view source" I see the other two fields (name and e-mail address) but they're not rendering on my screen. Do I need to switch templates?
Second, for whatever reason, sometimes I can't get the submissionForm to load. This seems to occur whenever I switch to the form and then use the "back" button to go back to my blog without submitting something. The next time I click the "Submit" link, it just reloads the main blog. It may also be a OS or browser-specific incompatibility (I'm using Mac OS X with Firefox and Safari).
Thanks for any help. I'm very impressed with classcaster.
University of Colorado School of Law
Longer term, I'll try to hunt down the bug in the template, but that will take some time.
Also, I found an error in the FAQ that breaks the link you created for the form. The correct format for the URL to enter on the links page is '/index.php?op=submissionForm' (ignore the quotes). The initial '/' was missing and that caused the URL that was created to be broken. Adding the '/' to the link will open the form. I've corrected the FAQ.
Thanks for the quick response! It took me two weeks to think to check back in the forum.
I'm still having problems with the second problem I listed in my original question:
"Second, for whatever reason, sometimes I can't get the submissionForm to load. This seems to occur whenever I switch to the form and then use the "back" button to go back to my blog without submitting something. The next time I click the "Submit" link, it just reloads the main blog. It may also be a OS or browser-specific incompatibility (I'm using Mac OS X with Firefox and Safari)."
It still seems to be the case that sometimes I get in a state where I just can't get the form to reload. Clicking "Submit an Article" just returns me to my main classcaster blog, even the URL correctly reflects the /index.php?op=submissionForm subpath. Not only does this occur when I hit the "back" button, it also seems to happen when I surf away from the form to another site. It's as if some state condition is getting flagged and then never reset.
Of course, it's slightly strange that Safari _would_ show the form occasionally.
Thanks again for your help, Elmer. Now, it's off to mess with the templates to see if I can use this look-and-feel with the forms.
I fixed the overlapping submission fields problem at my classcaster blog by playing around with the template files. It seems (and I may have some of these details wrong) that the submissionForm php function pulls in the header.template and footer.template files from the template, but it neglects the main.template. This is probably so the two sidebars don't show during submission.
Well, my particular template needed a "<div id='content'>" at the start of the main body content to make all the CSS goodness render properly. Without that, it shoved everything to the top of the page.
My solution? I moved the offending <div> tag from main.template to header.template. It seems to have worked.
I use the same process as posting a podcast. First upload the jpg using the NEW FILE link, then clicking on the INSERT RESOURCE button (do not use the IMAGE) button when composing the blog post.
Here's the FAQ item.
I think this will work...
Click on this link
...and it should take you to the login screen for your blog administration.
All I did was go to your blog and then append "/admin.php" to the end of the url.
I changed my blog to allow comments (as you instructed) and it works wonderfully -- only now I'm getting whole series of comments to one my postings and I'm fairly certain they are not from my students...
Is anyone else experiencing this problem?
Do I just need to go back to not permitting comments on the open blog (allowing it only on passworded posting?)
Your thoughts and guidance is appreciated.
Here is the solution.
Login to adminster to your blog.
Go to CONTROL CENTER.
Under ANTI-SPAM MANAGEMENT click on AuthImage.
Check the checkbox that will ENABLE THIS PLUGIN.
Pick one of the backgrounds as the default background image.
What this does is require that anyone entering a comment type in a short (3 characters or whatever you specified) alpha-numeric code that is displayed as a graphic image so that automated comment spam bots cannot read them - it requires a human to read.
This present automated spam. It doesn't prevent persistent spam vandals, but they are much more rare and go away usually.
I can't seem to get on my Classcaster page (since last night). Is there a problem?
I was wandering through the blogs of some of the other project participants and now I have a quesiton... How do I get the number of reads per posting like Professor Ogden has?
Okay, with the help of Bill Childs, I edited my podcast in audacity, exported it in the reduced file size, and uploaded it back up to classcaster. Now, however, it plays like I am one of he Christmas chipmunks. Please, Elmer or John, tell me where I have gone wrong or please fix it!!
Please help --
A few things --
How do I remove CALIConf06 from my dashboard?
How do I delete files from last semester that I'm no longer using (when I try to delete it tells me it is being used by articles but I don't know how or where it is being used)
How do students subscribe to the blog so that it automatically downloads. This semester i want to include the instructions in my course memo (which I left until the last minute and have to put out today...)
One of the things about Classcaster is that post are never really deleted, just hidden. When you mark posts as deleted, they are held in the database but not displayed publicly. If you delete media files, including MP3 podcasts, they are removed from the system. I'm not sure where your error is cropping up at. Are you deleting posts, files, categories, or folders? (or all 4?)
You can find details on subscribing and downloading podcasts in the FAQs. Here is info on subscribing to a Classcaster blog in iTunes and downloading podcasts and other media files. You can also add your Clascaster blog to the iTunes Music Store.
With respect to CALIConf06 - I would prefer NOT to have to ignore it -- it takes up half the screen and is distracting. If I can't remove it, can I at least hide it?
I managed to delete some folders. I had to delete the contents before it would allow me to delete the folders. I still don't seem to be able to delete categories, but am still trying.
Details on removing categories are here. You will need to reassign all of the deleted articles to a different category. I'd recommend that you create a deleted category and then clear the 'Show in Front Page' check box so the category is not listed on the blog.