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In this course, author Chris Mattia helps educators create online courses that complement classroom-based instruction and foster student interaction using the free learning management system Moodle. The course details the basics of setting up a test environment, disseminating course information, creating forums, and assessing student progress. Tutorials on building course materials with Moodle's built-in HTML editor, preparing and posting various types of media, uploading assignments, and evaluating tests automatically are also included.
Another type of media file that many teachers find is incredibly helpful as a teaching tool is audio files. Audio files can be used in a whole variety of different ways within your teaching. And Moodle allows you to very easily post audio files. It can post MP3, WAV, AIFF, several different other formats as well. The trick is getting Moodle to play the files, and in this movie I'll step you through a series of compression techniques using a very easy and common tool that's available on all platforms, the iTunes music player, and in order to compress a series of audio files.
Now we're going to start off in a Chapter 04 exercise files. There's an Audio folder and inside of there is a folder called RAW, and inside of here I've created a whole series of audio recordings of myself simply saying the name of a bunch of different Coral Reef species. I'll go ahead and play one of these for you now, so you can hear what we're going to use. Acropora palmata. They are pretty basic files. The size of the file is about 2.9 MB, but we can do better than that, and the default file format that I left them in after I recorded them are QuickTime movies.
Now what we want is we want to get them first converted into AIFF so that they have the correct bit rate, and then we're going to go ahead recompress these files into MP3 files that are appropriately compressed for displaying within the Moodle browser, and they will play within the default players. Let's begin by opening up a copy of iTunes. Now if you don't have a copy of iTunes, you can go to www.apple.com/itunes and download a copy for free. Get it installed on your machine and once you've iTunes set up all, you need to do is go into the RAW folder.
Now if you're using a Mac, go ahead and use the RAW Mac folder, and all of these files are MOV files or QuickTime movies. If you're using Windows go ahead and go into the RAW Windows folder, and that folder has a bunch of WAV or WAV files, which is more common on the Windows platform. Go ahead and click on the first file and then press Command+A, or Ctrl+A, on your keyboard to select all of the files. Then simply drag them all down into the iTunes music player, and iTunes will go ahead and automatically import all of those files for you.
I'm going to go ahead and minimize my Finder window and my browser to get them both out of my way for right now, so we can just focus on iTunes. And the next thing that's helpful is to add another column of information here. Either Ctrl+Click or right-click on the menu bar at the top and you will get a dropdown menu that lists all of the additional headings that you can add. Come down until you find the Kind option. Select Kind and we're going to go ahead and get rid of the sidebar here for Ping, and I'm going to grab right here in between the Kind.
I'm going to drag that out a little bit, so you can clearly see that all of these files that we have are now QuickTime files. The next thing we need to do is to go ahead and change our compression settings within iTunes. So if you're on a Mac, go up to the iTunes menu; on a PC go to the Edit menu, and then select Preferences or Settings. You want the General tab. Then you want to come about three quarters of the way down and find the section where it says, "When you insert a CD." Click on the button for Import Settings. The default settings here are generally set to AAC Encoder.
Click that dropdown menu, and we want to do the first step here, by converting all of these files to AIF files. So select the AIFF Encoder and then under Settings, instead of Automatic, choose Custom. The AIFF Encoder settings come up. What we want to do is hit the dropdown menu for Sample Rate. The player that's built into Moodle likes some multiple of 11.127 kHz. So we're going to select a 44.100 kHz as our default sample rate.
We're going to leave the Sample Size set to Auto and the Channel set to Auto and simply click OK. We'll click the OK button for the Import Settings, and then we'll click the OK button to close our Preferences. Click on the first item in our list of audio files, in this case Acropora_palmata, scroll down to the bottom, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and click on the bottom item, in this case Yellow_Tubes_Sponge. This selects all the files that we just imported. Go up to the Advanced menu and you'll notice you've a new option in here, Create AIFF Version.
