Thursday, July 23, 2009

5.3.5: Podcasting - a great article

Oliver McGarr gives a great overview of the potential for podcasting in his contribution to AJET 25(3), 309-321 article, "A review of podcasting in higher education: Its influence on the traditional lecture" (PDF). Surprisingly, though (or perhaps not...) McGarr cites research indicating that most students who use podcasts tend to do so at their desk, during study time and not on-the-go. Most users, it seems, do not multitask when listening to podcasts. In other words, podcasting is not generally considered an m-learning solution. It seems that making lecture podcasts available does not adversely affect lecture attendance, and that students appreciate such podcasts being made available. Most usefully, McGarr sugegsts three broad categories of podcast use in higher edcuation:
  1. Substitutional - the lectured podcast is a substitute to attending the class itself.
  2. Supplemental - summaries of lectures and additional (but optional) materials.
  3. Creative - students generating their own podcasts for sharing with others.
We have considered podcasting lectures here at Laidlaw College. Unless it can be easily facilitated and add clear value, it is probably more than we can handle for now. Still, with cheap portable digital recorders able to record one hour's audio in only 10MB or so of file (or even less), it is not difficult for faculty to do this themselves... the extent to which this might substitute for the actual lecture or provide primary materials to distance students is probably minimal (particularly the latter!)


Tim said...

It is really easy to record a class. I just put my phone set to record on the lectern. It records an hour. The files are typically 4-5MB (in AMR format). I can make student contributions and questions more audible by dropping the file onto the free Miksoft converter and then onto Levelator (which equalises the volume of different speakers/sections - like if I walk o=away from the lectern).

Quite a few students both distance and onsite like this. It provides a different oral means to access the material for some, and a chance to review for others.

Of course some students never use them ;)

Tim said...

PS my daughter (an A student) regularly uses the ones the stats department at Auckland makes available after lectures. It does not cause her to stay away.

So the annecdotal evidence I have supports the research ;)