#TechTipThursday: Basics of Audacity


Audacity is a free open source software that enables users to record live audio, playback, or convert recorded audio into CDs, fulfilling a variety of needs both recreational and pedagogical.

Consider adding a voice recording to supplement a visual presentation on Canvas: this could be a viable option whenever unforeseen situations arise that require an instructor’s attention elsewhere. Professors can quickly record a narrative of instructions/presentations for students, keeping the course current despite an inability to provide in-person instruction. Audacity is also a great tool for recording podcasts, which can add variety to instructional methods and cater to different learning styles.

For students, Audacity is an excellent resource for creating project presentations with voice overs especially for online or hybrid courses. This could also provide students the option to record lectures as a study tool throughout the semester.  For the arts, Audacity offers a way for students to create and record original music compositions, practice characterizations or record inspirations behind art exhibits.

This post will walk readers through basic use of Audacity. To begin, you’ll need to download the program. Navigate to audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ and select the “download” button. The download should start automatically and, when finished, will launch the Set Up Wizard to prompt you through the installation process. Launch Audacity to follow along below.

  1. You can start to record by pressing the red circle Capture
  2. Once you’ve started the recording, you should notice a scrolling grey field displaying your audio input in blue. To stop a recording, you can press the blue pause button and continue recording when ready. To end the recording of your current track, press the yellow stop button Capture2
  3. Note that you can record multiple tracks and adjust their placements and volumes using the tools in the menu at the top of your screen Capture3
  4. Please watch our instructional video on the functions of the Select, Envelope, Draw, Zoom, Time Shift, and Multi-Tool functions located in the top menu of your screen 
  5. Once you have completed your recording, you can save and/or edit the audio by navigating to “File” then “Save” or “Export Audio” Capture4
  6.  When saving or exporting, simply select the destination and desired name of the track and click “Save” Capture5

Our team is able to offer assistance as you learn to use this program or are ready to take the next step in finding a way to connect this technology to predetermined student learning outcomes. If you have any difficulty replicating the steps given in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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