A podcast is an enhanced piece of digital media (audio or video) which is made available for download for use on mobile devices and computers. Podcasts go beyond the usual downloadable or streamed media embedded in web pages by providing the media through subscription feeds, often in a number of episodes, and where subscribing to the feed can trigger automated notification to the user of newly available episodes. Subscribers to podcasts can also elect to have any newly published material automatically downloaded to their mobile device or computer as it becomes available. Podcasting is the act of creating and providing podcast episodes for users to download.
In education podcasts can facilitate the delivery of course materials and lectures outside the conventional classroom environment. Teaching through podcasting can provide an additional route for students to connect with their course and could help promote student engagement. Students can access the material on or off campus and by downloading it to a portable media device, e.g. an iPod or a mobile phone, can view it at any time, view it any number of times, and view the material anywhere. Podcasts might be used to provide revision material, clarification of key concepts, access to subject experts, demonstrations, etc. Podcasts can be published by students and made available in exactly the same manner as their academic counterparts. Student podcasts could document the learning experience, the development of their knowledge, experimental/research methods or simple commentary of any nature.
The availability of affordable recording techniques and new distribution channels are influencing the use of audio and visual media in education. Podcasts can be made by simply recording a seminar/lecture or by creating them de novo as an additional learning resource. A particular advantage to podcasting is that the media is easily created by a range of recording equipment, e.g. an iPod with a microphone, a computer, a digital video camera, and is encoded into industry standards that are widely used on computers and portable media devices.
Developments are underway to enhance the use of digital media and podcasting at Plymouth University. UPmedia provides a dedicated service for the delivery of digital media for a number of university services, including teaching and learning, whilst the University’s presence on iTunes U facilitates podcasting for staff and students both internally and to the world.
Podcasting is an exciting development in education. If you wish to find out more about podcasting, what’s happening at Plymouth University or want to include podcasts in your teaching, please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01752 587600 for an informal chat. Alternatively you can also download our podcasting guide.
This page includes material re-mixed from the Steeple project wiki under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license and is published under the same license.