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A Chapter on Student-generated Podcasts

Page history last edited by amiddlet50 11 years, 1 month ago

Data from a role-play on student-generated podcasts

This page contains the transcript of the role play and the post-it notes generated for the role play. First the transcript.

Transcript of the role play

AH: This is a role play committee meeting. Part of the PPP SIG meeting at Thames Valley University, Ealing, October 13th 2008.
Good morning gentlemen. Welcome to the committee meeting this morning. My name is James Herbert and I'll be chairing the meeting. It has been called because one of our staff members is proposing to podcast one of her modules and I think before we take the big step of saying "That's fine and we can support it" I think we need to take into account the perspectives and views of each body of the University: the student view, the academic view, the educational developer and learning technologist. And that's why we have called a meeting this morning. Gentlemen, as part of the meeting you are going to be asked to talk for two minutes on each point. We have three points to consider here this morning. Shall I nominate the first speaker?
?: I think the academic should speak first!
Chair: A very wise choice I feel. So, let's begin with the academic's perspective. You may talk for two minutes and I will stop you if you over run. We're going to discus the point first of all "What are the benefits in students making podcasts?" So from an academic perspective would you like to tell us what the benefits are?
Academic: Certainly. Well we think it's a very good thing for students to develop these skills. We think it's part of a portfolio of skills. It widens their perception of presentation skills. In actually developing a podcast they've got to engage with the content, which should embed the knowledge. They can develop key points and they need to be succinct to fit in with the constraints. So that I think is very attractive. The other points we talked about in terms of benefits to the students were that it can increase student's confidence and self-esteem as they have an opportunity to work together and produce a series, or although we did have some concern as to whether it should be an individual activity or a group activity. From a group management and an academic perspective it would be much better to be a group activity rather than an individual activity. So we think there are lots of potential benefits, but we do have some reservations - and that is that it should be looked at from a pedagogical point of view and perhaps we need to review the module rather than treat the introduction of podcasts as a bolt-on. The point was made by the rest of my group that there is an issue of creating expectations for this one module that needs to be played out into the other modules. That goes back to designing an overall programme rather than individual modules. But I think overall we are very supportive!
Chair: Thank you very much for your view points. That is very much appreciated. Does the student body concur?
Student rep: Well we had a large discussion about the benefits of if we did podcasting and one of the big things that came up was whether if the students were going ahead and finding podcasted lectures that they could get each week if they were going to be made available on the grand scale outside the student intranet or whether it was just going to be an internal thing. If it was an outside thing then obviously other students could come in and look at all the intellectual property rights on the course that they're paying 'x' amount of pounds a year (especially international students, as they have to pay that bit more as we all know). One of the points we raised that it could complement some of the existing studies going on at that particular time as well. And I shall read out some of the extra points that are in front of me that I wouldn't want to miss out from our group: "It's more fun than writing an assignment," "They can develop their own learning styles" is one of the benefits, and also for those students that are not technology savvy, it gives them a real opportunity, so at university they can address that, so hopefully when they finish university they've at least had a really good opportunity to explore that as well. "No, there's no benefit at all - it takes me more time than writing, I don't like it." So that's one particular view. And "It suits my learning style as I can't write essays very well." For those students with various learning styles and those students with dyslexia it obviously opens up a whole new kind of way of accessing the lectures there as well. "It's a more social way of learning", and "I don't want my image on film for religious reasons, therefore I cannot receive a podcast." So there's a whole number of views that have been put in the pot there. So a lot of benefits, but also some concerns from our student group.
Chair: I'd like to thank you very much. You've clearly done a lot of research on behalf of the student body and captured a lot of their comments. I very much appreciate your work and your hard efforts there. Are there any considerations we should take into account from a design point of view If I may pass over to my esteemed colleague.
