The New Professor: How I Podcasted My Way Into Students' Lives (And How You Can, Too)

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

In a fully-online environment with students and colleagues sometimes hundreds of miles away, making connections isn't easy. One professor found a way: podcasting. This session recounts one podcasting journey and an provides an opportunity to help you brainstorm and create ideas for your own podcast (and will be live!).


Dr. Ryan Straight is currently Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Arizona where he is also a Faculty Fellow and Honors Professor. He holds a PhD in Instructional Technology from Ohio University, where he also earned his MEd in Cultural Studies in Education and a BS.Ed in Integrated Language Arts. He teaches fully online at the undergraduate and graduate levels in topics like game design and development, human-computer interaction, designing online learning environments, and statistics and data visualization. Dr. Straight also serves as a Social Media Advisor for ISTE and writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education on mobile learning technologies, augmented reality, and social presence in online education. He lives in Tucson with his wife and three dogs.

Extended Abstract

In 2017, one professor was given a task: find a way to make a giant, sprawling Research-1 university feel like a small liberal arts campus and do it for students that are spread out all across the region. After half a year of pondering how to accomplish this, he settled on an idea: podcasting. He saw it as an opportunity to bring himself and a sense of belonging into the lives of his students regardless of their location. Two years and dozens of episodes later, the pod is going strong.

In this session, he will tell his story, explaining precisely how he does it, the winding road that led him to the current iteration of his podcast, and will share some comments from students and other members of his university community (and beyond) about the pod. You as a participant will then be given your own task: come up with some ideas about how you could do the same for your community. What would it sound like? Where is the need? What story do you have to tell that could bring your community closer, regardless of distance? Maybe it's interviewing people and maybe it's simply sharing your own story. There are no rules.

Don't have a fancy setup at home or a studio available? No problem. We'll also discuss some low- or no-budget ideas and podcasting 'hacks' to help you get your feet wet, too.

After this 10-minute brainstorming and reflection period, we will come back together and share our ideas, get suggestions and feedback from one another, and hopefully even make connections (and find some guests for our soon-to-be podcasts!).

On top of all this, the session will be recorded and aired as an episode of the The New Professor podcast with shout-outs to everyone involved that wants to begin their own pods. We're all in this together!