Podcasting available in every classroom

This fall, students can now download podcasts of their lectures or classes due to a new program available to professors.

Apreso Podcast, created by Anystream Inc., automatically records scheduled lectures and posts the recording as podcasts, available to students on the Internet. The service is a portion of the larger Apreso product, which is already in use in the Fox School of Business.

Temple is one of three schools currently piloting the use of podcasts in departments outside the business school. Mary Young, manager of Product Marketing for Anystream Inc., said that Apreso Podcast is distinctive in its method of delivery and its usability.

“Apreso is a unique product. It gives the institution all of the tools they need to automate it,” Young said. “Based on what professors want to capture in a specific course, a recording is scheduled once at the beginning of the semester and each class is recorded from that schedule. Professors can then set the podcasts to be uploaded to Blackboard or students can subscribe to an RSS feed.”

At Temple, it is the professor’s decision to use the podcasts or not to use it.

Young said the new technology works for students because of its portability and its medium.

“Podcasting is hot and exciting right now,” Young said. “The best thing for students is the mobility; you don’t even need your computer. You can listen to it while you walk to class or in a bus or your car. It’s a convenient way for students to review.”

The new technology can also benefit teachers as well. Young claims it helps them do their job better, and makes their job easier.

“It has many benefits for professors. It really does improve
the satisfaction of students with a better curriculum and better instruction, and it’s easy to use,” Young said. “When something becomes obtrusive inside the classroom, it distracts teachers from their primary goal of teaching the students.”

Professors also have the capability to control how long a podcast is available, such as a limited time after the lecture or before midterms or finals.

Current studies of the more in-depth Apreso Classroom
system found minimal effects on student attendance in lectures with lecture capture capability.

“There was a negligible impact on attendance. A few more students skipped, but a few more also attended class. These types of technologies are finding an interesting way to deliver the content to students,” Young said.

A study conducted on the Fox School of Business classes that featured the Apreso Classroom system showed that 80 percent of students said that the program “improved student learning.”

A third reported receiving a higher grade because of the program and 95 percent of students said that they would choose a class with Apreso Classroom over one without it.

Zoraya Smalley, a senior marketing major, said she sees the podcasting program as a way to augment her notes and skip a few classes.

“I think it’s a really great idea,” Smalley said.

“I can’t write everything down in class. I’m always commuting, so it would give me something to do on my commute. I could fill in the blanks in my notes. Depending on the day of the class, I might skip one class a week.”

Senior journalism major Eric Cortes said it would be most useful in large classes.

“It seems best for the big core classes. I think it would especially help in classes like history, accounting or math,” Cortes said.

Other students are more interested in using it to clarify tough concepts in challenging classes.

“It would be best in harder classes where the professor
moves at a faster pace or the material is harder to understand,”
said Andrew Laba, a civil construction engineering
technology senior.

Aaron Pagoda, a senior history education major said he sees uses for it in most of his classes.

“It would work for pretty much anything. It would help in big lectures where you don’t really have a chance to ask questions. It would also be good to use to catch up. If there is something I don’t understand, I can go back and review the material and listen to it again,” Pagoda said.

Laba added that the recorded aspect of the program greatly enhances its benefits.

“It would be nice when you are studying for a test or if you missed class to be able to hear the professor’s words. It’s always easier to hear someone else teach than try to teach yourself or go from just notes,” Laba said.

Alex Irwin can be reached at a.irwin@temple.edu..

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