As with every other week in this class, I learned something new this week. I thought I knew what a podcast was, but as a result of reading a good article this week, I discovered that it was more involved than I realized. More than just an audio recording, a podcast must have some “behind-the-scenes” capabilities. The real value in a podcast is the fact that subscribers can get regular, automatic updates to a podcast series. This article gives a good visual depiction of how a podcast is made: http://www.educause.edu/sites/default/files/2007/07/CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf
One educational use of the podcast is to record and distribute classroom lectures. While most students use these recorded lectures as a means of reviewing material, some instructors hesitate to distribute podcasted lectures for fear that students may start to skip the live class altogether, and instead rely on the podcast to “attend” class.
Since becoming an online student nearly three years ago, I think I would be more inclined to prefer a podcast version of a lecture rather than sit through a lengthy class session in order to listen to a live lecture. If I knew that I could get the same material from a recording, I would do that in a heartbeat. The flexibility to listen at a time when it is convenient for me, along with the ability to fast forward and rewind as necessary, would lead me to prefer this method. If, however, the instructor would give me a good reason to attend the live class session, I would go.
The reluctance of some instructors to use podcasts has me thinking once again about the need for significance in teaching/learning. Rather than simply making face to face class lectures a requirement for students, how about if instructors made the face to face sessions actually worthwhile? If a lecture needs to happen in a class with a large student population, and if the lecture is simply used to distribute content, then it seems to me that a podcast is a better option. However, if there is an element of interactivity and engagement within the class session that a student can’t get from a recorded version, then students will figure out on their own that it is to their benefit to attend the live session.
Maybe one great advantage of web 2.0 tools is that instructors, because of the availability of a variety of delivery methods, must think through their reasoning for using each method. If instructors still want students to attend live class sessions, they might now be forced to present students with a good reason for doing so. The live session, used in connection with a podcasted lecture, can be a powerful learning method. Why not deliver content with the podcast, thus saving time for the class session to be used for other, more interactive components of the class? Let’s think through the most effective use of each tool we use – as we do this, students who want to learn will respond with enthusiasm because we have chosen our methods wisely.
Deal, Ashley (2007, June). Podcasting. A Teaching With Technology White Paper. Educause. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://connect.educause.edu/files/CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf