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Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
Howard harris again
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Howard harris again

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  • 1. The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0263-5577.htm Podcasting Podcasting for e-learning, communication, and delivery J.P. Shim and Jordan Shropshire Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA 587 Sungmin Park and Howard Harris Department of Information Systems, Computing of Maths, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK, and Natalie Campbell Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of podcasting and webcasting, and to examine student preferences between the different delivery richness of communication media. Design/methodology/approach – Background information regarding podcasting and webcasting is discussed. A conceptual model, based on media richness theory, is developed to explain student’s perceptions. For the testing of the model, a survey metric is introduced, and a research methodology is explained. Finally, a conclusion and research limitations are discussed. Findings – The conceptual model of the motivations to use podcasting was adopted from media richness theory. It was proposed that six factors are related to future media use; immediacy of feedback, personal focus, transmission of cues, functionality, usability, and ease of use. The methodology relied heavily on logistic regression analysis for testing the various hypotheses. The authors collected data for hypothesis testing. The results of the study were inconclusive. This may be due to the lack of user experience with podcasting. Research limitations/implications – Some instructors have even adopted such techniques as their primary means (within the classroom or outside classroom) of communicating to students. However, the selection of appropriate communication media requires an understanding of the students’ perceptions, preferences and receptiveness of these new technologies. Practical implications – The findings from this exploratory research will be valuable for podcasting users. Originality/value – This study is the first kind of empirical research in this area. With this study, the authors examined the perceived value of podcasting. Keywords E-learning, Information media, Communication Paper type Research paper 1. Introduction The delivery of information and instruction has been improved by technological developments. Past studies (Callahan et al., 2000) prove that traditional lectures can be one of the least effective methods of teaching. Studies suggest a multimedia repetition, combined with instructor-led guidance would improve learning retention and Industrial Management & Data Systems This paper is based on partial portion of a manuscript: “Perceived Value of Podcasting: Student Vol. 107 No. 4, 2007 Communication – Medium Preferences” by J.P. Shim, Jordan Shropshire, Sungmin Park, Howard pp. 587-600 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited Harris, Natalie Campbell, which was presented at the Americas Conference on Information 0263-5577 Systems, 2006. DOI 10.1108/02635570710740715
  • 2. IMDS acquisition (Braun, 2002; Garcia-Morales and Llorens-Montes, 2006; Littman, 1995; 107,4 Pagell, 1996; Smagt, 2000). Recently, the internet has provided an ideal medium to deliver learning material, as digital content that exists in databases can be manipulated by a range of programming services. However, web development has been hampered by bandwidth and difficulties of “back end integration”. Consequently, the impact of the web to date has concentrated 588 upon the presentational aspects of data and user interfaces (Yang and Tang, 2005). These technical impediments are slowly dissolving, resulting in the opportunity of having interacting software components that allow non-technical users to author, create and publish materials. Therefore, these technical advances facilitate the emergence of new media such as podcasting, webcasting, videostreaming, blogging, and SMIL technologies (Shim, 2002). These new media streams can be integrated into traditional lectures, thus enhancing the educational environment (McLaughlin, 2006). Podcasting has become one of the fastest growing technologies over the past several years. A convergence of broadcast and internet service, podcasting, along with webcasting, is an exemplary case of the pervasive computing technology era. The term “podcasting” emerged from the combination of the words “broadcasting” and “iPod”. Podcasting is differentiated from webcasting with the use of an aggregating RSS (Really Simple Syndication) web feed, or the ability to download and save from a URL (Holtjana and Fiona, 2004). A podcast has a persistent site, capable of synchronizing with a portable multimedia device, such as an MP3 player or iPod, whereas webcasting is streamed from the internet and requires the user to be connected to the internet while playing or viewing the webcast files. The current understanding of podcasting is strictly related to audio content and differentiates from video format by introducing terms such as “vodcasting” or “video podcasting” (Wikipedia, 2006). However, podcasting can refer to both audio and video output for a comprehensive understanding. Among the latest trends in information technology, podcasting has emerged as technology of keen interest to academics, practitioners, and other technologists (McLaughlin, 2006) as both a trend in communication technology and a new paradigm (Anderson, 2006; Bourges-Waldegg and Hoertnagl, 2005). Many universities are currently evaluating podcasting, and some have launched a variety of programs which utilize the technology. The implications of the podcasting technology are beginning to be realized. For example, the most common current university podcast usage is providing university or department news to staff and students using RSS feed to supplement the traditional paper versions of newsletters. Universities are also utilizing podcasting technology to make guest lectures available to wider audiences, such as staff, students, and alumni who were unable to attend the lectures (http://itunes.stanford.edu, accessed April 12, 2006). Webcasting has been utilized in academia in distance learning, particularly associated with the traditional media production channels. For example, NASA’s (2005) Digital Learning Network (DLN) aims to deliver content “sharing the knowledge and expertise of NASA scientists, engineers, and researchers with the students in today’s classrooms” (http://education.nasa.gov/divisions/techprodoffice/programs/dln.html, accessed April 12, 2006). Unlike webcasting, which generally requires a producer to define and provide content, podcasting has additional means of providing the “bottom-up” approach, where the media content is localized and defined by a known two-way relationship,
  • 3. i.e. that which exists between students on a course and a particular instructor; the Podcasting relationship has an aspect of personalization (Peng et al., 2004). This research will investigate the perceived value of podcasting and webcasting among students. Specifically, one major question is addressed: which factors motivate an individual to adopt podcasts as a communication medium? For this research, this paper will: . describe the podcasting technology; 589 . discuss current status of podcasting technology and application in the USA, the UK, and Asia Pacific; . develop a research model on the motivational factors which drive individuals to use podcasting over webcasting; and . empirically test the conceptual model and the hypotheses. 2. Podcasting and webcasting: overview and current status 2.1 Concepts and overview As an instantiation of web 2.0, podcasting is a program that marks the convergence of broadcast and internet services. The emerging phenomenon cannot be properly evaluated yet, since its impact and significance upon media usage and production process are still in its infancy. Therefore, defining podcasting is a challenge. A study in October 2005, conducted by Yahoo, suggested that only 28 percent of internet users were aware of podcasting and only 2 percent subscribed to podcasts (Grossnickle, 2005). However, there have been observations that a transformation phenomenon is occurring in media usage and its growth is difficult to ignore. A podcast is an enabling personalization of technology, characteristically driven by incremental subject feeds via the web. Owing to the nature of the podcasting format (MP3 or MP4 downloads), the downloadable program could reach audiences in a way that traditional broadcasting could not. It is critical to identify the characteristics of podcasting, and differentiate it from its predecessor, webcasting. Podcasting can be seen as a part of webcasting, since both use internet technology to broadcast both audio and video contents. However, it must be noted that podcasting’s associated qualities and characteristics differentiate it from webcasting (Keliher, 2005). The terminology of podcasting may eventually disappear and be categorized in a broader sense of webcasting or even “mediacasting”. The authors acknowledge this trend but use the term “podcasting” in this paper to explain the emerging phenomenon and analyze its implications. The term, podcasting may be changed but the phenomenon of the pervasive computing is here to stay. 2.2 Characteristics of podcasting and webcasting The universally accepted commercial success of Apple’s iPod is closely linked to the development of the term “podcast”. The term podcasting is gaining its popularity as the broadcasters start adopting and using it widely. However, the assessment of current definitions of podcasting demonstrates that it is inadequate and incomplete; differing usage of the term raises questions about the exact boundaries and the nature of the phenomenon (Keliher, 2005). For example, BBC explains “podcasting is a way to ‘subscribe’ to radio programs and have them delivered to your personal computer” (www.bbc.co.uk/radio/downloadtrial/, accessed April 12, 2006). Their explanation
  • 4. IMDS continues to state that podcasting has the ability to provide a subscription to the users 107,4 even though not every podcasting programs offer such service. Before identifying the characteristics of podcasting, it must be differentiated from the previously widely used term, webcasting. Although some use the terms synonymously, each technology has distinguishing characteristics (Table I). Webcasting is closely related to real-time downloading and synchronous 590 broadcasting. Some of the recent examples of webcasting are: . a 12-hour live webcast of “Beyond Einstein”; and . webcasts of council meetings. It is clear that podcasting is the next stage of webcasting in the continuum of an interactive media development. Podcasting adds spatial flexibility to the temporal flexibility which webcasting offers to