I am an instructor specializing in Cinema Studies but with seven years of experience teaching developmental reading/writing, composition, critical thinking, cultural differences, and public speaking. I currently reside in Fredonia, WI with my wife, two sons, two cats, and our dog. For the fall of 2018, I am teaching four sections of Composition I and participating in ETAP 623 and ETAP 535 (Introduction to Game Design for Educators).
To stay current with students' interests and multimedia lives, it is important for instructors to meet these needs by including a variety of instructional tools, specifically Web 2.0 tools. In this course, learners will be guided through the use of Audacity (a free piece of audio production software) to easily add an auditory dynamic to their own classes in the form of either pre-recorded or live podcasts.
Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:
- Download and navigate the Audacity software.
- Cast audio live and/or record for later listening.
- Archive all cast audio via the Blackboard learning management system.
While many students find the allure of going to class from home attractive, many find it difficult when it comes to committing to set timelines and work-flow dates. To compensate for this, setting regular intervals for direct communication with the instructor can be helpful because such a model reflects what they may have previously experienced in on-ground courses. Podcasting offers a communicative avenue that is free and conducive to the schedules of all parties involved. While the downside may be splitting a single section into groups with specifically accessible times, the benefits are many and include direct communication, reassurance for the students, and data-driven engagement.
What is to be learned:
Learners will be self-guided through the process of downloading necessary, safe programs as well as registering for those that are necessary (also free) before being guided through each step toward producing their first audio podcast.
Those instructors who wish to expand their multimedia portfolio and add a tool to their repertoire that will allow for constant or intermittent direct feedback will benefit from this course. Such instructors may be searching to expand their Web 2.0 profile within their courses to deepen their connection to students on an ongoing if not constant basis. Supervisors will ultimately benefit by observing the positive impacts that such a streamlined pair of platforms combined with the campus' existing LMS can have.
Context for instruction:
This course is self-directed using the KNILT wiki platform. Minimum internet access is required for engaging with course material, but a moderate to high internet bandwidth is required to produce and disseminate audio. Step-by-step technical writing will coincide with context rationale to develop both efficiency in engagement as well as context for benefit.
Instructional Problem and Solution:
Communication between an instructor and their students in the online modality can often feel disconnected. By pairing visual supplements such as PowerPoint presentations with audio podcasting (both pre-recorded and live audio), instructors can connect with students in a regular, intimate way that is not unlike on-ground communication. Students, in turn, can pose inquiries to their instructors during live podcasts by making use of email, integrated chat, or integrated call-in features.
The goal for this mini-course is to expand instructors' toolbox in such a way that the current apprehension felt by some instructors in relation to the online modality might be eroded when dynamic and easily accessible communication is made evident. In addition, those instructors with much experience in the modality may find the course helpful in offering yet another way to connect with students who are as ready to engage as their on-ground counterparts.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
This course is designed for online teachers of collegiate courses, though use could extend to high school grades.
Context for Learning
This is an online course. Learners must have access to moderate to high-speed internet access in order to participate. In addition, learners must possess a microphone in order to stream and record audio for their students. This could include microphones built into webcams, headsets, or free-standing mics. The light-weight Audacity aoftware will also need to be installed to the learner's PC. In the course, learners will read text, listen to audio, view images, and watch brief tutorial video.
- Using the framework provided in this mini-course, learners will experience the pros of using podcast audio as a supplement to their classes.
- Given the strategies and tools from this mini-course, learners will design a lesson plan to leverage podcast audio as a supplement to in-class instruction. Because this is dynamic in relation to its place within a variety of course contexts, learners will be given a variety of potential integration techniques.
- Participants will produce at least one short piece of text audio allowing them hands-on practice with the Audacity softwre and its features.
- Participants will be guided through the archiving of their audio into a learning management system. Blackboard archiving will be used as an example, though the process is similar in a large variety of LMS platforms.
PERFORMANCE BASED OBJECTIVES
MODULE 1: Learners will be able to articulate the benefits of podcasts as a supplement to existing course structures.
1.1 Recognize the possibility of collaboration allowed via podcasts in the support of strengthening a community of inquiry.
1.2 Recognize the limitations of podcasts specifically in asynchronous course contexts (hence the emphasis on their use as a supplemental to existing frameworks.
1.3 Recognize a variety of potential uses for podcasts beyond obvious communication between teacher and student.
- Learners will read through concise material introducing the topic and its major features.
- Learners will watch a short introductory video
- Learners will design a brief lesson plan addendum identifying the potential strength of including a supplemental podcast to dynamically change the texture of the existing lesson.
MODULE 2: Learners will be able to access and identify the features of the Audacity software.
2.1 Locate and download the Audacity software.
2.2 Run Audacity and identify its options.
2.3 Verify the connection of a microphone within the software.
- Learners will work through a concise piece of image-based technical writing guiding them through download, running, and navigating Audacity.
- Learners will reflect on the ways in which the ease of access to the client will be conducive to their lesson and navigable by their students.
- Learners will develop a concise guide for their students to access their podcast page.
- Learners will revise the previous lesson plan addendum to include the concise guide to access for their students.
- Learners will verify that the client has been successfully downloaded and that it recognizes their microphone.
MODULE 3: Learners will apply their new knowledge by self-producing a test piece of podcast audio via Audacity. They will then review archiving that content to the Blackboard LMS.
3.1 Record a piece of test audio of any desired length via Audacity.
3.2 Upload the audio post-podcast to the Blackboard LMS.
- Learners will work through a concise piece of technical writing in preparation of recording their test audio.
- Learners will prepare Audacity by testing their microphone level and connecting the auxiliary channel to pre-recorded audio.
- Learners produce a short piece of test audio before verifying that it has been saved.
- Learners will upload the audio to Blackboard once the test podcast is complete.
- Learners will complete a reflection of their experience producing audio for the test podcast and review their hypothesis for the use of the skill in their lesson plan.
- Based on the previous reflection, learners will revise their lesson plan addendum, adding and/or clarifying any content to benefit their students.