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Welcome to the massive open online course (MOOC) “Listen up! How to Launch and Grow a Hit Podcast” from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. This is a free course open to anyone interested in podcasting — from students who just want to understand more about this rapidly maturing medium to people with podcast ideas who’d like to jumpstart the creation of their own podcast by understanding the steps involved. This is an intro-level class, but taught by experts.

Registering in the platform is easy. Please follow these steps:

  • 1. Create an account in the Journalism Courses system. Even if you’ve taken a course with us before, you may need to create a new account. Check to see if your previous username and password work before creating a new account.
  • 2. Wait for a confirmation in your email indicating that your account has been created. If you do not receive this, please check your spam folder.
  • 3. Log into the platform, scroll down until you see the course listings, and click on the “Listen up! How to launch and grow a hit podcast” course.
  • 4. A button will appear. Click “Enroll” to enroll yourself in the course. You will be able to access the course from the “My Courses” menu at the top of the page.
  • 5. You will receive an email confirming your enrollment.

Please add the email addresses knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu and ryansagare@utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.

For the next five weeks, some of the smartest and most accomplished podcast professionals will help steer you through the world of podcasts, from developing an idea, producing and editing it, and making sure it grows and sustains itself.

Our main objective is to prepare you to make or pitch a pilot episode of a podcast.

You will learn what the larger podcast landscape looks like and how it came to be, understand the process of developing an idea from a kernel to something that could possibly win a pitch fest or accelerator from someone who’s done it, get an introduction to audio editing software, learn how to reach and engage an audience, and then how to think about making money off of your idea.

All of our instructors are accomplished podcast pros who will walk you through their area of expertise. The modules that each instructor will be teaching are organized by natural progression, but there will be some overlap.

This course is open to anyone who feels like the podcasting boom that’s been happening for the past few years may have passed you by; you’ve got all the time in the world to make something great that we all need to hear.

All podcast enthusiasts are welcome here—from students who just want to understand more about this rapidly maturing medium or for people with podcast ideas who’d like to jumpstart the creation of their own podcast by understanding the steps involved. This is an intro-level class, but taught by experts.

This course requires that you have a computer with an Internet browser. All work is done online. You should download a free audio editing tool so that you can familiarize yourself with waveforms on a timeline, and ideally you should have a smartphone that comes with an audio recording app:

Free audio recording apps can be found here:

Voice Memo for Apple

Google for Android

Subscribe to a newsletter to get some updates on the industry and new shows that are emergent. I recommend this one, by German podcast writer Sara Weber.

First of all, note that this is an asynchronous course. That means there are no live events scheduled at specific times. You can log in to the course and complete activities throughout the week at your own pace, at the times and on the days that are most convenient for you.

Despite its asynchronous nature, there are still structures in place for the duration of the course.

The material is organized into five weekly modules. Each module will be taught by Caitlin Thompson, Tobin Low, Rose Eveleth, Jacob Kramer-Duffield, and Jennifer Barish and will cover a different topic through videos, presentations, readings and discussion forums. There will be a quiz each week to test the knowledge you've gained through the course materials. The weekly quizzes, and weekly participation in the discussion forums, are the basic requirements for earning a certificate of participation at the end of the course.

This course is very flexible, and if you are behind with the materials, you have the entire length of the course to complete them. We do recommend you complete each of the following before the end of each week so you don’t fall behind:

  • Video lectures
  • Readings and handouts/exercises
  • Participation in the discussion forums
  • Quizzes covering concepts from video lectures and/or readings

Introduction Module: Listen up! How to launch and grow a hit podcast

In this introductory module, you will start to understand the basics of podcasting, from the overall landscape to how the history of podcasting helps explain today’s opportunity and how that knowledge can help you create and launch your own idea.

Module 1: Podcast 101 with Caitlin Thompson

This week you will get a landscape overview of podcasting.

This module will cover:

  • Where we’ve been
  • Where we are now
  • How it all works

Module 2: Show development with Tobin Low

This week you will learn how to shape an idea into a podcast pitch.

This module will cover:

  • The basics of developing a new show
  • The questions you should be able to answer when pitching a podcast
  • How to start defining your production needs

Module 3: Production basics with Rose Eveleth

This week you will learn about the myriad ways that podcasts are actually made.

