100 ways to use a VLE – #56 Hosting a podcast

Creating podcasts can be relatively simple, however when created where do you host them? You can “buy” hosting space, you could put them on a “free” web host or you could put them on the VLE. Of course by placing them on the VLE you do create issues about learners who wish to subscribe (via RSS) to the content through iTunes or Juice or similar, though that is not insurmountable. The VLE can also just have a link to the podcast files and the podcast subscription instead.

Podcasts are an effective mechanism to support learning. Due to the audio format, learners can download and listen to them on an mp3 player (such as the iPod) as they walk to college, or catch the bus. Likewise mp3 files can be burnt to CD and a learner could listen to them in their car, or on their home music system. Though portable, learners can also access podcasts direct through a computer and listen to them via the computer speakers (or headphones).

Teaching is an oral tradition, we have been “listening” to lectures and conversations for years; podcasting allows learners to listen when, how and where they want to. The other key advantage is that podcasts can be listened to more than once, enabling a learning objective to be reinforced or for revision purposes.

Recording podcasts can be relatively easy; though it does make sense to try and get good quality audio.

What is generally more difficult is getting the content right, so that learners listen to the podcast. Monologues and recordings of lectures are often better than no recording, but dialogues and conversations often are more interesting to listen to.

Podcasts do not need to be length affairs, ten to fifteen minutes is more than ample for more educationally orientated podcasts.

Podcasts do not need to be in a single place, so for example you may host the podcasts on a WordPress.com blog and use that RSS feed, you may then also link direct to the podcast file or upload it again to the VLE so that learners who wish to can access it that way.

Podcasting through the VLE is one more way in which you can use the VLE to enhance and enrich learning.

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