Podcast listenership trends continue to show how popular the format is for communicating. Podcast assignments can offer a variety of benefits to the students who create them. Creating podcasts give students experience using a medium with real-world relevance while considering how to compose multimodally, and communicate information in an effective way using digital literacy skills that could help them in future careers.

Here are some general ideas and tips about podcast use in the classroom:

Here are some external* example assignments that utilize podcasting:

Greek and Latin: In addition to reading and translating Latin and Greek in this course, students at Dickinson University do an assignment comparing different published translations of a particular poem or passage, to get them focused on close reading and different styles of translation. The podcast in the course follows that as a summative “final paper” substitute. (This site also includes an example rubric the professor uses.)

Communication Studies: This assignment is taken from a course at the University of Western Australia that's meant to explore the medium of podcasting and critically engages with the idea of participatory culture in either the podcast itself or its exegesis.

Introduction to Digital Media: Students are asked to produce a short audio documentary exploring one aspect of how digital technologies or social media are affecting the lives of college students. (This site includes an in-depth PDF file about describing the assignment.) 

Introduction to Biology and Introduction to Nursing: Students in "Intro to Nursing" and "Intro to Biology" at Pacific Union College must narrate podcast presentations for a grade. 

Semester in the West: Throughout the semester of travelling, students of Whitman College conducted interviews and record speakers, sounds, and ambient noises. The last two weeks of the program, back at Whitman at the Johnston Wilderness Campus, they synthesized their experiences from the semester into a final project, an NPR-style podcast.

Interviewing the Experts: Student Produced Podcast: This is a journal articles that explores podcasting. Students prepare a team-based research presentation on a topic that incorporates a student produced podcast. They produce and share a podcast in which they interview an expert or knowledgeable individual in the research topic area. By producing podcasts, students have the opportunity to research and analyze information, communicate effectively, and incorporate the opinions of experts in a cutting-edge way. 

*We hope to expand this with internal, Kenyon-specific examples in the near future.

CIP's Scaffolding Considerations

When implementing podcasting assignments, we have some tips for scaffolding assignment components early that will help with the overall success of the student projects:

  1. Consider breaking up the assignment into smaller milestones that get them thinking early. Creating a proposal, finding sources, creating a script, and even creating a podcast introduction can be pieces of a larger project that can be turned in throughout the semester. 
  2. Assign podcasts as "reading." If you want your students to buy into the importance of podcasting as a serious communication medium, commit to giving them examples as reading assignments. It also helps them to hear the multitude of podcasting styles that are available to them as a consumer and creator. 
  3. Schedule a classroom visit. We would be more than happy to meet with your students as many times as you'll have us. We typically like to an introduction to podcasting as a genre, where we talk about all the nuances, tips, and tricks for actually creating a podcast and we like to do hands-on audio workshops using Audacity as well. We're happy to then meet one on one with students/groups as needed to consult on projects.  

Ready for more?

Browse some things to consider as you build your podcasting assignment, such as priorities, learning outcomes. 

And view a page to share with your students to help them get started.