Educational developer rep: Yes, thank you. Certainly there are many points that the other two have raised that our group of learning technologists and staff developers have also thought about. I guess they key one that we would always like to pull it back to is "Is the activity relevant to the outcome on the module?" Is it a valid activity to be doing? Will the students learn what they are meant to be learning? Alongside obviously learning these new skills keeping it relevant to what they are meant to be learning on that particular module. Once that is a given, we're generally very keen to be behind it: it is a new development, it certainly has a novelty factor at the moment. We're also keen to ensure that doesn't wear off and it doesn't get over used. [Become] over kill. The idea of students working individually on podcasts wasn't really discussed. I suppose the assumption was more that it would be done as a group project and that there is a social cohesion element to it. And some of the great strengths of students producing podcasts are that it produces an evidence base which can be easily shared and is permanent, and can be very rich in the media it contains. Other points that were raised in terms of the relevance of the skills that the students develop in terms of workplace relevant skills, presentation skills, this kind of thing, go beyond what they may gain through written work. Because of the richness of the media that can be in there, it can be a very relevant way of capturing the process of the creation of another piece of work - we were talking about the visual arts for example.
Chair: thank you. I'll stop you there. We have more items on the agenda that we must address. I've a feeling that generally we feel it is a very good idea - there are some reservations from some of the student body. But we'll move onto the second item now, perhaps in the same order might be appropriate. Is training students how to make podcasts a valuable use of resources and also their time? If I start again with our academic colleague, what would you like to comment on?
Academic rep: Well I suppose my first response is what about the staff? Because we're saying 'training of students' but there's an implication there that someone's going to provide that training. Who are the poeple? Where does the expertise lie? So I think there's a big issue there that actually needs to be thought through. I go along with the point that has already been made in fact, that it needs to be essential to include it in the module if it's going to be labelled as something that is part of the module. And I suppose our point about taking a view of the rationale of the whole programme because one could end up repeating the same content across modules and this would be a waste of the University's resources and a waste of the student's time. So, I think there's a question mark there about where and the extent of the student training. My understanding is that many students have relevant skills that they can deploy. And perhaps if we work with them on that basis, perhaps jthere is some sharing that can be built in within the group rather than the University or the module devoting specific resources to train students. It could actually be done through judicious selection of groups perhaps.
Chair: That's very interesting. What's the student perspective on this? Do you think it would be a valuable use of your time? A valuable use of resources?
Student rep: Again it was a mixed response. So some say "Yes" and some say "No." I think in the long term the additional skills that it will bring in terms of technology and a lot of careers or jobs that students will go onto, they'll probably have the opportunity to do at least the chance to put some of those skills to good use. It's another thing they can use in terms of increased employability skills... One of the other key things that comes out is resources in terms of if they need someone to turn to is their lecturer going to be the technological guru as well as an academic? Or are they going to turn to the IT staff that are thinly spread over the whole University over a number of campuses and one person gets an enquiry from a whole year group of 100 students as well. So if it can be backed up with resources allowing the students to learn those new skills I think there's a lot of positive feedback there. We did have one comment though from an unnamed member of the student body to say "It was a waste of my time - I've come here to learn so teach me." There are some other aspects as well to do with technology "As long as it's not going to replace the skill that our great academics bring to the teaching environment as well."
Chair: Thank you very much. Anything you'd like to add from a design perspective?
Educational developer rep: Just to pick up that the agenda item doesn't specifically say that it is always going to be audio production, so there may be different training requirements depending on what kind of podcasts you're going to produce... The main thing again is how it ties into the module, with an assumption that the activity is going to be assessed, what are the marking criteria there? For example, is production quality a marking criteria? In which case it would only be fair that you teach them in the process to produce it to a higher quality. If you're not going to be marking on that criteria at all then that becomes less relevant. Something that would need to be in the training before we move on to our next question is that you may need to train students on how to avoid breaking the law in regards to copyright etc. But again, it was down to how important it is on the module and what skills they've already got and what you need them to achieve.