create a personally-customizable media environment. Temporal and spatial restrictions are increasingly lifted as podcasting moves further away from the traditional broadcasting environment, which dictates the audience’s schedule and timetabling activities. It offers the added control and flexibility of “when” and “where” in that the consumer can now download and listen and/or watch the program anytime anywhere, ultimately changing the media experience. The implications of such flexibility have offered the educational environment with “interactive” communication between instructors and students. One of the main characteristics of podcasting is RSS. It “lets online users freely subscribe to their choice of content sources across the web. Aggregation tools (e.g. personalized start pages) display summaries of these subscriptions, which update automatically when new information is available. RSS reduces the need for users to visit many individual web-sites” (Grossnickle, 2005). There are also RSS aggregate feeds of audio and video content facilitating users to search the latest services (e.g. Blinkx’s new SmartFeed service). Personalization-enabling RSS provides companies with the customer profiling that can lead to direct marketing strategies. Personalization is considered to be one of the key marketing aspects to “further develop customer relationships and heighten brand management” (Agarwal and Sambamurthy, 2002). This personalization characteristic of podcast is considered particularly important for its usage in educational environments where building and maintaining the communication channel between instructors and students is vital. Table II shows widely used definitions of podcasting. 3. Current status of podcasting 3.1 The United States One of the leading causes of the adoption of podcasting among academic institutions in the USA is that non-traditional students and those enrolled in distance learning are Sources Definitions A dictionary of business A process in which an online marketer of a product or service (www.oxfordreference.com, sends advertisements or information over the internet, directly accessed April 12, 2006) to the desktops of target customers. Companies can also sign on with a webcasting service provider Table I. A dictionary of the internet The use of the WWW for broadcasting material regularly to Definitions of webcasting (www.oxfordreference.com) subscribers
  • 5. Podcasting Sources Definitions Wikipedia Podcasting is the publishing or distribution of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) radio-style programs on the internet. Podcasts are in MP3 or a similar file format. Podcast producers make their programs available with RSS feeds 591 BBC (www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A3847737, Broadcasters publish digital recordings of radio accessed April 12, 2006) programs on the internet, which can then be downloaded onto PCs and transferred to portable digital music plays (such as the iPod) The Oxford Dictionary of English A digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the internet for Table II. downloading to a personal audio player Definitions of podcasting able to have a more personalized connection with the instructor. This allows the instructor to emphasize the information which they feel is most critical for the students to understand. According to the University of Washington faculty and staff newspaper (http://uwnews.org/uweekarticle.asp?articleID ¼ 12921), podcasting has recently been introduced to augment classroom support, which allows instructors direct control over their podcasts without engaging in the intensive post-production workload that video taping involves. A number of universities are currently using the technology, or are in the late stages of pilot testing. Stanford University is already podcasting approximately 400 audio program channels. Stanford plans to include video files for those with video viewing capabilities. Some salient disadvantages associated with the additional video files would be the additional costs in technical infrastructure, faculty overload, assessments and grades, and copyright issues. 3.2 The United Kingdom Following the trend in North America, the UK has a history of distance learning exemplified by the Open University (OU) with over 210,000 students, 100,000 OU students network from their homes or work places. Students access a library of 390,000 audio CDs which provides study aids and resource material (www.open.ac.uk/ elearning/p2_2.shtml). This provides a rich resource of content resembling the half-way house between webcasting and podcasting. Recently, the OU has begun to introduce the podcast technology to utilize their rich content to cater for students who require flexibility. The main advantage here is that the rich media focus is well integrated into the methods used in the production of the courses, and the media rich experience is anticipated by the students. Other UK universities, like the USA, have embraced podcast technology afresh. In recent months they have demonstrated a diversified podcast usage that has the potential to propel the medium into new forms of intercommunication. Universities are piloting podcast usage to support a university news service and provide coverage of guest lectures. The University of Winchester for instance adopted a podcast technology to help dyslexia as a part of dyslexia support and the University of Sheffield produces updates of the changes in the Law for its Law students.
