Podcasting and Education

Friday, 26 May 2006

A lecturer at a West Yorkshire university has abolished traditional lectures in favour of podcasts. Dr Bill Ashraf, a senior lecturer in microbiology at Bradford University, says the move will free up time for more small group teaching.

He told The Times Higher Education Supplement that first year biochemistry students would watch or listen to virtual lectures in their own time.

Students will access the podcasts via their MP3 player, phone or computer.

Text questions

Students will ask questions about lectures via text message, which will be answered in Dr Ashraf’s blog.

The lecturer has also been putting his appointment times online so students can check if he is available or book a meeting without coming into the university.

Dr Ashraf said the move would better suit the needs of distance learners, part-time students and those balancing studies with family and work.

He said: “Some lecture classes have 250 students, so I question the effectiveness of a didactic lecture for an hour.”



Wednesday, 6 September 2006

By Marie Jackson
Education reporter, BBC News

iPod Nano

The scheme was paid for with savings made on building work

College students are to be given free iPods so they can catch up on missed lectures in their own time.

South Kent College in Dover has spent £25,000 on Nano iPods for 250 students in the hope they will listen to podcasts of lectures, as well as music.

Assistant principal Josh Coleman said he had looked to the US and Australia for new ways to encourage learning.

But pressure group Campaign for Real Education said it was wrong to offer bribes and it devalued education.

CRE chairman Nick Seaton said: “Youngsters should want to take the courses for their own sake if they are worthwhile.

“Let the college keep two or three iPods to lend to the youngsters.

At first people thought I was giving iPods out to get people through the door, but they can now see the long-term merits

Josh Coleman, assistant principal

“It’s a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money.”

But Mr Coleman said the MP3 players would only be handed out next month to those teenagers who had completed all their assignments and had full attendance.

The pilot scheme had been paid for with savings made on a building project, he added.

Lectures on IT, motor vehicle engineering and childcare were likely to be the first to be podcast, with scope to make all courses available to download by next year.

Mr Coleman, who is in his second year as principal at the college, said staff had been positive.

‘High quality teaching’

Asked if some would rather see a pay rise than the latest technology, he said: “Everybody would like to be paid more.

“At first people thought I was giving iPods out to get people through the door, but they can now see the long-term merits.

“As we attract more full-time students, that generates income which will offset initial outlay, and their wages will go up.”

He added that he did not foresee attendance falling as students were given the option of catching up on a missed lecture.

“If they come to college and they get high quality teaching, they will want to come back for more,” he said.

Music players are already being used by students at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville in the US who have found that they have become an integral part of coursework.