Chair: There's lots of different things there. There's thoughts around 'Do academics have the skills to train the students or do they need to send them to other areas?' There are issues around whether students feel it's a valuable use of their time or a waste of their time; there are also very clear and precise issues regarding the design and the implementation of such a move. So thank you for your input on that. Moving on to the final question we'd like you to address, "If students publish podcasts, should we allow them to access them beyond the University's firewall? Is it necessary or desirable to do so? What options do we have?" And perhaps some legal implications also. If perhaps we maintain the same order again, if we start with the academic perspective on that.
Academic rep: I don't know the answer I don't think! I certainly don't know what the legal implications are. If the students produced it I would anticipate that the students should own it, and therefore they should have a means of making it available to whosoever they wish. But I don't know. Who's material is it? Isn't there an issue of where they have chosen to put it? And if they have produced it they can put it on YouTube, they can put it where they damn well please! And we've got no control over it. My own view, and I don't represent the University on this, is that the University should not be using its platforms to promote to a wider public.
Chair: Right, thank you. A student view perhaps would be interesting here.
Student rep: We had a whole range of views on that and I think it addresses slightly what the material is that is going to be published. I think that has a major bearing. If it's going to be some kind of artistic work, that's going to be potentially copied by someone and adopted, then that will have to be looked at. If it's going to be a presentation that a student's done, and it could be plagiarised for example, there would be slight concerns over those areas. So I think depending on the content, it slightly depends on the legislation there. But there are a couple things on copyright. Someone raised the question, how many people would like to be in front of the camera? And how many people would like to be behind? For example, we had one particular student who had slight concerns about being in front of the camera because of a debate at the home office (!) and so that wouldn't want to be effectively on our intranet or on an external website as well. That could be a quite specialist area, but definitely that's one of the major things. Legal implications? I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know. However, things like Facebook... a lot of employers are accessing that to find the profile of the student beforehand, or Googling someone, so... if you can have that on and you're starting to see some of the work there, it's also the implications of your web profile and monitoring that and the quality of the work goes in there as well. So, quite a few issues.
Chair: So the student thinks that the legal implications should be left to others, the academics or others?
Student rep: I think to some extent, depending on their content, I think they (we) want a certain amount of protection. And as the University has to have that responsibility. It would the responsibility of the University to ensure that as well. I think a discussion needs to take place in terms of what the specific things are that they're having, what the academic work is, whether that's going to be open to plagiarism.
Chair: Thanks very much. Back to our Learning Technologist and Educational Developer representative here. Perhaps the closing thoughts on this final question. What issues would you like to raise?
Educational Developer rep: OK. I think, as Learning Technologists and e-learning staff, it is very much in our remit to advise both academic colleagues and possibly students on some of these implications. Likewise, I'm not a lawyer but I have some knowledge in this area and there are going to be issues around the use of copyright materials in the podcast, and around the student's intellectual property rights potentially on the podcast. Having said that students all sign up at most institutions to some kind of student charter or contract, in which there will be a term about work produced in their studies is actually owned by the University. Authorship still remains with the student. And student data protection. I think we believe that it wasn't possible to come up with a definitive answer - in fact that would be too inflexible. It depends on the module most likely. There may be some way in which podcasts can be used as more reflective, or maybe a peer support role, which wouldn't be appropriate to share outside of the group. There may be ones where the subject matter could be misinterpreted in the public world, and that's not appropriate to allow outside. Going back to the copyright, there's a need for the University to protect itself from putting on its own systems materials that blatantly breach copyright laws, for example, inclusion of music that hasn't been cleared.
Chair: I think it's time to draw this meeting to a close. We've had some very valid input from all three representatives and I thank you for your time. At a future meeting we'll address items 4 and 5 on the agenda. But for now, I'd like to thank you very much for your time. 

