iTeach, iLearn: Student Podcasting

14 11 2005

The Annual Western Austrlian Teaching & Learning Forum is being held at UWA this year on February 1st and 2nd.  I’ll be there and, subject to approval, this is the abstract for my presentation …

iTeach, iLearn: Student Podcasting 

Keywords: podcasting, assessment, active learning

The term podcasting is a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’ and describes type of syndicated digital audio that results in automatically downloadable files which are playable in portable media devices, such as (but not limited to) the iPod.  Australian universities have been making lectures available as streaming audio for some years now, but with learners anchored to a computer in order to listen.  Podcasting has allowed students to take lectures and other audio wherever they go, but this model still relies on the top-down structure of lectures as academic content for student’s to consume.  However, in the University of Western Australia’s Communication Studies honours course ‘iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture’ the tables have been turned somewhat and now students are making podcasts, too.  For their major assignments, students were asked to create an innovative audio podcast which engaged with the notion of participatory culture and the results ranged from a ‘pod play’ in the style 1930s RKO radio theatre to an alternative commentary for a Simpsons episode focusing on consumer culture and intertextuality.  These podcasts are also cultural output themselves – they will remain downloadable indefinitely, allowing students to use them in future online portfolios and also providing a resource (or entertainment) for others.  Moreover, the same system which supports lectures in streaming and podcast form, the iLecture system, also facilitates the students’ podcasts, in effect allowing them to take a turn at using the digital podium.  With students podcasting, teaching and learning is clearly a two-way street.  In this paper, I will outline the way in which podcasting was used in the iGeneration course; the setup in terms of technology and philosophy driving it; the podcasts themselves; students’ responses to podcasting (both informally and from a short survey); and the initial lessons learnt from student podcasting at a tertiary level.


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