I have been tossing around in my head some podcasting stuff the last week or so … People on campus keeping asking us to take part in our Fall podcasting pilot. I really like that podcasting has captured the imagination of our faculty and staff, but I am still feeling like there is so much more to all this. Administrators’ first question is always, “what classrooms can faculty podcast from?” The answer is obviously all of them — but the answer they are looking for is the number of classrooms we have rigged with wireless microphones, recording software, and easy capture from the podium — that number is much lower then all. You don’t need all that gear to podcast from a classroom — especially if you are doing something other than simply recording a lecture. The first question thoughtful instructional designers and technologists on campus ask is, “so what are the interesting things being done with podcasting?” That is the better question.
I have been shocked at the polar opposite approaches many faculty are taking with this opportunity … some faculty are just recording their lectures while others are doing stuff in between classes to create new learning opportunities. Guess what I think is the good stuff? As more faculty come on board it is our responsibility to pull out the novel and effective uses of the technology to share with them. Our pilot will yield some good stories (there are too many to share here in this post) for us to tell. To tell you the truth, at the start of the Spring semester I am hoping we are thinking beyond simply reporting the number of faculty in pilots, the number of classrooms wired up, and the number of lectures captured. I want to be talking about the impact, the students’ reactions, and stories of faculty doing things they hadn’t done in the past.
Kansas State recently decided they were going to launch the world’s largest podcasting initiative. They are claiming to podcast 6,000 lectures by converting older lecture recordings into enhanced podcasts … while it is ambitious, it seems to be an attempt to simply be number 1 through brute force. I think providing access to course lectures is a good thing, but getting everyone engaged may be a better approach. I have no idea if K State is doing that … the press release focuses on numbers and partnerships with corporations.
I am not saying we are doing it better at PSU … we will not have numbers like that for quite some time — even with a huge student and faculty population. We recently started a faculty podcasting user group and turned it over to faculty — sure we’ll be in the back of the room but it is up to them to organize agendas, invitations, and to make it happen. We see the faculty as the primary driver of adoption and diffusion of innovation in our environment so why not tap into their interest and energy? Sure, K State can say they are the biggest but I am taking a different view of this — let’s sit back, study it, and see what interesting opportunities emerge. One of my primary goals is to create partnerships that are meaningful for the long term — working with faculty to review what has been done and to dream up where we go from here is a first step towards a trusted relationship.
Sorry for the long and winding Sunday morning post — Max was up quite a bit last night and my mind is spinning. It clearly isn’t spinning perfectly as I am not sure this post hits a mark or is just a mess of rambling thoughts. At any rate, you might get the point and I’d like to know about your approaches.