Podcasting is still hot today

I attended the Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes Special Interest Group (PPP SIG ) meeting at Leicester yesterday. Podcasting is not a new and emerging technology any more for HE. It’s becoming a more established and stable technology. However, it is still hot!

Attendees at the meeting were from academic development and support background, and they talked about their observations and statistics from their institutions that show the enthusism shown by their academic colleageus towards podcasting in 2008.

Another interesting thing I noted was that the PPP SIG will be producing a book on podcasting. At the moment, they’re still in the process of planning and calling for contributions. But I can see some differences between their podcasting book and ours. Our book took a case-study approach, and theirs have a different focus. For example, there will be some historical review on media enhanced pedagogy. Some chapter(s) will use a synthesised approach, for example, comparing audio and video, and some chapter(s) will focus on new dimensions of using podcast, for example, digital media assignment.

I noted that the participants were interested in using podcasting to provide audio feedback. I heard lots of examples of that particular approach yesterday. Chrissi talked about an audio feedback workshop offered by Academic Development University of Sunderland (http://audiofeedback.wetpaint.com/). They began the workshop with an activity – to draw a portrait of the colleague next to you, and to give feedback to each other. Without any prompt,  people started giving vocal feedback. They tried to use this activity to show people how natural it is to use audio to convey feedback. Their effort was well received at Sunderland. Now, the Psychology department provided audio feedback for all level 2 modules.

Claire from Reading talked about their experience of providing audio feedback to student assessment. There are three pieces of written assessments. They provided traditional written feedback to the 1st written work, a generic audio feedback plus written feedback to the 2nd assessed work, and individual audio feedback plus written feedback to the 3rd written work. In this case, written feedback was not completely discarded or replaced by audio feedback. Instead, the audio feedback was used to complement the written feedback through the re-phrasing, re-formulation and giving more details. Students loved the audio feedback. They found it very friendly, personal. One said that it felt like having a secret conversation with the tutor. However, at the same time, none of them say they don’t like written feedback! For the international students, there is a divide, depending on the background of students. The Arabic students love the audio feedback, whereas the Korean and Chinese students don’t like it very much! The international dimension is very interesting. Of course, it’s probably too soon to make any generalization about it. Staff are convinced the value of audio feedback, however, some felt exhausted because it takes time to produce the audio feedback. This is again, very interesting, because other people found providing audio feedback time-saving.

The discussion and debate about audio feedback brings out new dimensions to think about:
• Integration: replacement or complement
• Investment: time consuming or saving
• International dimension: how to engage international students

Ming Nie, 25 Feb 2009

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1 Comment

  1. bdra

     /  February 26, 2009

    I have a paper on supportive podcasting submitted to BJET by three staff at the University of Sydney. I think it’s likely to be accepted and you’ll see it then. They worked with 280 management students who were studying in a Team-Based Learning classroom environment, and the podcasts were supplied via Blackboard. The students liked the podcasts, though there’s no evidence that their performance improved because they had podcasts. That seems to me to be the key issue for the future: do they make a difference to performance?



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