Podcasting and Assessment for Learning

Christopher Laing, Paul Vickers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Podcasting is the pre-selection of on-demand audio broadcasts; the user will subscribe to a series of shows, and then choose when and where they will listen to them. In essence podcasting offers a more sophisticated delivery mechanism. Recently podcasting has been seen by some within higher education has having the potential to offer a unique perspective on the production and communication of educational material. Commentators have noted that educational podcasting could provide additional, on-demand, personalised content that is directly linked to lecture/seminar activities, thereby encouraging and supporting independent learning. However, the completion of an initial podcasting trial within the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences at Northumbria University has raised some important issues of educational podcasting that need further investigation – do podcasts aid students’ understanding, or indeed assist in their module performance and progression, how ‘useful’ are podcasts in helping or enhancing the student experience? In attempting to resolve these issues, it is suggested that podcasting must become part of the assessment process. For example, podcasting may enhance the process of assessment for learning by offering students ‘rich informal’ feedback – using monologues, interviews, dialogues, group discussions, etc., to provide more detail on what is expected for assignments, or project work; to provide continuous guidance and coaching on how they may approach/undertake a particular piece of work. However, in the study undertaken at Northumbria University, the students were asked to produce their own podcast as part of the assessment process for a multi-media computing module. The assessment process consisted of assignment and exam. The assignment required the students to create an enhanced podcast, to include images, and to be no greater than 25 MB in size. The title was "An audio-visual diary of how I created this podcast". In essence this assignment focused on (i) offering students extensive opportunities to engage in the kinds of tasks that develop and demonstrate their learning, and (ii) using technology that the students find easily accessible and non threatening to create a reflective audio/visual report on the process of creating the podcast, highlighting the challenges faced, the design decisions made, etc. It should be noted that the ‘making’ of the podcast will not contribute to the assessment for learning agenda, but the podcast itself does offer a novel way of getting students to reflect on their own learning, offering them the opportunity to express themselves in a manner that is quite different from the typical reflective report section required in most assignments. Because the reflection itself is the central part of the assessment, this approach is directly contributing to the AfL agenda – the learning IS the assessment. In this paper the authors will present an investigation looking to identify if educational podcasting has any role in enhancing the process of assessment for learning. The paper will report on student feedback to using podcasting as part of the assignment process, present an evaluation of the effectiveness of this approach to educational podcasting, and discuss the potential of this approach to improve the students' learning experience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
EventProceedings of ALT-C 2007 Beyond Control -- Learning Technology for the Social Network Generation - Nottingham University
Duration: 1 Sept 2007 → …


ConferenceProceedings of ALT-C 2007 Beyond Control -- Learning Technology for the Social Network Generation
Period1/09/07 → …


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