Friday, November 16, 2007

Philosophers get out of the cave, into the pod(casting)?

My university has a program that assists faculty in creating audiofiles that can then be used to create podcasts students can subscribe to, download, etc. I've not yet explored this in detail, but I'm interested and would be curious to know if anyone has any experience or insights into this.

The first issue is the content of the podcasts themselves. The obvious benefit of podcasts would be that students could listen while in their cars, on the bus, walking to class, etc. I don't think I want to encourage their use as a substitute for in-class activities, so I don't think I'll put lecture-like content on them. My idea was to use them as ways of refreshing student's recollections about the content of previous meetings, perhaps highlighting a few key points, suggesting a few questions to ruminate over in preparation for the next meeting, and so on. I thought I could also ask students to e-mail me questions related to a given meeting's content, and I could offer responses to the questions on the podcast. I could also remind students of upcoming tasks and deadlines.

Anyone have any suggestions here?


  1. I haven't used podcasts in any central way to teaching, yet (I'm just starting out). But this past summer, I did recommend to my students podcasts from WNYC's RadioLab, which is an EXCELLENT show. The students really liked the show and would bring up, during discussion, science cases that were discussed in that show. I've also referred students to podcasts from Philosophy Talk when they expressed interest in an issue that wasn't central to the class. I think they're a great tool.

  2. My Organic Chemistry professor makes all lectures available as podcasts; it's come in handy now and then. I guess it depends on whether you're worried that making material available outside of lecture will create a slippery slope of laziness.

  3. I've thought about using podcasts in my logic class to give explanations of homework problems that we don't go over in class. This would allow me to give students feedback on their work without having to write out a lot of comments. I haven't done it yet, but only because I haven't had time this semester to make the podcasts.

    This could work for providing detailed feedback on exams, too.

    There are a number of logic podcasts available, although I haven't listened to them. Princeton Review does an LSAT Logic in Everyday Life podcast, and someone named Rick Grush has a series on "Basic Sentential Logic and Everyday Life."

  4. I produce a podcast program called Engage, in which I interview different people on issues usually related to social and political ethics. I sometimes assign the podcasts as supplements to readings in class, depending on the subject matter. Students have told me they really enjoy listening to people seriously discuss the issues they're reading about in class. You can access Engage here or by my blog, which tries to extend the conversations started in the podcasts.


If you wish to use your name and don't have a blogger profile, please mark Name/URL in the list below. You can of course opt for Anonymous, but please keep in mind that multiple anonymous comments on a post are difficult to follow. Thanks!