Credit: Nick Romanenko
Geoffrey Buhl, a postdoctoral fellow in
the statistics department, uses blogs,
instant messaging and podcasting in
teaching undergraduate courses. Rutgers
is working on making podcasting an easy
service that instructors at any
technical level can use.
Preparing classrooms for podcasting is not expensive, Delaney said. The test setup at Scott Hall required an instreamer to convert digital audio into MP3 files, which cost about $300. Since the lecture hall is already an “enhanced” classroom – one of about 75 in New Brunswick/Piscataway – it is already equipped with microphones, speakers and other equipment required to make podcasting happen.
Colleges and universities are adopting podcasting rapidly, and not just to record class lectures. Stanford University partnered with Apple to offer recordings of football games, campus events, book readings, lectures and performances via iTunes. Rutgers is looking into a similar arrangement. Duke University last year gave iPods to 1,600 freshmen. The admissions office at the California Institute of Technology created an 11-minute podcast tailored for prospective students. Many schools use podcasting for campus updates.
“The use of podcasting to record lectures is the most talked about thing,” said Allen Woll, a history professor in Camden and director of the Honors College. “I feel like I would be giving a lecture to an empty classroom if I used it for that purpose. So that’s why we’re trying to push it in a more creative way and get out of the box a little bit.” Woll and Robert Emmons, senior program coordinator at the Honors College, accomplished their creative writing podcasting project with a technology grant from the Camden provost’s office. They are thinking of more ways to use podcasting, including having students record film reviews. “These recordings are going to stay online. This permanent record will be available to anyone with an Internet connection. It can play a big role in recruiting students to our campus.”
Protecting intellectual property is another concern for some faculty members, especially those who may design lessons or reading plans based on research yet to be published. Delaney said that the podcasting service will allow faculty members to protect their lectures with a password, making them inaccessible to users outside Rutgers or even outside of their courses.
That is not one of Buhl’s concerns. In fact, he views podcasting as an opportunity to make the lessons that students learn at Rutgers accessible to a much wider audience.
“There are two aspects to a public university: the creation of new information and the dissemination of that information for the public,” Buhl said. “The good people of New Jersey are subsidizing these things; they should get some of the benefit.”
For more information on using podcasting in the classroom, visit