Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More on Podcasting

Lum, L. (2006). The power of podcasting. Diverse issues in higher education, 23(2), 32-35.

Abstract

This article examines podcasting and how it can be used to aid teaching in higher education. The author defines the term podcasting and also gives some statistics showing how the technology has become popular. While podcasting has grown in poplar culture, it has been slow to take root in academia until recently.

Dr. Kevin M. Gaugler used podcasting in his Spanish civilization course last fall. He noted that students took less notes and engaged in conversations and questions making for a better course. He attributed this to the availability of each of his lectures as a podcast that students could listen to whenever they wished to in the future. He feared that students would stop attending class but this did not occur. He plans on using podcasting more in the future.

Duke University has been experimenting with podcasting since 2004 when they gave all new students an iPod. Since then, 47 courses have been developed that center on podcasting lessons. The President of the University of Arizona (Michael M. Crow) is using podcasting to send messages to students about tuition and other matters.

This technology is not without critics. Many are unhappy that the podcasts pick up noises like coughs and air conditioners. Others feel that this is yet another attempt at spoon feeding information to a lazy generation of college students. Despite this, new initiatives are being planned at a variety of schools using podcasting.

Implications

While most of the focus on new technologies has focused on distance education, I think this article accurately shows how a technology like podcasting can be used in the traditional classroom setting. The students have iPods and have shown a willingness and desire to hear lectures in this manner. While podcasting is ideal for distance education, it also clearly is a good fit for more traditional classes.

I predict that podcasting will become a standard teaching tool used by many faculty. I do not think everyone will use it but a large enough number will that this will no longer be such a novelty. Students who like learning in this manner will look to take classes from faculty using it.

One area of concern for faculty could be the growth of a small number of academic stars who are noted internationally for podcasting. Also, who owns a podcast? Is it the institution or the faculty member? Could this tool be used to justify a smaller pool of faculty in the future? Even the dead can still lecture using this technology!

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