Core Activity 8.3: Communicating to an audience

Reviewing podcasts

… Conversations about using technology in education

  • Sound quality
    The sound quality varied with some parts having a distracting echo.  I assume this was due to using skype  for conversations and recording.  Volume was good and consistent.
  • Broadcast quality
    Good use of music. Good introduction summarising content and contributors.  They are produced on a regular (weekly) basis which I think is very important.
  • Suitability
    Useful for elearning professionals but possible a bit too much for general teaching practitioners to keep up with.
  • Length
    Varied between 28 and 55 mins, I would personally finding it difficult to find time to listen to 50 mins on a weekly basis.
  • Interest
    Useful and topical on current elearning topics, very reflective.
  • Academic quality.
    Based on the thoughts and opinions of respected elearning professionals
  • Suggestions for improvement
    Possible a condensed news update at the beginning as well as the ongoing discussions, although this is partially covered by the introduction.
    Possibly could use more details on how listeners can join the conversation.
  • Suggestions for use.
    Elearning managers  can dip into this to keep up to date.

Apple Education
Apple in HE

  • Sound quality
    Excellent sound quality, sounds like it was recorded in a studio.
  • Broadcast quality
    Good use of music and introduction, but it was not clear who was presenting.  It looks like all episodes were uploaded on the same date rather than a staggered programme.  Mix of audio and video episodes.  The audio podcasts i listened to were readings of case studies.
  • Suitability
    Reading text based case studies seems a missed opportunity as it does not include the voices and enthusiasm of those involved.  Often quite technical.
  • Length
    Audio episodes are generally less than 10 mins which makes them bitesized.
  • Interest

I would have found the case studies more interesting if they included interviews with those involved rarther than readings of text case studies. Also I find a monologue less interesting than a conversation.

  • Academic quality.
    Although useful case studies, the fact that they are produced by Apple gives the impression they are biased advertising, especially as they are reading out text based case studies which could have been written in a biased way rather that listening to raw interviews with those involved.
  • Suggestions for improvement
    Let us listen to the voices of those involved.
  • Suggestions for use.
    May be useful for technical departments when looking for ideas on how to use/ roll out apple products but would recommend speaking to others who have gone through the process as well.

Jan’s Podcast

  • Sound quality
    Good level of volume throughout which meant I could listen to it on my ipod while commuting.
  • Broadcast quality

Good summarising introduction.  The content sounds scripted enough to ensure there are no pauses and stumbling for words, yet relaxed enough to be interesting and confident.  This can be a difficult balance to get right.

  • Suitability

I found this to be a very good summary which could be played to other learning providers who are thinking of a similar project.

  • Length

A good length for a general introduction.

  • Interest
    Jan appeared to be talking directly to the audience and inviting them to be part of the conversation which kept it interesting.
  • Academic quality.

A good balance of case study, personal reflection and ideas for the future.

  • Suggestions for improvement
    This could be followed up by interviews with others involved in the project.
  • Suggestions for use.
    As an elearning advisor, I could play this to other learning providers who are considering the use of wiki’s

Eugen’s Podcast

  • Sound quality.
    Fairly quiet which meant I could not listen to it on my iPod while commuting.
  • Broadcast quality.
    A good introduction and the content flowed well, sounding confident and relaxed.  Not too scripted, not too improvised.   This is particularly impressive as English is not Eugens first language.
  • Suitability.
    Eugen is discussing a topic which he has personal experience of which means he is well informed and I think this should be played to developers of distance learning courses to help them get a better understanding of needs of learners.
  • Length.
    A good length for an introduction although It was so interesting I could have listened to more.
  • Interest
    An interesting topic and a friendly and confident speaker made this very interesting.
  • Academic quality.
    A good example of a personal learning environment of an OU learner who needs to work from multiple locations clearly explaining what factors influence the decisions he makes.
  • Suggestions for improvement
    This could be followed up with a more detailed look at some of the systems discussed, and how they are used on a day to day basis.  This could also be developed into an audio diary in which you instantly feedback on what systems you are using for your studies and how well they have worked.
  • Suggestions for use.
    As I have already mentioned I think this would be useful for anyone developing or supporting distance learning courses as it clearly explains some of the issues a learner has to consider when working from multiple locations


2 responses to “Core Activity 8.3: Communicating to an audience

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Sorry for the late reply. I have been on holiday. Thanks for your review and comments, really appreciated. My chosen topic is still relevant to me as I’m moving around in different countries which slows the study pace as well  Will be at the BETT next week…in between some ECA work to do.
    I had already listened to a couple of your podcasts and maybe the reason you seem quite relaxed behind the mic is because of the subjects you talk about. They are interesting and very relevant to our course. You come across as someone who knows much about the topics you talk about and therefore you seem quite relaxed creating your podcasts.
    I am not as experienced as you are. Recording my music is easy, because you don’t hear your own voice. Talking to an empty space is somehow not a natural thing for me to do..maybe it will change. Despite my nerves, I enjoyed doing this activity.
    Good luck with your ECA and thanks for the review.
    Cheers, Eugene

  2. Hi Eugene,

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. I agree that talking to yourself on a podcast can be an unnatural experience. I am lucky as my podcasts are generally a conversation with someone else, although that can be a problem as well as you have to put them at ease while keeping an eye on recording levels and things like that. It also makes it harder to re-record if there is a problem. It can be surprisingly difficult to repeat a conversation. This is why when I meet up with someone for a recording, I try to stop them telling me too much before I start recording. It is interesting to here your comparisons of recording a podcast with recording music.

    I am also going to Bett tomorrow, I will send you an email with my contact details. if you are there tommorrow and want to meet up then please get in touch.


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