One of the most powerful features of the podcast is subscription: the ability for end users to subscribe to a podcast series and have new episodes automatically delivered to their machines as they are published by the podcast series' creator. The subscription process is made possible through RSS, an incredibly powerful and perhaps little-understood internet technology. All of the podcasts that appear on the iTunes Store do so by using the RSS file, which "sits" on the file server that is used by the creator of the podcast series.
In this presentation Dr. Tyson will show attendees how this technology works. He will then go through the process of creating the RSS file, commonly called the index.xml file. You will actually see what an index.xml file looks like in a text editor (One is pictured in this post.), learn how to code your own index.xml file from a sample you can use as a template, and learn about some very inexpensive tools that can write this file for you. Finally, he will show attendees the simple steps used to have your podcast series appear on the iTunes Store--which is completely free of charge. Yes, you and your students' work can go into immediate global distribution!
This session is by no means "rocket science," yet it does have a higher "geek factor." Dr. Tyson says, "If I can figure all of this out on my own, anyone can learn to do it with a little bit of guidance!" However, participants who have access to a file server, have a rudimentary understanding of ftp, and are already comfortable writing basic web page html will find this session easier to understand "on first blush." Even without that background, don't immediately assume you will not understand this! Most attendees will find this session helpful in adding to their understanding of this power-packed technology!