Friday, 6 July 2007

Podcasting: A Teaching with Technology Whitepaper

The Office of Technology for Education and Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University's Ashley Deal shares a recent white paper on Podcasting.

Some findings, I found particularly interesting from this 15 page report (in their review of the literature) include the following:

  1. the availability of podcasts have no effect on lecture attendance

  2. students report listening to lecture podcasts at home or on a computer, rather than in a mobile environment with a portable device

  3. students see podcasts as helpful reviews..

  4. the RSS feed is critical for convenience of subscription and download

  5. if podcasts are thoughtfully approached, designed with clear educational goals in mind, and produced specifically to take advantage of the podcast format, the more beneficial they are reported to be. The medium itself is not intrinsically a value-add to students learning.

I think that concern over whether using podcasts might decrease lecture attendance is frequently voiced. However, this review suggests that "...studies have shown little or no impact on attendance when lecture recordings are no impact on attendance when lecture recordings are made available on a class by- class basis...". Not to suggest that all podcasts are merely lecture recordings, they also point out possible uses of these audio recordings as advance organisers, as assignments, as supplementary material, along with as review of lectures.

The second point is the most facinating: whereby students are listening to these audio recordings on a computer, rather than a mobile device. Many people looking to leverage the benefits of this medium do so in the belief that students will be listening to these recordings "on the go". Therefore, it is astounding to read that this report finds that studies consistently report that people are listening to these podcasts in a home, or desktop computing environment.

Finally, the last three points indicate that these podcasts have no inherent value, but their value lies in how they are used. Making them easy to access, and be subscribed to, and designing them to be used to help the instructor and students reach their educational goals.

Plenty of food for thought here...

Download Whitepaper Itself:

CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf (1.03 MB)

Additional Reading cited in the whitepaper:

Brabazon T (2006) “Socrates in Earpods?: The Ipodification of Education.” Fast Capitalism, 2(1).

Barrett MJ, Lacey CS, Sekara AE, Linden EA, Gracely EJ (2004) “Mastering Cardiac Murmurs:
The Power of Repetition.” Chest 126, 470–475.

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