Category Archives: General

Announcement: Summer Podcasting Workshop 2012

Bronx Community College will host its annual Faculty Development online program which will feature Blackboard training, Web. 2,0 and Podcasting. The podcasting workshop will take place on June 8, 2012. For more information please contact the OIT office

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Announcement: Podcasting of Street Sounds

Invitations were sent out to common citizens to record city sounds then the chosen tracks were selected for display on this virtual sound museum. One of our BCC faculty, WI Coordinator Lynne Ticke, professor of psychology, responded to the call.  Her podcasts were selected among others to be broadcast to the NY Community for all of us to enjoy. Dr. Ticke interest in sound installations was also parallelled with her academic interests. In fact, in Summer 2001, she enrolled in the Summer Podcasting Workshop and has been recording ever since. Check all of the winners and their street sounds. A true gift indeed !

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“Let me tell you what I think”; using podcasts for feedback.


An interesting use of podcasts is to provide feedback. This feedback is meant to offer students commentary on their academic work and to orally assess their performance. Scientific literature reveals several studies on the topic, some of which describe how audio recorded feedback on written papers is an effective method that provides individualized instruction. Furthermore, one study suggests that students find it more meaningful to receive this type of commentary than the traditional written one since it positively impacts their self-esteem, motivation and revision practices.

In a survey, students reported they find oral commentary on school performance to be more relevant to their needs and more appropriate for students with special needs. More specifically, students feel oral commentary is helpful to improve school work since it is more clear, direct and detailed than written commentary. In a 2008 study, the researcher focused on using podcasts to give feedback on Ph.D dissertations. Interesting right? Would you have liked to be on the other side of this new trend? The positive results are easily comprehensible since students thinks it’s more useful to receive feedback this way since it is more on point, detailed and clearer.  However, in a further study, the tone of voice was underlined as a negative factor for some students. This is also an interesting aspect to discuss. Do you think tone and disposition also plays a role? I believe this would be the case since students can sense the professor’s sense of openness, relaxed attitude, and encouragement. So are you ready to try this with your students next time around? I think I just might!

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Tools to create a storytelling or a digital sound project in the classroom



A great way to find out about “human sounds” is to explore the many oral archives that populate the internet. Some of the most interesting collections are the ones that bring together dialects and speech accents from various parts of the world. These audio files and collections are housed in renowned universities and libraries and the good news is that they can be freely accessed from everyone just by surfing the web. Some of the most interesting ones are the Dialects Archive which displays all of the dialects from different parts of the US (and around the world), Another interesting archive is the British, Sounds Familiar? Accents and Dialects of the UK which stores all of the dialect variations of  the English Language. Among the many oral archives one can find, an interesting one is the Smith College’s Voices of Feminism, Oral history Project. It collects recorded interviews (on DVD or VHS video tapes, plus audio CDs) with transcripts; and also the correspondence between interviewer and interviewee.

This could be an interesting way to incorporate audio podcasts in the classroom! Simply ask students to work on a large scale project. Students can interview immigrants, folks who grew up in the 50s or those with large families.  To carry out this work students can use different programs or use the old digital player or phone recording apps even though, their quality is not so great. I recommend thefollowing free recording (with storage options) programs: Audacity, Wavosaur, Olefa, Audiopal and Podomatic

Have you tried to create a digital oral project in your class? If you want to check out more options, then visit the following page !

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Recording Sounds From Birds

I am compelled to share with you the latest work of a colleague at Bronx Community College. Jeff Talman teaches in the Art and Music Department and just this week he wrote a piece, “Birds of New York: A Soundscape”, on the New York Times. The article features his latest installation at Columbia University’s Chapel, the orchestration of the recordings of birds’ sounds. His attraction to these sounds began when he was student at Columbia University and the idea of replicating it was a project that had been twirling in his mind for quite some time. But more than that, Talman claims that he always felt that music is not just made inside a room, but that there is a lot of musicality in the natural environment, “Flight and music both represent freedom from earthbound restraint. But music is even more intangible; music is made of the air, the medium of flight, the ether between us. Music is made of the sky.” He began with an installation that features the sounds of 102 species of birds which were made available by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has the largest collection. After a masterful “manipulation” of these sounds, Talman was able to achieve “a kind of spatial chamber music as performed by virtuosos and sung by some of the world’s greatest sopranos.”

Here is the link to this wonderful piece of music, art, and composition.

Have you ever recorded sounds of birds or any other sound found in nature? If so please post your work on the comment feature.


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Podcasting and ESL

Podcasting has become an important and effective tool then learning a foreign language. Many ESL podcasting sites have recently surfaced: some offer pronunciation, dictations, songs, sample dialogues, and stories. It is certainly a very effective way to learn, you can listen to content over and over — 24/7. Here are some of the blogs I found which promote ESL learning via audio. (ESL podcast– for profit) (ESL classroom activities) (resources for Learning English) (stories for ESL students)


The article written by Wesley A. Fryer also discusses the benefits for using podcasts in education.

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Podcasing isn’t just about recording, editing, publishing and sharing, but it can also be a fashion statement. Check out the AUDIO WAVES chiffon ! A must have for podcast lovers ! A colleague from BCC was wearing one of these scarves and I just had to have it ! If interested you can find it here  Happy podcasting everyone !

