Podcasting Revisited

Podcasting Revisited

I know it is sort of funny that I would be hopped on the notion of podcasting — you’d think I would have already said everything that needs to be said about it over the last several years. But recently I’ve been thinking a lot about our Institutional podcasting efforts and where it should be headed. We’ve been at work trying to revamp and rethink the Podcasts at Penn State site and surrounding services to make them easier and more discoverable. Later this semester we’ll release a new site (built on MT) that will have some new tools to support faculty use of iTunes U. The tools will allow for the auto-creation of iTunes U sections, enable faculty editable access controls, and introduce a new statistics dashboard so they can easily see who is accessing their work. All in all it will make things easier on the setup and management side — it really won’t address the active side of podcasting.

With that said I, what I am most concerned with is related to what we are really seeing with our podcasting efforts. I do know there are lots of audio and video files being pushed around in our podcasting space, but what is really happening? Are faculty recording lectures, doing short things outside of class, or are they letting their students create? I think it is time we find out for sure. I am betting, from what I hear most faculty talk about, is that there is less lecture recording than anyone ever imagined — but I am proposing we find out.

To do that I need a little help … what are the categories of podcasts we should be looking for? If I am making a list, it looks like:

  • Full lecture podcasting: Files that focus on lecture recordings of class sessions.
  • Instructional podcasting: Files that would tend to originiate outside of classroom.
  • Conversation starter podcasting: Files that are designed to stimulate conversations.
  • Feedback podcasting: Files that are delivered after activities that students complete.
  • Student podcasting: Files that are produced and uploaded by student.

What else is there? I think it would be relatively easy to setup a database that we could use to randomly sample the podcasts coming out of Penn State on iTunes U see where they fall. It would be nice to know where we need to add more energy. Any additional thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Podcasting Revisited

  1. This might fall into the “conversation starter” category. In the past I used to pull Tech Talk or other, external podcasts into my course’s iTunesU space. I also recorded some of my own as conversation starters, but many times I found that someone already said what I wanted to say, often times in a more eloquent manner.

    No need to re-create the wheel eh?

  2. Interesting thought, Bart … I hadn’t thought about the idea of faculty pulling other people’s podcasts into their sections for students to listen to. Thanks for the thought! @ Bart

  3. Bart makes a good point. With the aggregation capabilities of iTunes U (something which is simplified via the new automation tools) I think more faculty will import external resources into their courses. It might be worth listing as a separate category.

  4. Hi, Cole. Interesting stuff! I’d also be curious to hear more about how we as an institution (PSU) can proactively address the accessibility side of these media. Am getting requests for transcription of audio and captioning of video, and other kinds of issues/questions/problems around software tools (latest was student with hearing impairment having problem hearing spoken interactions while using eLive tool for team projects). Would love it if we address these items strategically too (saves us problems having to do so on the back end under time crunch). Thanks!

  5. Anita, thanks for the comment! I have staff who are working in the area of accessibility and I’d be happy to facilitate a meeting to bring you up to date with the work they are doing. In regard to accessibility in desktop video conferencing software I would be interested in what other institutions are doing to address that issue. I hadn’t thought about problems hearing and seeing activities going on in eLive or Adobe Connect. @Anita Colyer Graham

  6. It’s easy if they’re using our tools, and if we’re clearly identifying where to find resources (or if we have a small library of resources for them to choose from). I don’t expect any faculty to ever use this capability if they have to copy the URL of the RSS feed and paste it into iTunes U. But we’ve known that for years. I’ll keep looking into what we can do to make this simple.

  7. @ Cole Camplese

    Thanks for the reply, Cole. I would love to be part of a meeting to learn more about what you’re already doing on accessibility. I’ll follow up with you on e-mail re: setting a meeting. There is so much to learn on this topic; anything you can share would help. Thx!

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