In my recent blog, I discussed the findings regarding the impact of podcasts produced by the psychology team, as part of DUCKLING intervention on student experience from students’ perspectives. In this blog, I discuss the benefits of using podcasts from the staff’s perspective.
- Reduced traffic on Blackboard
Psychology tutors observed that 80-90% of the postings on BB relate to assignments and the common questions keep coming back. After providing podcasts explaining assignments, the tutors have noticed a very significant reduction in the postings requesting help on assignments.
- Improved retention rate
Initial findings suggest that podcasts have had a positive effect on progression and retention. Figures from the October 2008 cohort (with access to podcasts) show a high progression rate to their 2nd year (89%), compared to an average of 67% in previous cohorts.
- Benefits to staff
The tutors who produced the podcasts also reflected on benefits to staff in using podcasts. For example, podcasting is quicker in delivering message than writing. It is effective in providing explanation, guidance and feedback. The tutors are motivated to produce more podcasts as they found that students are more engaged with the podcasts.
- Other expected benefits to the experience of students and staff
The tutors are collecting and marking student dissertation drafts at the moment. It was expected that the overall quality will be improved as a result of podcasts providing guidance on the dissertation process.
Currently, the tutors are providing assessment feedback to students in both audio and written formats. It is expected that with the support of ‘Dragon’ (the speech recognition software), tutors will be able to get a transcript of the audio feedback automatically, and the time invested in producing feedback could be dramatically reduced.
These findings are encouraging, however only indicative at the moment. As the podcasts were gradually made available through BB from April 2009, it is too soon to claim that all these initial findings will hold. The research continues.
Ming Nie 06 August 2009