Go ahead and click on that and iTunes will step through and automatically create a new version of each of these files for us in the new file format. You can see that all of those files have now shown up interspersed amongst the original QuickTime files. Now this would be a little tricky to go through and individually select each of these, but since we have the Kind heading, this is not a problem. Simply click on Kind and iTunes automatically sorts all of the audio files by Kind. We have the first step done.
Now we've to convert all these AIF files into a specifically configured MP3 file. So let's go back up to either the iTunes or the Edit menu and go down to Preferences or Settings, back to General, click on Import Settings again, and this time for Import Using, click the dropdown menu and choose MP3 Encoder. Again, click the dropdown menu for Settings and select Custom. This will bring up the MP3 Encoder settings. You want to set the Stereo Bit Rate down to 64 kbps.
You want to make sure that Using Variable Bit Rate Encoding or VBR is deselected. Under the Sample Rate click the dropdown menu and select the same 44.100 kHz that we selected in the previous step. Under Channels go ahead and select Stereo and under Stereo mode, make sure it's set to Joint Stereo. You want to uncheck the box for Smart Encoding Adjustments, and you do want to leave the box checked for Filter Frequencies Below 10 kHz.
So with these settings go ahead and click the OK button. iTunes will ask if you want to change your recommended settings. Just go ahead and leave those as they are, because you're probably going to use iTunes for some of your music as well. Click OK and click OK for the Preferences to close that window. Now this time when we go to select our files, simply click on Acropora_palmata at the top. Make sure you're getting the AIFF version. Scroll down until you find the Yellow_Tubes_Sponge. That's the last one of the AIFF versions. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on Yellow_Tubes_Sponge.
This will select all of just the AIFF files. Next, go back up to Advanced, and there again you have a new item to Create MP3 Version. Click the menu item for that, and now we can see that all of the MP3 versions of all of our files have been created for us. The final step with iTunes is to export these files out and into a folder on our desktop. Let's start by creating that folder on our desktop and either right-click or Ctrl+Click on the desktop and choose New Folder.
Name the file Audio and then simply click on the first Acropora_palmata for MP3 in iTunes, scroll down to the bottom of the MP3 listings, hold down the Shift key and click on the Yellow_Tubes_Sponge, and then simply click and drag all 34 files and drop them into the Audio folder. If you double-click on the Audio folder, you can now see that all those MP3s have been created. And I'm going to go ahead and play one of these files for us, so we can hear what the file sounds like now that it's been compressed.
(text-to-speech reader: Acropora palmata.) So this file that used to be 2.5 megabytes is now only 29 KB. The audio sounds pretty good, and we're ready to go ahead and post this up to our course. Not every audio file is going to compress with exactly these settings, so you may need to go through and try your audio files one by one to make sure that they all sound good with these particular settings. Now if you're also exporting music or some other type of audio, you may need to go in and adjust some of the settings.
But these setting should hold pretty well, and they will work with the Moodle player. Let's go ahead and close our folder here, and in order to upload a whole folder of files to Moodle, we first need to zip them. So either right-click or Ctrl+Click on the folder and on a Mac choose Compress Audio, on a PC choose Send to > Compress Zip, and our Audio.zip file has been created. We can then bring back up our web browser. We're back in Moodle, and we can go ahead and scroll down until we find our My private files section. Go ahead and click the Manage my private files button.
We can go into our BIOL432 course, and I'm going to go ahead and hit the Add button now. Make sure you've got the Upload a file item selected from your File picker on the left-hand side. Click the Browse button, and we should be at our Desktop already; if not, go ahead and navigate out to your desktop and select on the Audio.zip file. Go ahead and click the Open button. Hit the Upload this file. Audio.zip is right there. We can hit the little menu item next to it and say Unzip. Here is our _MACOSX file since we did this on the Mac, and we can just go and delete that resource if you're on a Mac.
Go ahead and hit the Yes button, and there we go. We have our Audio folder. We'll go ahead and click inside of there, and now we can see all of our MP3 files have been uploaded to Moodle. Go ahead and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and be sure to click the Save changes button so all those files remain in your private files section. And in the next movie, we'll show you how to post those audio files into your Moodle course.
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