Carpe Diem Now! - Application #2
 
To diversify our portfolio of projects, we specifically used podcasting as a trigger-mechanism to bring out the best in our learners. The fundamental guideline for this project stemmed from an elaborate scheme in a Critical Thinking and Argumentation course to minimize excuses and maximize results. Intending to apply once again course content within the course structure, the main obstacle was to overcome student apathy towards having to invest time and effort on an appropriate (while potentially interesting) instructor-selected and imposed subject matter. Consequently, a complex yet simple self-selected topic proposal format was established. While this system had been in place and fine-tuned over the duration of roughly three years of teaching the course, the podcasting tool added two new dimensions: inspiration and motivation. Again, the need to specifically type up the ADA compliant text document forced the instructor to be both clear and creative, instead of merely “winging” the intended message.
 
In this course, students provided midterm speeches on instructor-screened, but self-selected, current, policy-based topics. Within the classroom they had two options to succeed with this topic by transitioning from proposal to debate topic. They could solicit their peers’ votes (only half of the course presents their speeches on one day), or they could vote for the topic they liked best. Consequently, students could not defer to the lack of interest or impact they have on the final course project. To illustrate this opportunity and the needed momentum, the podcast was especially created to trigger their competitiveness, comprehension, and appeal to pride. Considering the dynamics of the novelty and timeliness of this project, students benefited from the pedagogical principles of “persuasion” in action while learning about the principles behind it. Upon completion of this task students will actually know what they like, but they also know why they like it.
 
As an instructor, from a purely selfish perspective, recording this assignment as a podcast was advantageous in many ways. First, the podcast generated student excitement, allowing for the questions during class time to be more focused upon the logistics of this particular assignment; secondly, since this is a course that is taught every quarter, the recorded version allowed for an optimum “performance,” releasing the instructor from the task of having to be “on” every quarter when presenting the material. Let’s face it, there are some days as an instructor you definitely need to exhibit passion to get your point across in class but the reality of staying up deep into the night to grade papers and prepare for class lectures the next day may cause a weariness that inhibits your enthusiasm! Although we would not suggest podcasting be implemented solely for such a reason of convenience, still, the ability to present a “fall-back” performance when passion is lacking can be a most-welcomed alternative for both you and your students.
 
 
Application #2 Podcast
 
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Download the PDF transcript:
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