Podcasting, Webcasting, and Coursecasting

2 12 2010

Podcasting is the use of audio and video files on the web. It is different than just putting these files into websites. The podcast creator adds RSS feeds for the listeners to follow the podcasts. There are three steps in podcasting:

1)      Creating the file: This process needs some effort because content is needed first. Adjusting the sounds and videos, and creating the final production are the next steps.

2)      Putting the podcast file into a website: When the podcast is finalized, the next step is publishing the file and letting audience to know. Thus, listeners can add the RSS feed on their blogs and web pages.

3)      Aggregation: Aggregator is software which follows the podcasts for the changes, and updates the listeners’ list.

Since there are not much literature and formal evaluation of podcasting for educational purposes, there are some criticisms on the outcomes of podcast. Podcasts are used in education for three different purposes.

  1. Delivering the lecture
  2. Delivering the supplemental materials
  3. Assigning students to produce podcasts

Delivering the lecture:

This is the common use of podcasts in education. Students like lecture podcasts because of the availability and portability of mobile devices. Also, they don’t need to check several websites. The content is coming to their own blog or web page through the RSS feeds. Despite these advantages, it is still criticized because the formal evaluation of podcasting is not well-defined yet. Ashley (2007) argues that students don’t pay attention to podcasts from the beginning to the end. Only 20% of the students listen more than 75% of the content. Many only listen some of the specific parts of the podcast to get familiar with the content.  Another assumption is that students don’t go to class if they know that lecture will be delivered via podcast. However, no study evidently shows the negative or positive effects of podcasts for education.

Delivering the supplemental materials:

Using podcasts as additional materials have more positive effect to student performance and learning outcomes than using as lecture delivery method. These additional activities involve using podcasts as brief reflection for the class and remembering important topics after the actual class lecture.

Assigning students to produce podcasts:

Teachers assign students to create podcast as practice for the content and as an assessment. Ashley (2007) states that students see creating podcast valuable.  Students think that creating podcasts improve their technical, listening and presentation skills.

As a summary, the answer for the benefits of podcast for education is still not clear. Teachers should know their class context and content, and evaluate the advantages and limitations of using podcast in their class. I think educators can motivate and get students attention by using different methods like podcast.

Reference: 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

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