For Faculty

What are the advantages of incorporating video and or audio into my teaching?
Video and audio are tools. Like a textbook, your live lecture and library resources they extend and supplement the learning experience. The value in visual and aural media is engagement. iTunes U adds the caveat of portability: the ability to recall video and audio anywhere anytime. Think of iTunes U as another tool in your arsenal that presents learning material that can be viewed by students wherever they choose.

As students adopt new technology we can use these technologies to increase exposure, participation and engagement. The iPod and other mobile devices are pervasive. Students turn to their computer and mobile devices for social interaction, entertainment and information delivery. The logical course for us as educators is to leverage this focus and take advantage of  the medium of the micro classroom. Just as the invention of the printing press ushered in the Age of Enlightenment so to does the advent of new mobile technology offer us the ability to reach students on yet another level. The revolution is not reinventing the classroom it is reinventing how we reach students and impart knowledge on them effectively.

How can using video and audio in my teaching improve efficiency?
The time you might spend building a PowerPoint presentation or preparing class notes is similar to the time required to create podcasts for your class. The persistence of the material is also similar. Once prepared, a video or audio composition may be used for multiple sections of a class and from semester to semester. It can be repurposed in many ways and easily edited to include new information.

Many instructors would love to cover content in more detail than class time allows. A podcast on a particular topic, perhaps delving into more detail, can be viewed by a student outside of the normal face-to-face classroom experience. This provides more classroom time for other exploration and can serve as background material that can then be discussed in more detail.

Time consuming demonstrations can be pre-produced and viewed by the student repeatedly, if necessary, prior to class. Enhanced podcasts, using narration and PowerPoint or Keynote for example, are more engaging and provide a more personal model of information presentation.

If I create podcasts of my lectures won’t that effect my classroom attendance?
This concern is generally applicable to instructors who capture their entire lecture and upload it to iTunes U. Lecture capture is only one option. Providing material that you do not cover in class, as part of topic preparation for example, is another way of utilizing podcasting and one that we feel has great value. A captured lecture may be one of the most valuable productions a student could ask for. The ability to review precisely what was covered in the classroom is an enticing proposal leading to the very real possibility that students may choose to not to attend class if they have this option. Review your attendance policy with the class. An enforcement method is to warn your class that the privilege of accessing these podcasts is reliant on classroom attendance. You may set a threshold of class participants required to continue offering lecture capture podcasts.

Is creating a podcast complicated?
Creating an audio podcast is straightforward. We recommend creating a written script for a podcast. An outline or list of points is also a reasonable way to prepare.
A microphone and free software (we recommend Audacity) are used together to record and edit your audio podcast. A standard computer microphone that plugs in to your computer’s microphone jack is sufficient.  The next step is to simply narrate your script/notes. Mistakes or breaks can be corrected within Audacity so you can continue recording and then go back and simply delete any mistakes or interruptions. A podcast covering the basic operation of Audacity is available at Ithaca College on iTunes U. Look for the Digital Instruction and Information Services at the bottom of the screen and then navigate to Digital Media Services.

A tutorials course page contains several tutorials, including a series on using Audacity. We chose Audacity because it is available for both Macs and PCs, easy to use, and outputs an appropriate file format (MP3) for iTunes U.