What is Podcasting?

According to Wikipedia, “Podcasting is a method of publishing files to the internet, often allowing users to subscribe to a feed [source] and receive new files automatically.” [read the Wikipedia definition about Podcasting]

Podcasting thus refers to choosing audio files from a designated web resource and loading them on a digital music [MP3] player or a computer. You may choose to listen to a podcast on either equipment at your convenience.

A unique feature of a podcast is the ability to subscribe to a feed, which automatically updates at intervals defined by your podcast software. All you need is a connection to the Internet and podcast software, which is available in Information Technology Services[in either Macintosh and Windows versions] free of charge.

What is not a podcast?

  • Audio file(s) embedded in a Web page, blog, etc., without the ability to subscribe. For example, putting an audio file in eDocs and linking to the file from Blackboard, a blog, or a webpage.
  • Audio file(s) that is streamed from a streaming server. For example, linking to an audio file, that is on a streaming server, from Blackboard, a blog, or a webpage.

Both the options mentioned above do not have the capability to enable “subscription” for a course-related lecture, presentation, etc. On the other hand, a podcast allows an individual to “subscribe” wherein any new episode(s) of a podcast automatically appears on the individual’s podcasting client such as iTunes.

Educational Uses of Podcasting

Steve Sloan offers ideas on podcasting and how it allows to create rich learning environments for your students:

  • Class lectures. You can record and put your class lectures online so that your students can subscribe to them easily. You subsequently add and update additional lectures to the list of podcasts as the need arises.
    Benefits – Use of a podcast enables self-paced learning, content review, support students that are differently-abled, etc.
  • Guest interviews. You can put interviews online and make the audio file[s] available for the students in your class.
    Benefits – You can feature guest speakers, and make access convenient at anytime/anywhere for a larger group of students.
  • Resource materials. You can put additional class resources online for your students as a part of their readings [or listening, in this scenario].

Podcasting in Education

What is Vodcasting?

Vodcasting functions similarly to podcasting, but has the added feature of video and/or still images.  According to Wikipedia, “Vodcast (or Video Podcast) is an emerging term used for the online delivery of video on demand content via RSS enclosures.” [read the Wikipedia definition about Vodcasting].

Vodcasting in Education

For his liberal studies course, “The Beatles: Popular Music and Society,” Professor Michael Cheney prepared vodcasts that included lectures and supporting material. Students used Apple Computer’s iTunes software to listen to and watch the vodcasts.

“I came up with the idea as a way to further enrich the online learning experience. Having students not only read the material – but also listen to my comments and view images – gives them a fuller experience, especially because this course deals with many sounds and images,” said Cheney.

To learn more about vodcasting, contact Munindra Khaund at 206-6764 or mkhau01s@uis.edu.