U of M dentists beat me to my podcasting idea (but not really)

The Ann Arbor News ran a story today in the business section (of all places) titled “iPods help drill U-M students dentists: Lecture ‘podcasts’ now available.” Drill students– get it? get it? Ah, that dental humor….

Actually, this isn’t really what I’m trying to attempt with including audio in my online class, at least not exactly. I’m not even completely sure I’m doing what would be called “podcasting” because I haven’t quite figured out that part of the technology out yet, particularly the RSS stuff. I mean, I know that blogger has an audioblogging feature that is stupid easy to use: just record a message with them with a phone. The sound quality isn’t fantastic, but it is passable and I think I can set that up with RSS, but I want to do something more sophisticated than that.

Of course, the concern/worry I have is that if I build some sort of podcast outside of the class shell, I’m not convinced that my students will use it. And furthermore, I don’t know if I really need to build it outside fo the class eCollege software. As I think I mentioned earlier, I can record sound files with my iPod and a Belkin microphone, save these things as mp3s, and then simply upload them to the eCollege site. They aren’t “podcasts” in the purest sense, but hey, who cares? If they help…

… which brings me back ot the dentists. Basically, they are doing some podcasting of lectures at the U of M dental school, and you can even get them through iTunes (no, I’m not going to try to find a link to them….) The dean of the college is behind it– he says in the article that he’s on his fifth iPod.

But the thing that I thought was interesting for my purposes was this:

[Jared Van Ittersum, who was credited with heading the podcasting concept at U-M] said podcasting lectures evolved from a similar effort at the U-M Medical School, which provides low-resolution video of professors’ lectures for students to download from the Web.

But given the prevalence of the music players among students, podcasting emerged as a more mobile medium, said Trek Glowacki, an employee at the dental school’s informatics department and a student at U-M’s School of Information. Glowacki led the pilot study into whether students preferred podcasting to video. He found most picked the pod, which also involved far fewer university staff hours to deliver.

This interests me for a variety of different reasons, but besides the idea that the technology of the podcast is easier and more mobile for students, I think it is also considerably easier and more mobile for instructors as well. I could record and broadcast video of myself with eCollege, but even with the support I would get from Continuing Education at EMU to do this, it would still be an enormous pain in the ass. I mean, I’d have to go to a studio someplace, they’d have to cut the video together (or I’d have to do it, and that’d be a totally different learning curve), it would take a long time for students to download, etc., etc. Making and delievering a 10 minute mp3 file (albeit a not great sounding one) takes me a total of 20 minutes: 10 for the recording and 10 with the futzing. Not counting-retakes, of course.

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