May 25, 2007
E-Coaching Tip 45 (Summer 2007) Freshening Your Course with Podcasts-- A Source of Authentic and Current Course Content
Freshening Your Course with Podcasts-- A Source of Authentic and Current Course Content
Have your students been asking you to start using podcast resources in your course? If so, here are two strategies for getting started that require little or no knowledge on your part!
Identify one of the learning activities in your course syllabus that requires students to do some research. For example, you may have a topic on your discussion board that requires that the student identify responsible or reputable reference that supports their position. Once you identify that learning activity, expand the choices that students have to include finding a podcast on that topic.
Your instructions to the student might go as follows:
One of the topics that we will be reading/studying/working with over the next week is XXX, such as the markets in China, the characteristics of leaders, the ethics of open software, or the pros and cons of intellectual property. In your discussion of this topic on the discussion board, include content from a podcast and provide the bibliographic data, including the url for that podcast.
Identify one of the learning activities in your course syllabus for which you believe that current events or reports are particularly relevant. You may also feel that your current readings on a particular topic would benefit from an updated perspective. Once you have identified a topic of interest, then do a search yourself by simply searching using the term "podcast" + your topic.
Once you find a good match of a podcast, you may want to download the file to your computer for off-net listening and analysis or simply build your own bibliographic note and then add that podcast to the student's assignments for discussion.
Podcast Starting Points with Specific Publishers
While there are portals dedicated to podcasts such as the iTunes store (www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcasts.html), podcasts are now so ubiquitous that I like to simply google first, and then select those websites that are my favorite content providers. The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, American Public Radio, CNN, Scientific American, and The Chronicle of Higher Education are some of my favorites. And of course, I have recently added ITunes University site http://www.apple.com/education/products/ipod/itunes_u.html. This site offers free podcasts from many universities nationwide, including Stanford http://itunes.stanford.edu/
If you are searching for podcasts to supplement your course for the first time, you may want to start with the site at the Harvard Business Review. They offer a weekly series called Ideacasts that feature "breakthrough ideas and commentary from leading thinkers in business and management." The podcast from May 17, 2007 features an interview with Bill George, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard and author of True North:Discover Your Authentic Leadership, about "how leaders who are true to themselves add significant value to their organizations." This 15-minute podcast can be streamed to your computer or you can download it and put it on a mobile player for use in your car or while exercising. This series is now offered weekly and their archive has 43 podcasts.
Subscribing to Podcasts
Once you start exploring the world of podcasts one of the decisions a podcast provider always presents to you is whether or not you want to subscribe to a podcast series. For example, that is one of the first questions you will see on the HBR's Ideacast page.
What does this mean? This means that you can choose to store a series of podcasts on your computer. A convenient way of subscribing to a series of podcasts is by using a free downloadable application -- iTunes -- that is available for both windows and mac machines at www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcasts.html.
Once you download that application and then say, "Yes, I want to subscribe" to a podcast series, the names, dates, descriptions of all the podcast in the series are downloaded to your computer, essentially creating a catalog index of available podcasts from that provider. Then if you want to download a specific podcast, you can do that from within the iTunes application that is now on your computer by simply clicking on a "Get" button next to each podcast description.
Sharing podcasts and the content of podcasts is simple. With just a url in your syllabus, assignment or in an announcement or discussion board, you can direct your students to a podcast; similarly students can share podcasts in this same way. And the best of all, these podcasts are all free!
In the process of preparing this ecoaching tip, I discovered a 23-minute audio/video podcast on a book club gathering with the author Khaled Hosseini, author of Kite Runner and his newly released popular novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns at www.bordersmedia.com/hosseini. This is another danger of podcast research, however; you may well be snagged and diverted in a thousand unanticipated directions!
Assignment for you -- Incorporate at least one podcast resource into your course!
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