This module will cover:

  • Recording tools and techniques
  • Basic tape editing and processing
  • How to get your final product out into the world

Module 4: Podcast analytics and audience engagement – what it is and where it’s going with Jacob Kramer-Duffield

This week you will learn about just what we mean when we say “analytics” in podcasting.

This module will cover:

  • The history and structure of measurement and standards
  • Some of the baseline numbers that the industry revolves around
  • Where things are headed

Module 5: Sales and commercial viability with Jennifer Barish

This week you will learn about different revenue models in podcasting and its implications for media companies and independent creators.

This module will cover:

  • The wild world of podcast ads (past, present, and future)
  • Crowdfunding & premium subscription models
  • Revenue expectations vs. reality

Caitlin Thompson is a journalist who specializes in print and audio, and is the co-founder of Racquet magazine. She's worked as a development executive at WNYC, as content director for podcast platform Acast, in digital and multimedia roles at TIME, The Washington Post and in public television. She thinks the future of podcasting sounds like women and people of color.

Tobin Low is the co-host and co-managing editor of Nancy He also served as a producer on the first season of More Perfect. His work has appeared on Marketplace, Studio 360, and the Codebreaker podcast. Tobin is a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop, and was selected by the Association of Independents in Radio to be a New Voices Scholar in 2014.

Rose Eveleth is a producer, reporter, writer and host who explores how humans tangle with science and technology. She’s the creator and host of a podcast about the future called Flash Forward, a show about possible, and not so possible futures. She's covered everything from fake tumbleweed farms to million dollar baccarat heists to sexist prosthetics and more. She helped launch ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcast, and has worked at The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, Nautilus Magazine, TED and CBS. Her work has appeared in Racked, Scientific American, Eater, The New York Times, Fusion, VICE, Five Thirty Eight and more.

Jacob Kramer-Duffield, Ph.D. is a podcast analytics and audience consultant; a researcher, writer, and instructor. He received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science in 2010, and began working in the podcast and digital media industry the following year. At New York Public Radio he was the first Manager of Digital Analytics and Research and established the digital analytics functions for WNYC, one of the industry leaders in podcasting. He subsequently led analytics at New York Magazine, and was Director of Data Science and Analytics at Panoply, one of the leading podcast networks. He has taught at Drexel University in the School of Computing and Informatics, and has consulted on analytics, audience, and strategy for NGOs, startups, and media organizations.

Jenny Barish has worked across sales, marketing, and business development for top podcast companies like Panoply, Acast, and Midroll Media. She was the first hire on Panoply’s sales team and worked with brands like GE, Amazon, and Netflix. Jenny also led branded content sales at Acast and currently works on content acquisition for Stitcher Premium, the market-leading podcast subscription platform. She started her career as a business fellow at The Atlantic where she learned the ropes of the digital media industry. Jenny hails from the Chicago suburbs and studied Strategic Communications at Ithaca College. Her favorite podcasts right now are Caliphate, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, Why Won’t You Date Me with Nicole Bayer, and Ologies.

A certificate of completion is available for those who meet all of the course requirements, and pay online an administrative fee of $30 (thirty U.S. dollars), using a credit card. After the course ends, the Knight Center will send a message with an online form you can submit, if you are interested in the certificate. The online form will be available during the last week of the course. After the form closes, the Knight Center team will verify if you fulfilled the course requirements. This process takes at least a week after the form closes. After confirmation of course requirements, the Knight Center will send a message through the course platform with confirmation that you fulfilled the course requirements and you qualify for the certificate. In this message we will also send you instructions for how to make payment.

Those who meet all of the course requirements will be able to download a PDF version of a certificate of completion. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas awards the certificate to attest to students' participation in the online course, and no formal course credit of any kind is associated with it.

If you'd like to receive a certificate of completion for the course, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete weekly quizzes with a minimum score of 70% by the weekly deadline.
  • Watch weekly video lectures and review weekly readings.
  • Participate in at least one discussion forum each week by the given deadline.

If all requirements are met, an electronic certificate will be emailed to the student.

Please add the email addresses ryansagare@utexas.edu and knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.

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