An increasing number of faculty and staff members at the University of Richmond are using podcasts and other forms of technology to supplement typical teaching settings.
Fred Hagemeister, coordinator for academic technology services in the UR Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology, said the CTLT liaisons work with faculty and staff each semester in workshops to teach about podcasts.
Hagemeister said that although podcasts have typically been a way for professors to give students access to course information or lectures outside the classroom, the small-class setting at Richmond has led to the development of more interactive uses of podcasts and other technologies.
Scott Bray, director of technology for the education department, assists education minors with learning to create podcasts for their student teaching classrooms.
“We look at different ways students can integrate technology into the classroom,” he said.
Bray also said he thought the Technology Learning Center and related departments had provided a variety of opportunities to faculty for professional development around podcasting.
Senior Emma Hines, an education minor, created a podcast in her Education through Technology class with Bray.
“We were required to create a podcast that could be used in an elementary classroom lesson,” Hines said. “I created a French podcast to talk about family vocabulary using pictures, songs and voice recordings in French.”
Linda Fairtile, the music librarian in the Parsons Music Library, said she had used podcasts for years to introduce new additions to the music collection along with her commentary.
“I was trying to find a way for more people to have access to CDs, but with an easier way to access them,” Fairtile said.
Lucretia McCulley, the director of outreach services for Boatwright Library, has been creating Podcasts@Boatwright, librarian discussions with faculty authors on their research, for the past three years.
McCulley emphasized the use of these podcasts as a type of marketing for the faculty members and for the technologies the library makes available to students.
Hagemeister said the diverse uses of podcasts are part of what makes them such a handy tool. He said many professors and staff for programs such as the Living Learning program come to the CTLT to learn about these technologies.
“Professors can use podcasts as a replacement for a paper or also as a way to augment a paper in a course,” Hagemeister said.
Hines said she thought using podcasts merely to record lectures would be boring and would lose student engagement.
“They shouldn’t be long but short, concise, and to the point,” she said.
Bray also stressed iTunes U, an interactive component of iTunes that allows students access to podcasts and other materials from universities and colleges around the country.
“When people go to iTunes U,” he said, “they see a wealth of information available for them to download, and I think it surprises them. The whole role of technology is developing ways to scaffold and support teaching.”