  • 6. IMDS 3.3 Asia Pacific 107,4 Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong once lagged behind the West in information technology (Shim et al., 2006a). Despite late development and entry into the market, Asian and Pacific wireless operators have been able to become global leaders. Currently, Korea is the leading digital mobile TV market, especially with its own standard, digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB). As of July 2005, DMB has been 592 approved by WorldDAB as a standard. Driven by user demand and the changes in the culture of technological usage, Korean DMB market will be important for validation of new DMB technologies (Shim et al., 2006b). Podcasting is no exception in this regard. Podcasting is already highly utilized within the education and business environments in Asia and Pacific. 4. Conceptual framework and hypotheses development This section presents a conceptual model in explaining student’s perceptions of webcasting and podcasting (Figure 1). The model relies on a combination of media richness theory, and media selection theory, as well as several other research streams (Gonzalez-Alveraz and Nieto-Antolin, 2005; Ju et al., 2006; Standing et al., 2006). Based on a model previously developed to compare student’s perceptions of e-mail and instant messaging (Chen et al., 2004), the current model is configured to explain the relationship between motivating factors and future usage of podcasting in the academia. Media richness plays an important role in determining future media use. In addition to the richness of medium, there are multiple reasons why a given communication medium may be selected, such as availability, costs, or complexity (MaManus, 2002). Several motivations have been posited as determinants of future media use (Table III). These factors include immediacy, personal focus, transmission of cues, functionality, usability, and ease of use. Based on prior research, the research model of intent to use podcasting is proposed. The research model is shown in Figure 2. Motivating Factors Immediacy Personal focus Media Experience Future Media Use Transmission Functionality Usability Figure 1. Motivational factors effecting future media use Source: Chen et al. (2004)
  • 7. Podcasting Factor Source Description Immediacy of Daft and Lengel (1986) The extent to which a medium enables users to give feedback timely feedback on the communications they receive Personal focus Daft and Lengel (1986) The extent to which a medium is viewed as being oriented towards the individual Transmission of cues Daft and Lengel (1986) The extent to which a medium is able to transmit 593 verbal, nonverbal, and para-verbal cues Functionality El-Shinnawy and The extent to which a medium allows a user to send Markus (1998) a message that is accurate, comprehensive, and concise Usability El-Shinnawy and The extent to which the medium allows a message to Markus (1998) be transferred in a “clear and readable format” Ease of use El-Shinnawy and The extent to which a medium is perceived to be easy Table III. Markus (1998) to use Motivating factors User Motivations H7 Immediacy of Feedback H1 Personal Focus H2 Transmission of Cues H3 Future Use Intention H4 Functionality H5 Usability H8 H6 Ease of Use Rich Figure 2. Communication Research model 4.1 Hypotheses development The above research argument leads to the following eight hypotheses: H1. Immediacy of feedback is significantly related to intention to use podcasting. H2. Personal focus is significantly related to intention to use podcasting. H3. Transmission of cues is significantly related to intention to use podcasting. H4. Functionality is significantly related to intention to use podcasting. H5. Usability is significantly related to intention to use podcasting. H6. Ease of use is significantly related to intention to use podcasting.
