Podcasting for Education workshop: what we do, what’s coming up

Author: Sebas Muñoz, Yentl Croese and Monika Theron

Podcasts are a great way for educators to create engaging content. With a podcast, students have flexibility in terms of when and where they listen. Plus, podcasts can enhance the personal connection between you and your audience.

To help educators do more with podcasting, we’ve developed a workshop focusing on the didactical aspects of podcasting. Our LLInC experts — Sebas Muñoz, Yentl Croese and Monika Theron — recently ran it for staff and teachers at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (SOLO department).

Read on for more about the workshop, including tips for creating your own educational podcast.

First, an assignment

For the workshop to work efficiently, we all did some prep work ahead of time.

Attendees were asked to create a short podcast with any audio equipment they had available. The idea was to focus on the content (not the quality). In other words, it was okay for everyone to record using their mobile phone or a non-professional microphone. We listened to each example and gave feedback on each script and audio files. This feedback was handed to the participants after the workshop.

Our team of instructors also created a five-minute podcast demo for attendees to listen to during the workshop. We deliberately included good and bad bits. The goal was to demonstrate that everyone is unique. When podcasting, you need to shape your own podcast based on the things that you like. Stay true to yourself! If you try to pretend to be someone you are not, that will really come across in the recording — like any bad acting.

The idea behind the demos was to give everyone a chance to give us (the instructors) constructive feedback and that way figure out on their own what they personally liked and did not like in this example. Besides, no one wants to have their own work criticised in front of others.

As for us, the instructors, creating this demo gave us the opportunity to have some fun and be a little silly. This is one of the things we do best at LLInC.

The workshop  

Part 1: Reflecting on the demo podcast and connecting
After the initial welcome, we dove into the demo that we created for this workshop. We asked the participants to listen to it and take notes on what they liked or disliked about it.

This led to a very interactive discussion. It was a great icebreaker! Everyone started to connect based on what they wanted to get out of the workshop and the advice they needed to make their own podcast better.  

Part 2: Tips and tricks
The next part of the workshop focused on specific questions to reflect on when making a podcast. For example:

Do you really want to make a podcast? 
This is an important question to ask. One of the participants, for example, sent in a screen recording with a voice over. Technically this is not a podcast. It is a format which is becoming more popular and is sometimes referred to as ‘vodcasting’. Always ask yourself: Is a podcast the right medium or would a video be more effective?  

When to use the format of a podcast? When you:

  • Have a concept or story to explain which does not depend on visuals;
  • Want to record yourself in an easy and flexible way;
  • Have several stories or interviews on which to base your podcast series;
  • Have a group of students (abroad) who do not have access to a stable internet connection;
  • Would like to do a creative assignment with your students (student-generated podcasts).

Which elements will make this podcast work?
There are a lot of potential considerations and goals. What music to use (if any)? Script format? Duration? You also want to think about how to be inclusive. Can you offer transcripts to those that don’t understand the speaker or the language, for example? And don’t forget data and privacy laws: making sure your guests sign a release form, and choose the right (GDPR-compliant) hosting platform. 

Podcast scripting

Overplanning will make your podcast seem scripted and rigid, and it takes away from the conversational feel you want to have. A better approach is to list 3-5 bullet points of what you want to cover in the episode. This works for both solo shows and interviews.

  • Improvise and let the conversation flow. Your podcast might run longer than the expected time frame.
  • Plan what you want to say. What is the text or content that the guest, or you as teacher, should mention to enhance the educational / conversational experience of the listener?

However, if you are talking about complicated topics or the material you share needs to be precisely described, then a script is better. Use your ‘speaking voice’ and not your ‘reading voice’.

We have many more tips that we hope to share in a future blog post. If you’re interested, subscribe to our newsletter!

Part 3: Feedback
In this section of the workshop, we gave the participants feedback on their own podcasts (to read in their own time). We also listened to an edited version of some of the examples received – just to show that they did really well and to demonstrate that their voices and opinions will be out there, so they better get used to it. 

Do you need some inspiration? Here are the links to the audio clips we shared.

What’s next? Let us know if you want to learn how to improve your podcasting with us.

It was a very successful workshop! We’re planning a second round and we’d love you to participate. This workshop is available to all faculties at Leiden University, so reach out if you are interested. Contact Sebas Muñoz: s.munoz@llinc.leidenuniv.nl.

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