PPP Post its

Questions discussed in the role play

  1. What are the benefits in students making podcasts?
  2. Is training students how to make digital audio productions a valuable use of resources and their time?
  3. If students publish podcasts should we allow these to be accessed beyond the University's firewall? Is it necessary or desirable to do so? What opinions do we have? What are the implications legally?
  4. What institutional policies and procedures do we need to pay attention to?
  5. What equipment will be needed? Will students be expected to provide their own?

Pink - the perspective of learning technologists and educational developers

Question 1

Students generally keen to engage because it is a new activity for them.
There is a social cohesion element to it.
Produces evidence base - on two levels - the practical level and the subject level.
Produces easily shared evidence that is persistant.
Is a different media - workplace relevant skills.
Capturing the process of creation of a piece of work.

Question 2

Depends on how much the 'production values' feature in the assessment criteria.
Avoiding legal pitfalls.

Question 3

Issues around: copyright, student IPR, student data protection.
Depends on the context of the module.
Plagiarism is possibly difficult to detect.
Missing out on a good marketing opportunity.

Question ?

It belongs to the University.

Orange - the perspective of academic staff

Benefits have to be apparent to busy tutors because it will take time and they already feel stretched.
Time required to 'train' students is very precious - courses are generally already full.
Will they all learn?
Need to rethink total course design rather than using podcasts as a 'bolt-on' to existing courses.
Support for academics.
Issues of resources and support: for students (equipment, e-portfolios, etc); for staff (technical support not always available, initil investment of time and energy to become familiar with new technologies.
Lead by the pedogic need, not by the technology.
More than presentation skills that can be embedded in an e-portfolio, students engage more with the learning.
Part of a blend.
Not suitable for every student or every course.
Benefit - introduces a variety of learning styles, developing transferable skills in communication, and as independent enquirers.
File output - transferable and standardised?
One file to rule them all.
Use at home and via network or VLE.
One shoe might not fit all - be selective.
Not all student groups will have opportunities to meet outside university or have access to technology.

Question 4

Institutional policies and procedures - copyright; long term storage; quality assurance, enhancement; build into curriculum development processes.

Question 5

Equipment needs - allow for flexibility, but must be able to resource all students if necessary.
Must have standard output.

Question ?

General agreement that P.C. supports inclusion of transferable skills, e.g. presentation, negotiation, useful technical skills.
Fair to students who are not confident writers, meeting needs of different learning styles.
Could increase student confidence and self-esteem as the opportunity to edit and come up with a finished product they are proud of is a real plus.
Student engagement with studies.
Great opportunity for group work and getting to know peers.
Problems getting all staff up to speed.

Green - student perspective

Creating something instead of just receiving.
Difficult to plagiarise a podcast.
Have been used to this technology since school.
More social way of learning.
"I don't want my image on film for religious reasons therefore can I not receive a mark?"
Benefits - Can develop deep learning; more fun than writing an assignment; more involved in their own learning; improve team working; easy to say what I have learnt rather than writing it - written work is not my strength; none - it takes me more time than writing - I don't like it; suits my learning style - can't write essays well; understanding the skills of how to do this so that I can use the skills in the future.
Is training students how to do this a valuable us of resources and their time? - Yeah. Great idea, useful skills; Might come in handy in my future career; could help me get an interesting job; waste of my time - I've come here to learn, so teach me!; Yes, I might use the skills in y future job; Yes, interoperate with others: IT skills sessions and training; Yes, if the purpose is clear to the students and what it will be used for; As long as I'm grouped with people who understand the technology.
What institutional policies and procedures do we need to pay attention to? - student code of conduc, expected behaviour; copyright issues, especially if [distributing] outside university firewall; ethics, i.e. cannot make images or videos of children or general public without consent; plagiarism; who can see my work? what security is there? public image of the university, bad PR? Abuse of facilities, cyber bullying; an extended IT policy? Copyright, maybe data protection as well; assessment criteria [policies], do they apply?
Will it detract from time spent on tasks which will be assessed? What if I'm not confident with technology? I would be concerned that I should be spending less time on this rather than on a written assignment and would hope I could access technical help easily; Yes, I'll waste time learning how to podcast rather than how to do my subject.
What equipment will be needed? Will students be expected to provide their own? Camcorder and some way to download this onto tjhe P.C.; as a student I may have some equipment of my own, but I shouldn't be expected to buy my own as I'm not on a media course; I would have thought I can do most things on my mobile phone, but I did not have this or more was needed, I would not expect to provide my own; some may have their own equipment which is better than that provided by the university; should be provided; don't have the money for equipment; bet it won't work and I'll have to buy my own equipment; there should be labs with equipment in case we don't have any.
If students publish podcasts should we allow these to be accessed beyond the university's firewall? Is it necessary to do this? What are the legal implications? hmmm, dunno...personally I don't mind, but the university might want to protect the innocent; copyright implications, quality of work; students should own the copyright similar to publishing articles; not sure I want my work in public - I feel I could be open to mocking; I think there are pros and cons dependent on the subject of the podcast; I m ay only feel comfortable with my peers viewing my work.
I bet the institution owns the copyright; I'm in hiding - I don't want top appear in front of a camera.

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