A Reflection of using ‘Pod-Casts’ in an Undergraduate Sociology course
Many students encounter sociological theory as a very intimidating and often very abstract course, and as a result have a defeatist attitude towards theory. Thus the students’ perceptions of sociological theory made me seek an alternative and easily accessible way of teaching the course. A colleague who is passionate about educational technologies suggested that I try pod-casting as an approach to appeal to my students, whilst I simultaneously enhance their understanding and knowledge of complex theoretical concepts.
So the biggest lesson I learned while ‘Pod-casting’ was how to articulate myself with more clarity. In other words I learned how to explain and define complex concepts by breaking them down to their basic form and show their relationships to other concepts. Thus, this forced me not to assume that students can understand or immediately see the link between various concepts. However this was very challenging for me in the beginning because I had to think carefully before the recording of the podcast what assumptions I might hold about my students’ understanding of certain concepts. In other words I had to avoid using one concept to explain another, which is typically how I would teach in class because I assume students have previously learned other concepts. In the same breath I needed to learn how to sustain my students’ interest in the podcast without confusing them and losing them in the process. This meant I had to anticipate potentially difficult aspects of a concept I was dealing with and address it as soon as I could during the podcast before moving on to other equally cognitively demanding concepts.
Moreover hearing myself on the podcast clip made me more aware of how I project my voice during lessons and how I pronounce words, especially the theorists’ names which students often have difficulty pronouncing because they are German or French names. Overall I would certainly recommend that one tries it for their courses, but keeping in mind that it has to be short, in a language that is accessible to the student, and at the same time very informative.
Click on these links below to listen to some of my Podcasts