Recipe: Podcasting for Learning

Audio is one of the oldest methods of distance education. Listening to informed and entertaining speakers can be a great imaginative learning experience. The ease of making a podcast coupled with great accessibility and low cost of producing professional sounding podcasts makes them a valuable tool in the distance learning toolbox.

If you’ve never considered making a podcast to get your subject across, then now is the time…

Serve to:
• Design students at all levels
• Your colleagues, who will be impressed and promote your podcast

Time:
1-2 hours preparation
1 hour recording
2 hours editing
1 hour transcription
1 hour shownotes and uploading

Cost:
Minimal

Difficulty:
Advanced

Ingredients

  • A contemporary topic in your design subject area, particularly where there may be some disagreement to allow listeners to take their own position
  • One or more people who are articulate and can think on their feet in discussion (you can record an online discussion too)
  • An outline script
  • The best microphone/s you can get your hands on (your phone mic will do at a pinch)
  • Podcasting or audio recording software:
  • Online storage to store or host your podcast
    • Using a Squarespace blog tool automatically syndicates your podcast

Method

  1. Once you have all your ingredients do some quick preparation. You don’t want to go into great detail, but roughly go over your script to see what topics or questions you are going to cover. What are the key learning points for listeners?
  2. Plan for around 30 minutes – no-one wants to listen to a podcast that lasts 2 hours.
  3. Do a dummy test to check that everything is working and the recording levels are fine. Once you’ve checked the set-up you can relax and enjoy the conversation.
  4. Have a standard introduction phrase you use to get started. For example: “Welcome to the XXX Podcast where we discuss XXX, I’m XXX and in this episode I’ll be looking at …”
  5. Start talking! Don’t worry if you mess up, just leave a couple of seconds and repeat, you can always edit the recording later.
  6. Be prepared to deviate if you find an interesting point of discussion, and try and be spontaneous. Wrap up your podcast with a summary of what you discussed.
  7. Import your audio to your computer and edit out the bits you don’t like, or don’t add to what you want to say. Add some rights free music to brand your podcast.
  8. Transcribe your podcast and prepare your shownotes with references and links to reinforce learning for your listeners.
  9. Upload your final podcast and let people know where they can find it.
  10. (Optional) If you’ve set the podcast as study material for your students, provide some means of engagement and discussion of the material (e.g. forum, online tutorial discussion, or even a design activity or challenge).

Notes and tips:
• Think carefully about the format of your podcast, and listen to other podcasts for examples – will it just be you? Or a discussion with others? Will there be different sections to your podcast?
• It’s OK to not be perfect. In fact, being imperfect is being human and it’s OK to be human. People like that.
• Remind yourself to be completely quiet when someone else is talking, ums, erms, yeahs, all get in the way of a good listening experience.
• Do your homework and have a few examples and quotes prepared.

Warnings:
• Double check that the microphone is on, the batteries are charged, and you have enough recording space.
• Don’t ramble on, leave your audience wanting more – shorter is always better.
• Don’t just read a prepared script or lecture. You don’t want people tweeting about your podcast for the wrong reason!

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