Purdue Professor Cribs from Hollywood for Edutainment Video Podcast

May 24th, 2006 | By | Category: Educational Podcasts, Video Podcasts, Vlogs

A Purdue University professor is taking podcasting beyond the typical course lecture audio by using a variety of movie making techniques – and comedy borrowed from South Park, Will Ferrell and Jeff Foxworthy – to increase students’ ability to learn in the classroom.

Laurie Iten, an associate professor of biology, produces 5-10 minute online video reviews of the previous class and previews of the coming lab for her first-year students. She relies on scripts that incorporate video clips, quirky soundtracks, cartoonish sound effects and retro graphics to add life to lessons.

“Our Rewind/Flash Forward podcasts make the connection between what we learned and what we will learn,” Iten said. “We focus on the skills we know students have difficulty with.”

Iten adheres to standard Hollywood screenwriting practices, including the three-act format standard to any story: setup, conflict and resolution. Her tutorials seek to make students the main character and instructors the supporting characters.Iten presented her team’s techniques this spring at Purdue’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference. Their how-to instructional podcast, “Rewind/Flash-Forward Podcasts – Helping Students Make the Connections,” is posted on Pod Pedagogy, the blog site of her co-producer Rodney McPhail that serves as a clearinghouse of information about podcasting.

Purdue is a national leader in implementing podcasting. The university’s information technology department, ITaP, has wired more than 70 rooms to record class lectures. More than 60 courses are regularly posted online and more than 200,000 mp3 files have been podcast through the system since August.

“Students are definitely making use of the system,” said Bart Collins, ITaP’s director of digital content. “As the semester comes to a close and final exams approach, usage spikes.”

Iten has created her own production suite using a processor, two monitors, a keyboard and headphones. Iten invested in a good microphone and a capable audio mixer to ensure a crisp, professional sound to her productions. She uses off-the-shelf software to record and mix the audio and to mix in video and images.

“If the price of $1,500 for that software is too expensive, there are lower-cost options,” Iten said.

Source Purdue

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