Webcast Academy Miracle Workers

At the beginning of the summer, I set a personal and professional goal that I would learn how to be a webcaster like the experts on the ‘Women of WoW; or ‘Teachers Teaching Teachers’ shows. I enrolled in the webcast academy led by the wonderful leaders Jeff Lebow and Doug Symington.

Initially, I had some difficulty with the first assignments but I eventually was successful after following the directions at the website. The second assignment was not so easy.

The second assignment was to record both end of a call on Skype. It sounded easy enough but I noticed there was an additional software program that was needed to make this successful and a USB microphone or headset was required for this process. So I followed the directions and started off on my adventure to complete my assignment.


Things weren’t going so well so I asked my husband to assist me. My husband has a degree in programming and is the Assistant Director for Technical Services in a school district here in town so I thought he would be able to find my problem. We spent several more hours trying to find out why I kept getting an echo when using the program Audacity to record the two way Skype call. Needless to say I was frustrated. He tried on his desktop computer and followed the steps in the screencast video created by Jeff Lebow to demonstrate this process. Instantly it worked for him.

But I wanted to resolve the problem on the laptop I use. I gave up for that evening. Each day that week I tried again and again thinking maybe this time I will get the settings correct using the repeater of the Virtual Audio Cables software used when recording in Audacity. I had no clue what I was adjusting but I tried every combination known to man to get the settings right and still not much luck.

Hour after hour passed and one night I noticed a tweet from Jose Rodriguez. I tweeted back that I was having difficulties and the next thing I knew Jose rounded up Doug and we were using Yugma to look at my settings and share my desktop. Mind you, this was 1:45am CST! My husband was asleep next to me as Jose, Doug and I worked to resolve the echo problem. After about an hour we gave up. Jose and Doug prescribed a 12 hour holiday from trying to fix the problem and I heeded their advice.

By this time I lost count how many hours but I know it was over ten and I was particularly frustrated and discouraged. I tried another hour or two and then gave up and waited for the next webmaster academy class to begin so that we could again share my desktop and review all of the settings with Jeff Lebow and the other webmasters out there. Jeff Lebow and Doug guided me to check this setting and that setting and we were getting nowhere.

Then Jeff asked me to go back to Audacity to look at the preferences a second or third time – I lost count. Jeff suggested that I remove both checks on the Play Through options in the Audio preferences.

Preferences in Audacity Screenshot

As you can see in the yellow circle below, I removed the check marks that activated those two options in the preferences. After removing the checks marks I pressed OK and we tried to record again to see if the echo was suppressed. (Click on the picture for larger image.)
After struggling for about 30 minutes with the community of webcasters, I tried again. I must say I wasn’t feeling especially optimistic. I started the repeater, started recording in Audacity and lo and behold, no echo! Both sides of the Skype call could be heard loud and clear without any echo anywhere.

Talk about relief! I was thinking that I was going to have to move to a different computer if I wanted to webcast and while that wasn’t a terrible option, it wasn’t the favored option for me. I was thrilled and mute the microphone in the Skype and yelled out to my husband that the webcast pros fixed it and worked another miracle again!

Up after me was another webcast academy intern and after about 20 minutes another miracle by Jeff and Doug occured! Several people that night experienced the tech savvy experience and assistance and had problems resolved to move each of us one step close to webcasting. These generous men give of their time and talents each week solely to share their knowledge to create new webcasters who share their knowledge with others further repeating this cyle an infinite number of times.

While we each celebrated when our technical problems were resolved and graciously thanked Jeff and Doug, the two will never know just how many people’s journey of learning have been dramatically changed, improved and furthered by their time, efforts and words. I recorded the details of this episode solely to spotlight these two educators and webcasters so that others who are experiencing similar technical difficulties will be encouraged, persist and be tenacious about tackling these difficulties. The obstacles will come but with their assistance you can be confident the obstacle will be overcome and spur you on to bigger and betters things in webcasting.