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Podcasting Workshop BCC Summer Program (June 13th, 2011)

Multimedia: Building Stronger Connections Inside and Outside Your Classroom, June 13, 2011, 9am-4pm. This program will provide hands-on training on how to produce screencasts and audio/video podcasts and discover how these tools can effectively enhance the teaching and learning environment of your courses. The workshop will also explore the pedagogical aspect of multimedia as a device for tutorials, for creating activities and assignments, and as an extension of the learning experience beyond class time. Modeling, course design, and alignment of course objectives, will be included in the pedagogical framework of this workshop. Laptop computers and microphones will be provided, though participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop if available. Participants will plan, produce, and deliver multimedia in a Fall 2011 course. No online teaching experience is required. Program Incentive: $1,000 stipend, paid in two increments. The workshop will be taught by Giulia Guarnieri
Download Application:

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The “P-Word”: Yes Thanks !

I would like to offer my opinion on the recent blog entitled the “P-Word” which I found on the Commons. The desire to discuss my personal take on pedagogy comes from different sources mainly the type of subject I teach, foreign languages, in which methodology plays a central role. Secondly, the fact that I manage a blog called “pedagogy and podcasting” (two P-words!) and I conduct at my college workshops on pedagogy. With the word pedagogy we generally refer to the study of what it means to be an educator and the focus on the methods used for teaching. Foreign languages, for example, must be taught using some type of (possibly current) methodology otherwise the students learning outcomes will be severely impacted. When a faculty is observed, teaching is evaluated not on the fact that he/she speaks the language fluently, but most importantly that he/she knows how to teach it. For example, just because you are a native speaker of a certain language doesn’t necessarily mean you can teach it to others. Some of the things we look for are: Is the target language spoken at all times? Is it a student-centered classroom? Are drills, repetitions, or communicative strategies part of the methodology used? In the 1800, foreign languages were taught using the so called translation method then new approaches were introduced such as the audio-lingual method, the oral approach, the communicative approach, language immersion method, the Natural Approach, and Total Physical Response –just to name a few.

The importance to have a grasp of current teaching methodologies in my field is also proven by the fact that during job interviews potential candidates are usually asked to teach a language class (I had to do this several times during the job hunting process). The reality is that CUNY is mostly a teaching institution, (the course load provides support for this assertion), even though research and service also play a big part in tenure’s expectations. Apart from rare cases, I do not see many opportunities to share teaching tips and tools among colleagues. For the most part the focus seems to be on content but not so much on the how that content is being delivered. What strategies are used to maximize the learning of that specific subject? What are students actually learning? This, of course, took me a while to conceptualize but I do ask myself the following question: “How do I know what students are actually learning?” all of these questions offer a sort of explanation to the “art of teaching”, or good use of classroom time — you can call it pedagogy or methodology. If we go back to the origin of the word education, from the Latin ‘educere’, it meant to nurture, to preserve, to grow, to instruct and to provide, but it also meant to train and to raise.  Pedagogy — in Greek pais/paidòs — means son, youngster and the verb ago translates to the word to conduct. From all of these definitions, the concept that emerges seems to indicate that education means to “get something” out of someone. In the 19thcentury, pedagogy was equated to an applied science, as a discipline with scientific methods and processes, it was no longer seen as purely metaphysical knowledge but it became a critical discipline that studied how knowledge is learned.

Nowadays we are more concerned with establishing parameters, assessment, individualizing objectives and learning goals: in other words students should all reach in the end the same results. Has this evolution of parameters lead to an improved quality of learning? This is the 100 million dollar question ! The point is that we need to have these discussions and exchanges more often. In the blog I also read that the most important things are learned outside of class, I do not dispute that, and I don’t know if this is always the case, but as an educator I am concerned of what happens inside the classroom.  Perhaps if the teaching is successful the rest, the life’s lessons, happens by osmosis. I would like to advocate that CUNY’s graduate programs develop specific courses that place methodology at the center, or at least, make it  a part of graduate students’ professional preparation. When I ask my colleagues who teach history, biology or art about their pedagogical training, they tell me that this was never part of their graduate academic journey. I think that this is a big gap of graduate education and that the current job market reality is not reflected in the preparation of language instructors, at least this is what I see in my field. The chances that a graduate student will end up teaching literature courses in a research institution are very slim, this means that language teaching will become the bread and butter of someone’s teaching profession. We simply do not prepare our professionals for this reality and we do a disservice to them and to students. I thank you dear colleague for sharing your thoughts with us, and for bringing to light  the P-word, which is not a bad word, or a strange senseless word, but a word that needs to be brought out of the cave and taken to the floor for discussion. I hope that your blog will make people want to know more about the art of teaching, and I believe it has.  I think that the pedagogical challenges faced by FLs  can be applied also to other disciplines. I would like close with this quote “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” [Mark Van Doren]

 Carlo Maratti, (1625-1713) ” The Virgin teaching the infant Christ how to read”

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Podcasting Principles

You can check out the powerpoint on podcasting made into a screencast with Jing (free screenscast software) which provides an overview of what podcasting is and what it entails: from software to pedagogy.

Podcasting_ppp – SuperG’s library

*Jing allows you to make quality screencasts and store them into its server and share them with your friends. The drawback to the free version is that there is a 5 minute limit on the length of the screecasts. The pro version allows you to record for more time, but you have to pay. An easy solution is to consider making shorter presentations.

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