Podcasts: Transforming Faculty Professional Development One Listener at a Time (During Their Commute)
Concurrent Session 4
What do you do when faculty are not available to participate in on-campus professional development? Podcasts are well-positioned as an accessible medium for disseminating information and anytime/anywhere learning. This presentation offers an innovative model for addressing some of the challenges of delivering professional development by creating a podcast series.
At this education session, an instructional design team at a large state university will present a new model for addressing some of the challenges of accessibility, versatility, scalability, efficiency, and timeliness of faculty professional development through a strategically designed podcast series.
If, as Marshall McLuhan famously proclaimed, the medium is the message, then what does it mean when our faculty who teach online are regularly required to trek into a campus conference room sometime between the magic business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in order to engage in faculty development?
While academic subject matter, pedagogy, and technology topics have evolved over time, the process of developing and disseminating faculty development programs and events has remained relatively static. Faculty members are often expected to attend workshops, presentations, seminars, and training events in-person, at inflexibly scheduled times. This may put a disproportionate burden on faculty who teach online and rarely if ever come to campus. While there has been some innovation in recent years with transforming faculty development materials into online modules or videos, these can be costly and time-consuming to produce. Off-the-shelf commercial packages may be prohibitively expensive and lack important contextual information.
Can the development specialists, instructional designers, and other experts engaged in providing this important service envision a new way to reach and support not just online faculty, but any faculty?
Podcasts are well-positioned as an accessible medium for disseminating information and provide a flexible platform for anytime/anywhere professional development. Over the last ten years, podcasting as a medium has been quietly maturing and steadily increasing in listenership. Recent research indicates that a significant number of Americans are familiar with and indeed frequent consumers of podcasts. The cost of high-quality audio recording equipment and editing software is reasonably low. Published podcasts can be accessed from virtually any type of computer or mobile device. The podcast audience can actively engage and discuss episode contents with peers and topical experts via social media and/or institutional online forums.
During this presentation, participants will learn about the comprehensive podcast planning, production, dissemination, and evaluation model in use by this instructional design team. Selected brief excerpts of popular, published episodes will be shared. A preliminary report on consumption patterns and faculty reactions will be reported.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
- Reflect on the potential benefits of implementing podcasts for faculty professional development.
- Describe the planning, production, and distribution cycle for a faculty professional development podcast series.
Audience Engagement & Materials:
Participants will be invited to engage in interactive question and answer moments throughout the presentation, and will also be provided with a brainstorming/planning worksheet related to developing a podcast series. Additional handouts will include selected presentation slides, model diagrams, and production equipment spec sheets.