Getting Started with Student Podcast Assignments

Podcasts are a series of audio only programs.  Most are released on a regular basis – every day, every week or a couple of times each month – and can deal with most any topic imaginable.    Podcasting has been around the Internet for some years, but has recently gained new interest with the popularity of Serial and other new podcast series, as well as easier access to mobile technologies that let you download and listen to podcasts “on the go”.

Faculty have used podcasts to let students explore writing and creating multimedia.  Students might do original research, conduct interviews, and then prepare a script, record and edit a short ten minute program.  Podcasts work well in classes where students are progressing through original research or exploring a topic through a semester, using a podcast episode every few weeks to distill and analyze what they are learning.

Podcasting can be done in Duke classes using commonly available tools – student laptops or mobile devices, free audio software, and Duke’s multimedia streaming platform, Warpwire.

Preparing Students for the Assignment

Students will need to be able to record and edit the podcast on either their computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.  Typically, the free software package Audacity, supported here at Duke, is used for recording and editing.

Students can use OIT’s Multimedia Project Studio for recording and editing.  OIT also offers training and self-paced options through LinkedIn Learning.

Students will need to fill out a release form for public distribution of their work.  In addition, students will need to get others not involved in the class that are recorded to sign a permission and release form for recording and webcasting.  (Sample forms are located in Duke’s Scholarly Communications Toolkit.)

Setting Up and Using Your Podcast

After your students have created podcast episodes as mp3 (audio) files, you can use Warpwire to offer the episodes to listeners.  Create a new Warpwire Media Library for the podcast.  Then make sure that the Library is publicly accessible in the Sharing settings. You can then upload episodes to the Media Library.  To promote the podcast, obtain a URL for the RSS feed of the Media Library – listeners or viewers can enter this URL in their podcast aggregator.

Tell Us About Your Experience

If you’re creating podcasts in your course at Duke, let us know – we would love to feature your site on the CIT blog and would welcome guest faculty bloggers to describe their experiences with podcasts and other types of class assignments.

If you would like a consultation about creating student assignments around podcasts or would like advice on other aspects of teaching at Duke, email the CIT to set up a time to talk with a consultant.

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