-- NancyLombardo - 24 Jun 2008
In Fall of 2007, Drs. Suzanne Stensaas and David Renner decided to test the use of Podcasting in their School of Medicine courses, Neuroanatomy 6050 and Neurology 7020. The medical students had been requesting this service as another option for learning and review. The Eccles Library lead videographer, Derek Cowan, agreed to do the videotaping and file production.
The files were produced in multiple formats. Each class was offered as a small podcast sized video, a larger video for viewing on a laptop of desktop, and as an audio file. They were distributed through a variety of mechanisms. Students could subscribe to the podcast through iTunesU, they could receive them via RSS or directly download them through a local media management tool, or they could access them through the course calendar. These two courses were made accessible campus wide through iTunesU. Many technical obstacles were encountered and resolved in this experimental test of podcasting for the School of Medicine.
Later in Fall of 2007, Dr. Janet Lindsley offered her Biochemistry 6090 course via podcasting. The same multiple formats were offered to students. Each lecture ws recorded live and the goal was to make them available to the students within 24 hours. Students were able to use the same delivery tools to access the files. They could view video or hear the audio through iTunesU, the local media manager, or by subscribing to the RSS feeds using any popular RSS reader, such as Google Reader or MyYahoo?.
Dr. Lindsley surveyed her students after the course to assess usage and perceived value. According to the surveys, 50% of the students found the video podcasts very or moderately useful. 39% of students found the audio podcasts very or moderately useful.
It seems that this optional learning tool was very well received and utilized by the medical students. Faculty did not notice any drop in attendance or class participation compared to previous years. Based on this experience, podcasting seems to be a valid supplemental learning tool for medical school curriculum.