Category Archives: Resources

Podcasting in the Science Courses

As we know students, nowadays, are well versed in various technologies and are seen as easy adapters and quick learners of any technological tools. There is a lot of evidence for using podcasts across the disciplines and, in particular, in science courses. In an engineering course, for example, students were asked to create a short podcast that illustrated real-life application of an engineering projects. In a biology course, students are asked to create a video that explains concepts that otherwise would be hard to understand without visuals (interionaturer organs, cells, etc).There is a great site that gathered all of the best podcasts related to Biological sciences. By some other schools, podcasts are used for discussions with leading scientist and industries and government officials (see the Science and Society Podcasts channel). The chemistry class also makes use of podcasts to support the learning of this subject like giving a chance to listen to the entire lesson in case of absences. Another useful resource for Chemistry is “ChemPod”, geared towards the chemistry community, from interviews with Nobel Prize winners, to discussing topics such as nanotechnology research, organic or surface, chemistry. In all of these fields podcasts are used and implemented with different aims and instead use the class time for discussion and interaction. Recently the journal, New Scientist reported after having done a study on podcast integration and revealed that “New psychological research suggests that university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.” However to make it all work and be effective faculty have to define their course objectives for using podcasts, and at the same time, realizing that pedagogy must be the driving force behind their integration. Even though podcasts are very popular and accepted in academia, further research is needed to provide answers to questions related to their usefulness in education.




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Podcasting Resources

Bronx Community College Faculty will have at their disposal several podcasting resources on the CUNY Commons site: rubrics, tutorials, copyright information, faculty examples,  and spaces such as wikis, blogs, twitter and facebook. A Blackboard site has also been created and 12 faculty members will be able to share their work and progress among each other throughout the summer. The podcasting program ends in January and they will be ready to deliver their podcasting integrated courses in Spring 2012. We start on June 13th ! (check out our website !)

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To Screencast or not to Screencast ?

I have been looking for some screencasts programs to use for my upcoming summer workshop. Screencast are useful for tutorials, for illustrating powerpoints presentations, to explain a concept or document, for making short presentations, etc. It can also assist the instructor to add additional learning materials and extend the class time beyond the confines of the classroom. There are many tools one can use, like Jing, Camtasia, Screenr, Wink, ScreenJelly, etc. I want to share with the community a wikipedia site that compares all software for screencasts, from free to commercial ones. 

I tried a couple of these programs some are good, some are OK, some… not so useful.  These are the main problems I discovered: 1) once you record your screencast the time to upload the file into a server (also youtube) is infinite, it takes twice as much to upload it than to record it.  2) Some of the software lasts a very short time (the free versions) and records for only 5 minutes — in the case of Jing — and 3 minutes for ScreenJelly. 3) The other limit is that you can’t edit the sound, so if the phone rings after 10 min into your project you have to start all over !

I found a WIKI resource page for screencast, I hope you will find it useful enough to want to try some of these programs.

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Podcasting 360

Podcasting and Foreign Languages is a marriage made in heaven. The reasons are easy to understand and assess. All the resources below are applicable to any discipline.

Class Pedagogy and Methodology

The current methodology calls for the target language (L2) to be spoken at all times to allow students to learn the language inductively, through repetitions and drills.

Challenge: time constraints, the class only meets twice a week and it doesn’t allow for a consistent exposure to the language.

The Solution: create a series of podcasts to extend the exposure of the language 24/7. Students can listen and review on their own time and maximize language exposure. Podcasts also create motivation and interest for subject.

The implementation: I created for all of the Italian sections at BCC a podcasting hosting site through  the ePortfolio digication platform. I sent the link to all of the part-time instructors that teach Italian at my college, for a total of 14 sections per semester (SP 11)

Advantage: it allows me to share all of my work with all students who take Italian, not just the ones that take my sections.

Organization of site: rationale for general assessment:

Criteria for podcasting evaluation,

Italian language podcasts available on the web: from youtube to teachertube and Vimeo, etc.

Division of podcasts for level (Italian 11 and 12). A combination of audio, video and tutorials. You can see some examples on my eportfolio.

Software to create podcasts, and screencasts that I currently use and that are fee on the web are. These are my recommendation based on personal use:

Jing – allows for storage and to share and embed links, but you can only record  for a total of 5 minutes

Sketchcast:an easy tool that you and your students can use. It is not so intuitive to use at first, ok quality of the podcasts produced. A good starting tool.  

Audacity: free, easy to use, high quality recording, only small problem you have be download a separate file and embed it into the program to create mp3 files.

Camstudio: produces good quality video podcasts, but if you make a mistake you have to do the whole things over. Does not allow you to edit the audio.

Windows MovieMaker: good quality videos with narration, you can record directly within the program, but if you want to transform ppp presentations into a movie you first have to take a photo of each slide. Only allows for one track for sound.

Show Beyond: a nice way to add narrations to your photos or documents. Very good quality, you can also add captions and audio to each photo. Perfect tool to allow students to create their own podcasts.

Photo: Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593), Vertumnus, a portrait of Rudolf II.

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  Copyright Resources

The following links provide comprehensive information regarding fair use of copyrighted materials.

The United States Copyright Office

CUNY Copyright regulations

CUNY Commons copyrights WIKI

The University of Minnesota’s Copyright Information and Education site, Copyright Decision Map

Bound By Law? (Tales from the Public Domain) The Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain explains the regulations involving fair use.

The Creative Commons is a nonprofit group which allows you to obtain licenses which protect your own original work.

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