Saturday, April 10, 2010

Podcasts Galore!

Podcasts Galore!

In past blogs I have talked about getting 'visual' by adding images to help learners connect to the content. This time round let's explore another sense - auditory.

I'll start with talking about my online courses and how I have created podcasts with Audacity. OK, it took a bit of time to figure out how to use Audacity, but once I got going it was so easy! A veteran podcaster gave me a couple of helpful tips:
1. Keep it short
2. Speak naturally
3. Avoid reading a script
So, when I make a podcast I do not aim for perfection - if I say "um" a few times I leave it in. I speak from a list of ideas/topics and let it flow.

How can podcasts be used in online learning?
  • To summarize a topic or discussion
  • To present a case study or assignment
  • To make an announcement
  • To introduce a topic
When I started using podcasts the feedback from my students was positive. They appreciated hearing my voice and they liked the change from the written word. They said that it personalized the course and helped them feel connected to me as their instructor. My belief is that the more that we can involve the senses, the better it will be for learners.

Another way to use podcasts is to find them online and share them with students. There are plenty of these available online including the CBC Radio site and at iTunesU. I am a CBC listener and I appreciate listening to podcasts of shows that missed hearing live -
  • White Coat Black Art - Dr. Brian Goldman has a weekly show on what is happening in hospitals and doctors' offices
  • Q - JianGhomeshi hosts a weekday show on arts and culture - available as both a podcast and a video podcast
  • Spark - Nora Young talks about trends in technology
  • Vinyl Cafe - Stuart McLean brings stories from the Vinyl Cafe and music by Canadian musicians
  • Between the Covers - Canadian Literature, stories narrated in weekly installments

I really want to explore iTunesU more in the future and I found a great tutorial to help me out that includes -
  • An intro to iTunesU
  • How to search for podcasts
  • How to subcribe
  • How to download
  • Info for iPod users (though you do not need an iPod to hear podcasts)
  • Useful apps
  • A bit about the controls
In both the CBC and iTunesU podcasts you can find some that are audio and some include video. Have fun exploring!

I found the image that I am using for this posting via Flickr at

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