Audio podcasting provides an easy, effective way for faculty to connect with students. Faculty can record short lectures, reviews or assignment summaries so students in online classes have access to material anytime, anywhere. Based on student feedback, effective strategies for designing audio podcasts for online classes are presented.
In order to extend the life of audio podcasts beyond the current semester, faculty should develop lectures or segments on course fundamentals. These undated, evergreen materials help lay the foundation for the class and can be recycled from term to term.
When scripting audio podcasts, faculty should not refer to due dates or deadlines, as they will change each term. Instructors might also change the assignment point values from one semester to another so it’s important not to include grading details in audio segments. The professor can always create an audio clip discussing the grading rubric for major assignments.
Student participants responding to this voluntary questionnaire provided valuable feedback about audio podcasts. In addition, site statistics from our learning management system (Sakai) showed that students did access course podcasts. In one summer class, podcasts were among the top ten most accessed files within the course site.
This effective practice relates directly to the learning effectiveness pillar because audio podcasts provide both the course content and a connection between the student and the professor.
Content+ connection= learning.
One student commented, "I would listen to audio lectures or podcasts in my other classes if they were available. It is a terrific way to refresh information before an exam. When taking notes in a fast paced course it is easy to miss something the professor said, but having a recording allows you to pause or rewind to catch something important. It is a great tool in case someone misses class in a traditional class setting. It serves as a great learning tool for online classes."
Audio lectures can be recorded with a built in or external microphone on a laptop or desktop computer. Field interviews can be conducted with a digital voice recorder (such as Olympus or Zoom.) Garageband (Mac) or Audicity are simple audio editing programs. In addition, faculty should consider how they will distribute their audio segments within their learning management system.
Costs are minimal. Faculty, however, will need to invest considerable time up-front to plan, script and record materials.
The following articles provide additional information about podcasting in education.