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Podcasts as Tools in Introductory Environmental Studies

    Authors: Christine Vatovec1, Teri Balser1,2,3,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies; 2: Department of Soil Science, and; 3: Institute for Cross-College Biology Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 17 May 2009
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Soil Science, 204 Soils, 1525 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706. Phone: (608) 262-0132. E-mail: tcbalser@wisc.edu.
    • Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 19-24. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.95
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    Abstract:

    Technological tools have increasingly become a part of the college classroom, often appealing to teachers because of their potential to increase student engagement with course materials. Podcasts in particular have gained popularity as tools to better inform students by providing access to lectures outside of the classroom. In this paper, we argue that educators should expand course materials to include prepublished podcasts to engage students with both course topics and a broader skill set for evaluating readily available media. We present a pre- and postassignment survey evaluation assessing student preferences for using podcasts and the ability of a podcast assignment to support learning objectives in an introductory environmental studies course. Overall, students reported that the podcasts were useful tools for learning, easy to use, and increased their understanding of course topics. However, students also provided insightful comments on visual versus aural learning styles, leading us to recommend assigning video podcasts or providing text-based transcripts along with audio podcasts. A qualitative analysis of survey data provides evidence that the podcast assignment supported the course learning objective for students to demonstrate critical evaluation of media messages. Finally, we provide recommendations for selecting published podcasts and designing podcast assignments.

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References & Citations

1. Bates AW, Poole G2003Effective teaching with technology in higher education: foundation for successJossey-BassSan Francisco, CA
2. Belanger Y2005Duke University iPod first year experience final evaluation reporthttp://cit.duke.edu/pdf/ipod_initiative_04_05.pdf
3. Bell T, Cockburn A, Wingkvist A, Green R2007Podcasts as a supplement in tertiary education: an experiment with two computer science courseshttp://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/andrew.cockburn/papers/podcast.pdf
4. Flanagan B, Calandra B2005Podcasting in the classroomLearn Leading Technol3332025
5. Hoffman C, Goodwin S2006A clicker for your thoughts: technology for active learningNew Library World1079–1042243310.1108/03074800610702606 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074800610702606
6. Isakson C2006Caught on the web: podcasts in educationEduc Dig7187980
7. McKeachie WJ, Svinicki M2006McKeachie’s teaching tips: strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachersHoughton MifflinNew York, NY
8. Rankin EL, Hoaas DJ2001Teaching note: does the use of computer-generated slide presentations in the classroom affect student performance and interest?Eastern Econ J273355
9. Warlick D2005PodcastingTechnol Learn26270
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v10.95
2009-05-17
2017-06-26

Abstract:

Technological tools have increasingly become a part of the college classroom, often appealing to teachers because of their potential to increase student engagement with course materials. Podcasts in particular have gained popularity as tools to better inform students by providing access to lectures outside of the classroom. In this paper, we argue that educators should expand course materials to include prepublished podcasts to engage students with both course topics and a broader skill set for evaluating readily available media. We present a pre- and postassignment survey evaluation assessing student preferences for using podcasts and the ability of a podcast assignment to support learning objectives in an introductory environmental studies course. Overall, students reported that the podcasts were useful tools for learning, easy to use, and increased their understanding of course topics. However, students also provided insightful comments on visual versus aural learning styles, leading us to recommend assigning video podcasts or providing text-based transcripts along with audio podcasts. A qualitative analysis of survey data provides evidence that the podcast assignment supported the course learning objective for students to demonstrate critical evaluation of media messages. Finally, we provide recommendations for selecting published podcasts and designing podcast assignments.

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