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How Podcasts Can Enhance Online Learning

How Podcasts Can Enhance Online Learning

by Shannon Lee
January 24, 2011

Podcasts were once the realm of tech geeks and digital gurus. Today, podcasts are available for anyone who knows how to click a mouse and use the Internet. In the world of online learning, podcasts have transformed the educational experience.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is a file of digital media, or a group of several related files, transferred over the Internet. Podcasts are downloaded onto your computer or hand-held device, such as an iPod or mp3 player. The podcasts can be saved and listened to at your convenience. A podcast can include everything from music to lectures, and in the case of online schools, might be accompanied by other materials to form a well-rounded course of study.

Why Podcasts Are Popular Tools for Online Schools

Podcasts are a popular way for professors to communicate with their students. The professor can record a lecture, class instruction, or other important information in a podcast. The podcast is then uploaded to a secure server, where students can download it and listen at their convenience.

Podcasting has become popular with many educational institutions, not just those based online. In fact, Duke University started a trend in 2004 by giving all incoming freshmen their own iPod to help them with their studies. The use of podcasts means you can work with a flexible class schedule, even listening to lectures in the middle of the night, something you could not have with a traditional college experience.

If you are earning your degree through online schools, invest in a good mp3 player, iPod, or good set of computer headphones to listen to podcasts on your own time and at your own pace. The podcast can be a great enhancement to your written materials and can help you better understand the professor's point of view on the subject at hand.