How to use podcasts in class

Are you a podcast listener thinking of supplementing your course with existing podcast content? If you want to give podcasting a try but aren’t sure where to begin, the following information should get you pointed in the right direction. The main characteristic of the podcast format is the listener’s ability to subscribe to a podcast channel. This differentiates it from regular audio content. Subscribers opt-in to receive updates for a particular podcast using podcast software that “listens’ for new podcast episodes. The podcast format is designed to notify subscribers of new episodes automatically. In this way, listeners are able to manage the overhead of streaming large media files on slow internet connections (1), a challenge we frequently encounter in Alaska. It is a perfect solution if you have occasional access to decent internet, but slow, expensive, or non-existent internet access otherwise. You, and your students, can download new podcast episodes and listen to them offline wherever you go.
This decade-old technology has recently undergone a renaissance. Podcast consumption has grown in popularity due to increasing sources of quality content, with easier access to that content (3). It used to be that podcast listeners could manage their subscriptions through iTunes, a somewhat closed platform. Today there are more options available for managing podcast subscriptions. PocketCasts, Google Music Podcasts, and Stitcher are a few examples. In a broader context, on-demand media consumption is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Netflix, Hulu, and Google Play let you watch movies and TV according to your schedule, not the schedule of a television network. The same principle holds true for podcasting. The on-demand experience naturally fits into our busy lives more easily. You listen on your own terms, whenever you like.
While podcasting isn’t ubiquitous, it has been a pedagogical player in the education arena for a number of years. As an instructor, you can implement a podcast in a flipped classroom to further explore concepts you don’t have time to get into during your synchronous time with students. If you teach an eLearning class, use podcasting as a way to record and release your lecture content to students. You may find that this audio-only format plays to your strengths. If you enjoy the performance aspect of face-to-face lecturing and have a talent for storytelling, audio recordings could help you effectively engage your distance students.
Another way to use podcasts is to supplement your course content with curated podcasts produced by others. The podcast format is flexible; a student doesn’t need to be subscribed to a specific podcast channel to listen to episodes you share with them. Incorporating podcast content can serve as additional resources for students who are more advanced than their peers, as another person’s interpretation of a particular topic, you cover in class, or as a counterpoint to issues that involve opposing opinions.
If you’re interested in setting up a podcast for your course but aren’t sure where to start contact CTL. We can show you how to record and edit your audio, then get your recordings online. We also have a dedicated recording studio at your disposal if you need a quiet space.
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For Further Investigation


  1. Farivar, Cyrus. “10 Years of Podcasting: Code, Comedy, and Patent Lawsuits.” Ars Technica. Condè Nast, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 3 Aug. 2016
  2. Tom Webster. “The Podcast Consumer 2016.” Edison Research. Edison Research, 26 May 2016. Web. 4 Aug. 2016.
  3. ComScore. Podcast Consumption on The Rise, According To Wondery/comScore Study Released Today. ComScore. ComScore, 3 June 2016. Web. 3 Aug. 2016.
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  1. Thanks! I’ve been thinking about doing podcasts. This was concise and gave me confidence because I have the equipment, software and the skills. Now I just need to DO IT!!

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