Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Podcasts to enhance the online distance learning experience

How can supplementary audio recordings (podcasts) enhance the online distance learning experience

School:  Edinburgh Medical School (BTO)  

Team Members: Emily O’Reilly, Kim Picozzi

Abstract

A podcast is an audio file downloaded onto a user’s personal computer or electronic portable device (Hew, 2009; McGarr, 2009). Our PTAS application will review the role of podcasts within the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences ODL postgraduate portfolio, with a focus on understanding how students use supplementary podcasts, their listening preferences and the perceived benefits.

Previous studies have explored the use of podcasts in education, including supplementary podcasts for ODL. The rapid technological advancements and improved connectivity over recent years mean that it is timely to review how ODL students would utilise these technologies and more specifically, how our cohort of mid-career professionals could benefit from their incorporation as a supplementary resource.  The outputs of this project would form the basis of an MSc dissertation, engaging an ODL student in what is a growing biomedical education research area; the supervisory team would include the applicants of this grant. This project would provide data and feedback that can direct and effect future podcasting series’. A podcast reflecting the findings of the research and the student’s journey through their final dissertation year will also be produced and made available as an OER. Incorporating students into the research in this dual context, provides an opportunity for enhanced feedback, participation in the design of their own programme and it is hoped that the resulting network of interactions with other students, will provide the necessary information to allow educators to successfully implement the use of podcasts more widely within these programmes.