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A taxonomy of podcasts and its application to higher education

By Ana Amelia Carvalho, Cristina Aguiar and Romana Maciel


In this paper we address the uses of podcasts in higher education and we propose a taxonomy for podcasts. We describe results obtained within a study that is being conducted at the University of Minho, in Portugal, focusing on the use of podcasts and their implications towards learning in higher education. The project involves 6 lecturers from different scientific domains – Education, Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering and Biology. These lecturers created 84 podcasts in order to support their undergraduate and master courses during the 1st and 2nd semesters of 2007/ 2008 and the 1st semester of 2008/ 2009. A total of 479 students - 372 undergraduate and 107 master students - were enrolled in 20 courses. Some students were not only podcasts listeners but they also had the challenge and the opportunity to create their own podcasts (34 episodes). Podcasts were classified in different types (Informative, Feedback, Guidelines and Authentic materials), styles (formal or informal), length (short, moderate or long), purpose and medium (audio or video), according to a taxonomy proposed by the authors. The majority of podcasts was Informative (76), followed by podcasts with Feedback (30), Guidelines (9) and Authentic materials (3). Most podcasts were short (102), mainly in informal style and only 21 were vodcasts. Students´ reactions about podcasts implementation in higher education revealed their acceptance of this new tool and their receptiveness to podcasting in other courses. The majority of students found podcasts a positive resource in learning, although they did not explore one of the main advantages of this technology – portability. Lecturers also found podcasting a useful resource for learning and recognized its great potential as a pedagogical tool but stressed that it is too time consuming

Topics: T Technology (General), L Education (General)
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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