Students’ Perception of Podcasting: A better tool for underclassmen who use it to review lectures and replay test preparation sessions

In late February 2009, I reported on my experiences with utilizing podcasting for two history courses during the fall. These courses included HIS 1011: Introduction to Western Civilization I, a thirty-five student lecture course with some discussion, and HIS 2591: From Baghdad to Burgos: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean, a seventeen person seminar course.

In this posting I share the results of two BlackBoard surveys of my students’ use and perceptions of the utility of podcasting. In general, while 100 percent of HIS 1011 students (primarily sophomores) reported they listened to at least one podcast, in contrast, only 50 percent of HIS 2591 students (mostly juniors and seniors) did the same. This may indicate that lecture versus seminar students may find podcasting more helpful because they are less experienced university students and that their note-taking skills may still be developing. It also may reveal that in general education requirement courses, where one might have a large number of students from other schools and majors, that these students may be using podcasting to review material they may have not understood during lecture. For example, over 36 percent of HIS 1011 students listened to podcasts between three and seven times and 9 percent listened to eight or more podcasts. In contrast only 13 percent of HIS 2591 students, almost all of whom were history majors, used podcasts more than three times during the semester. Therefore, it appears that if podcasting is to be used, it is better suited for lower division courses that serve a general student population. This finding is further bolstered by students stated rationales for listening to class podcasts – over 90 percent of HIS 1011 students reported they used these audio recordings to review for exams. None of the HIS 2591 students reported they used podcasting to study for exams. In closing, students appear to value professors’ podcasts, but only for a limited number of purposes.

Note: My complete podcasting survey results can be accessed from the links below.

HIS 1011 – Fall 2009 Podcast Survey Results
HIS 2591 – Fall 2009 Podcast Survey Results

–Dr. Roger L. Martínez, David H. Burton Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History

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