RealAudio for Class Web Materials (or, Going it Alone)
This is merely a "how-to" moment in the conference. I found an easy
(and free) way to record audio files in my office and stream them out from
my office computer via a standard web page. If you're fortunate enough
to have a server at your institution that has streaming capabilities, then
none of this will be of interest to you. This talk is for those of us who
wish to do what "can't be done," and find ourselves going it alone.
Assuming that you can appreciate the value of adding audio and video
files to your web-based course materials, I'll dispense with the pep talk.
I'll also assume you understand the difference between a file which must
be downloaded in toto before you can use it, and one that is streamed
out. In the case of a large audio or video file over a dial-up connection,
the difference is critical.
If you have a current RealPlayer on your computer, you can inspect what
I did at
If you don't have a RealPlayer, you should get one. They're free at www.real.com,
though they'll make you hunt around for it. (Full URLs are provided in
the Appendix.) Let's get to work.
Hardware You Need
A computer with a sound card.
A microphone that plugs into the sound card.
A computer with a static IP number. You can find out whether you have one
by asking your network administrator. If you do, you can see it by doing
Run ? winipcfg (in Windows 95/98 for PC.) It's called the IP Address.
Software You Need
The free RealProducer downloaded and installed.
The free RealServer downloaded and installed.
A web page with a valid link to the file.
Download and install the freeware RealProducer and RealServer from www.real.com.
(See Appendix for the direct URLs.) Start both programs.
Use your microphone and Real Producer's session wizard to create your audio
file. The wizard makes the process very intuitive. You'll see what to do.
Record about ten minutes of noise and call the "sound.rm." This is just
a demonstration, remember? Save the file in the default directory, which
is c:\program files\real\realserver\content.
Create a link to the file on a page somewhere on your website. The link
has this syntax: http://9188.8.131.52:8080/ramgen/sound.rm, where 9184.108.40.206
is your IP Address. The IP Address directs the link to your computer, and
the 8080 tells it what port it's to use to get access to the files. "ramgen"
tells RealServer that it's time to get to work. It looks for the file in
its default directory, which is way down there at c:\program files\real\realserver\content.
When it finds it, it starts streaming it back out. Then, when the file
first touches your computer -and if you've created the correct file extension
association - your computer will spawn RealPlayer. After a few seconds
of buffering, your file will play.
Imagine the Possibilities
Anything that can be digitized can be streamed out over the Internet. You
can record and post class lectures. If you teach a foreign language, you
can record texts or conversations in your office and post them to the class.
You can set up an audio FAQ for particularly nasty difficulties that students
have year after year. If you have a video capture card, you can convert
and post short clips from films. You can add coordinated audio tracks to
PowerPoint presentations and post them. The mind boggles.
URL Appendix (Current as of July 12, 2001)
Player Basic 8.0: http://proforma.real.com/real/player/player.html?src=010709realhome_1,010613rpchoice_h1&dc=713712711
This file was last updated on 17 July 2001.
Please send your comments to Michael
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