I know it is sort of funny that I would be hopped on the notion of podcasting -- you'd think I would have already said everything that needs to be said about it over the last several years. But recently I've been thinking a lot about our Institutional podcasting efforts and where it should be headed. We've been at work trying to revamp and rethink the Podcasts at Penn State site and surrounding services to make them easier and more discoverable. Later this semester we'll release a new site (built on MT) that will have some new tools to support faculty use of iTunes U. The tools will allow for the auto-creation of iTunes U sections, enable faculty editable access controls, and introduce a new statistics dashboard so they can easily see who is accessing their work. All in all it will make things easier on the setup and management side -- it really won't address the active side of podcasting.
With that said I, what I am most concerned with is related to what we are really seeing with our podcasting efforts. I do know there are lots of audio and video files being pushed around in our podcasting space, but what is really happening? Are faculty recording lectures, doing short things outside of class, or are they letting their students create? I think it is time we find out for sure. I am betting, from what I hear most faculty talk about, is that there is less lecture recording than anyone ever imagined -- but I am proposing we find out.
To do that I need a little help ... what are the categories of podcasts we should be looking for? If I am making a list, it looks like:
- Full lecture podcasting: Files that focus on lecture recordings of class sessions.
- Instructional podcasting: Files that would tend to originiate outside of classroom.
- Conversation starter podcasting: Files that are designed to stimulate conversations.
- Feedback podcasting: Files that are delivered after activities that students complete.
- Student podcasting: Files that are produced and uploaded by student.
What else is there? I think it would be relatively easy to setup a database that we could use to randomly sample the podcasts coming out of Penn State on iTunes U see where they fall. It would be nice to know where we need to add more energy. Any additional thoughts?