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A podcast is typically an audio, video, or even PDF
file that is broadcast over the internet, and can be downloaded to computers or mobile devices for
playback. In this case study we speak to Dr. Ray Randall from the University of Leicester
in the U.K.. Ray was a part of the duckling research
project, which incorporated audio podcasts into two
full online masters programs. He explains how podcasts were used to
introduce important concepts, provide support for assignments,
and to offer students feedback. Ray also discusses the importance of
planning podcasts before you begin, and gives an overview of how audio
podcasts are made. >> The course that I run is called the
MSc in occupation psychology and there's an offshoot course from that called the MSc in psychology of
work. Across those two programs we have around
about 55 part time, distance learning students
every year. One of the reasons for setting up the podcasts, was to help students engage with
material. And this material that's in the podcast is
not really, particularly new, the content of it, but
what is new is the fact that we're delivering it
via voice. We didn't just want to play with the
technology or wanted to do something that we felt that we could embed within the course
going forward, particularly for our students who are relatively time poor, having an
intervention that helps them to work in a much more efficient way seems to be
quite a key benefit for, for them. Podcasts are embedded with Blackboard, so
students have an option to download it if they wish, and the way
these buttons are set up allows the podcast to load as
it's being played, so it doesn't stop the page
from downloading quickly. So some of these are monologues. >> Hello, it's Kelly here, and I'm going
to talk now for a short while about qualitative versus quantitative approaches to gathering
evidence. >> Some question and answer questions. >> This is Andrew here, and I'm here with
Sue and Ray, to introduce you to a series of podcasts that we've developed
to help you make best use of your
dissertation time. >> The way we've decided to support the
various modules that we run outside of the dissertation research
methods is to use these kind of podcasts here. What we do is we give students general
guidance about the assignment that has been set,
the person who set, set the assignment for them will talk
them through what's required and how they should go
about tackling it. We're getting good feedback from the
students. It's universally good. We've not really had anything, anything
negative come back from the students about this. Having a conversation with somebody about
some topics can help students feel less
isolated. But also help them to understand the most
important parts of the topic. From a teacher's perspective I think one
of the main benefits, and this may sound a little selfish is that
it's a very efficient technology. So once the basic skills are learned, I
can, devel, develop and deliver a ten podcast about a topic that
may take me A day to write about. So that's a very efficient way of
teaching. I think initially getting to grips with
the technology does take a little bit of time, but not a huge
amount of time. Certainly less than myself and my
colleagues thought it would take. In terms of making a podcast itself, it's
very important to have a plan. Some of the, one of the things I didn't
appreciate going into it. And the way that works is to break down
even a five-minute podcast into smaller
sections, so maybe four or five sections with a beginning, a middle, and
an end, and that being framed around some key
objectives for the podcast itself. And then I think it's about just learning. Some of the, the, the sort of best practice issues, keeping podcasts
short, making sure they've got a structure and a purpose, making sure that your voice is
clear. Not mumbling, making it interesting,
changing the format, those kind of things. So, that planning is really quite crucial. How do we go about making podcasts? Well it's, it's probably not as difficult
as I initially imagined it to be. All you need really is a headset with a
microphone. And a USB headset with a microphone to cut
the crackles down a bit. A laptop or a decent computer, and a piece
of software that we use called Audacity. Which is available freely to download. And what Audacity is, is a very
straightforward piece of audio editing software. So, all the teacher simply does is speak
into the headset, and the dialogue will appear as a waveform that can then be edited, chopped up, and played around
with. Even if you make lots of mistakes, it's
quite easy to take them out, so anybody with decent word processing skills
can use Audacity, probably with about half a day's
worth of experience. It allows us to, to, to add emphasis, to
add feeling, to add, for want of a better word, emotion, to some of
the material that we present. There are certain aspects of any program. Where hearing the human voice is going to
be particularly impactful. And I think it's just about being able to
identify and pick those out. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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