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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Podcasts in film class — Pedagogically Speaking

This year in my Italian film class which is taught fully online at the School of Professional Studies (CUNY), I decided to have students create an assignment in which they had to deconstruct a movie scene from a technical point of view. The delivery however was not via paper, but via podcast. The main topics of this homework were: use of light and color, characters, point of view, camera takes and framing, etc. I also provided students with an explanation of why I had them do this assignment in this way, I think it is important to inform them that we use technology purposefully inside the classroom. Here is what I wrote on the HMK page on my Eportfolio.

“In this course I am asking students to create two podcasts, or audio files. One is a technical analysis of a movie, one is a reflection over the course and what they learned about Italian cinema. I could have students carry on this task in a written form, but I believe there is value in also promoting oral skills. In the United States, in general, most assignments are written and, during their academic careers, students hardly get a chance to practice oral argumentation. In California’s public university system this practice has now become part of the academic curriculum, and I share and endorse this pedagogical approach. When you speak orally you muster in small time frame several skills: enunciation, precision, intonation, clarity, persuasion and articulation. And most of the time you get to do it only once, and if your speech is inarticulate, it is immediately evident to the listener. When discussing a topic, simply by agreeing or disagreeing, students get a deeper understanding of an issue. In addition, listening to other students speak will create more stimulation to create responses, more engagement and eagerness to do the assignment, and by default create a community of learners. In this course, I want to provide students with the opportunity to practice formal speaking, a necessary skill which is vitalin the workplace — some of the work required by future employers, for example, might take place via skype or conference call or involve a presentation in front of potential clients.”

This is the work created by students which is posted on their ePortfolio platform by DIGICATION.

L\’avventura (Antonioni)

Sergio Leone

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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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Do you VOCAROO ?

I discovered a wonderful software with a strange sounding name, it is called VOCAROO. It creates audio podcasts in the most simple way.

Nothing to download, install, subscribe to, just click record, then “click to stop” and you are done! The second stept is to cut and paste the URL of the file and send it to your students, instructors, or upload it on your blog. You can have students create podcasts for your class without having to provide digital players or engage in students’ training. I recommended it ! It’s wonderful and ready for use. I’ve implemented it in my Italian Cinema class (SPS) and language courses. I also use it on my Eporfolio platform from digication. (Free version of the program)


There is an upgraded version of Vocaroo called VOCAROO EXPRESS  that you have to pay to use. It allows you to store your podcasts so that they don’t get lost. You can download a free trial version of this cool software.

Here is the website:

These are some of the features of the pay version of VOCAROO (The following list is taken from the vocaroo website)

  • Simple to use. Click to record, click to stop, and click to send!
  • Send voice messages as an attachment using your Windows email client.
  • Use the email software and address book you are are comfortable with.
  • All recordings are saved on disk for backup and later listening.
  • Help messages guide you each step of the way (all three of them!).
  • A rather fetching green and purple colour scheme

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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 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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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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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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The Italian Unification and TV ads

The Italian TV produced several TV ads in celebration of the 150 year since the Italian Unification (1861-2011), The first one revolves, of course, around soccer –one of the few unifying elements — that makes all Italians feel like one (the music underneath is of the Italian National Anthem). Happy Birthday Italy !

The other ads displayed in the clip below show all of the richness of the Italian dialects which are still being spoken throughout Italy today.  The ads make fun of the fact that if we still spoke to each other using the languages spoken 150 years ago we would not be able to understand a single word ! My dialect is not represented in the ad (Emilia Romagna), and therefore I do not understand anything of what people are saying here ! (just like the people in the ad) Not a word. “If we were still living 150 years ago we would all still speak like this…” the ad says at the end. EH?

Check out the ads no need to speak Italian.

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The Added Value of Teaching with Technology

In the last 10 days I participated at two technology conferences. One was about ePortfolios (AAEEBL) and one was about blended learning (Sloan C). At the first presentation I went with a colleague of mine, Dr. Kate Culkin. Both she and I presented separate powerpoint presentations in which we discussed how we were able to successfully integrate podcasting in teaching history and foreign languages. We both addressed the added value or using ePortfolios & Podcasting in our respective classes and how this has improved students’ learning. Dr. Culkin’s presentation argued how significant the use of podcasting has been in making students feel and act like public historians. Moreover, the other important point emphasized is that students were allowed to reflect about who acquires the right to talk about history and who is allowed to write it. Podcasts were presented which showed how the activities assigned to students allowed them to think in depth about the historical process.

My presentation discussed how valuable podcasting production is for foreign language teaching, in terms of improving oral and aural proficiencies. Furthermore, I provided concrete evidence of how the learning objectives, as well as the Gen Edu objectives, are aligned with the technology used. I showed the work of my students discussing topics that range from slow food vs fast food, personal narratives, recipes,  etc. The AAEEBL provides a resource page with some of the presentation offered at the conference, if interested; you can consult their website,

What are in conclusion the added values of ePortfolio & Podcasting?

  • Learn how to communicate in public about educational content
  • Keep track of progress overtime (ePortfolio does not go away, unlike Blackboard)
  • Be able to share information, knowledge with a community of learners
  • Decentralize learning which no longer comes exclusively from the teacher
  • Share resources among other sections of the same class.
  • Increase interest for subject matter: students are more willing to do the assignments if the class is more engaging.


At the Eporfolio conference we learned what other colleagues are doing and how ePortfolios can be used, from language placement (having high schools produce language artifacts as evidence of proficiencies), to open source ePorfolios such as WordPress and Mahara. We also learned about instruments and analytics used for assessment such as Pearson LearningStudio’s ePortfolio.

At the 8th Annual Sloan-C conference I met several people who are interested in making a difference in students’ education and listened to a very thought-provoking presentation from the keynote speaker, Josh Jarret (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) at the plenary address. Just as an aside — there were aspects about Jarret’s presentation that made me jump out from my chair. No one dares to address the fact that all of us (especially the top 1% of the richest people in America) should start to think about paying more taxes to fund public education (like Canada and Europe) if you want public universities and schools to be affordable for students. This is another topic for another day, but I believe that this is a big issue in the United States that no one wants to address. The panel which I enjoyed the most was “Social Media to Facilitate Community Building Engagement”. I reported some of the ideas we could implement to the director of OIT, since our college is moving along a proposal for an online degree. I take away the idea of how to better integrate social media (Facebook and Twitter) in the classroom and consult more often the following resources: Teacher youtube channel, TED/ED, Edu-Tastic which I gladly share with the CUNY Commons Community. I learned that you can send tweets as a text message, publish photos and use podcasting ,etc. Check it out,

The principal philosophy about using technology in the classroom is that pedagogy should drive the technology and not vice-versa. I heard Dr. Picciano drive home this point at the conference in Chicago during one of the plenary sessions. This type of conceptual rationale is somewhat lacking and it should be more visible in technology-based panels — ideally it should become the starting point of such conversations. Most of the social media session I attended did not sufficiently address this issue in detail, perhaps since the people speaking were not faculty members but for the most part administrators. I would like to offer some good reading on this topic to gain some perspective on this important issue, article I “Pedagogy-Based Technology Training” and article II, “At the Intersection of Technology and Pedagogy: Considering Styles of Learning and Teaching”, I look forward to more conferences. A presto ! Ciao!

Photo — Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) Bacchus.

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