  • 8. IMDS H7. User motivations are associated with future use intention. 107,4 H8. Users considering podcasting to be a better communication tool will use podcasting rather than webcasting in general. 5. Methodology 594 5.1 Sample To test these research hypotheses, questionnaires were given to approximately 200 students at two major universities in the USA. Of the 200 surveys that were administered, 17 were discarded for incomplete data, with a result of n ¼ 183. The sample pool composed of both undergraduate and graduate students from the colleges of business and of the colleges of arts and sciences. Classes selected for inclusion into the study were composed of students who had a fundamental understanding of podcasting (audio and video), and other communication media concepts. All classes that participated in the survey were traditional lecture classes, with no incentives or bonus points issued to students for participation. 5.2 Research instrument Each participant received a two-page questionnaire on the perceived value of podcasting and webcasting. The first page consisted of information on the survey, podcasting and webcasting definitions, and basic demographic questions. Additionally, three background questions on podcasting experience were also included on the first page. The second page consisted of 12 Likert-scale questions/statements with five-point response scales. Participants were informed that completion of the survey was voluntary and that their responses would remain anonymous. The survey instrument was adapted from comparative studies on e-mail and instant messaging (Chen et al., 2004), and e-mail and voice mail (El-Shinnawy and Markus, 1998). 5.3 Data analysis Students were asked to indicate the number of years in which they had been interacted with podcasts. Results of the survey indicated that 43.7 percent of those surveyed had not used podcasting technology at all, 23.5 percent had used podcasting for less than one year, 11.5 percent had used podcasting for one to two years, and 21.3 percent had used podcasting for more than two years. Therefore, the average time that podcasting had been used by those surveyed was less than one year. Similarly, students were asked to indicate the number of years in which they had used webcasts. Results of the survey indicated that 47.5 percent of those surveyed had not used webcasting technology at all, 21.3 percent had used webcasting for less than one year, 10.4 percent had used webcasting for one to two years, and 20.8 percent had used webcasting for more than two years. Therefore, the average time that webcasting had been used by those surveyed was less than one year. The third question asked students to rank the uses for podcasts. Figure 3 shows that of those surveyed, 56.9 percent listed music as their number one response, followed by educational lectures at 16.1 percent, news at 10.3 percent, and sports at 13.8 percent. The next step in the analysis was to perform a linear regression analysis using the dependent variable “intent to use podcasting technology”. Three of the eight hypotheses tested were supported in this analysis: H2, personal focus is significantly
  • 9. Uses for Podcasts Podcasting 10% 3% Music 14% Education/ Lectures News 595 57% 16% Sports Figure 3. Other Uses for podcasts related to intention to use podcasts, supported at the 0.002 level of significance; H5, usability is significantly related to intention to use podcasting, supported by two measures at the 0.000 level of significance; and H7, user motivations are associated with future use intention, supported at the 0.006 level of significance. Table IV shows the coefficients from the linear regression analysis, along with the levels of significance. Finally, the third phase in the analysis involved clustering responses into groups based on responses to the first two questions indicating podcasting and webcasting use. Dummy variables were created and coded as 0 for non-user and 1 for user. Respondents could be categorized as podcast users, webcast users, both or neither. A logistic regression analysis was performed with “podcast use” as the dependent variable and then again with “webcast use” as the dependent variable. The following results were found at a 90 percent confidence interval. As one might expect, podcast users were found to use podcast technology frequently and believe that podcasts assist with classroom assignments more than webcasts. Interestingly, webcast users were also found to believe that podcasts assist with classroom assignments more than webcasts and that podcasts convey large amounts of information faster than webcasts. Webcast users were also found to believe that podcasts are more useful than webcasts and say that with future assignments, they intent to use podcasts more than webcasts. Therefore, H8: users considering podcasting to be a better communication tool will use podcasting rather than webcasting general, is supported at the 0.100 level of significance. Standard Dependent measures B error b t Significance Podcasts are more useful for class assignments than webcasts 0.404 0.068 0.371 5.866 0.000 I believe that podcasts would be helpful in improving my course learning experience 0.284 0.057 0.306 4.946 0.000 Podcasts feel more personal than webcasts 0.189 0.060 0.183 3.133 0.002 On future assignments, I will use webcasts more than podcasts 20.148 0.053 2 0.147 2 2.771 0.006 I believe that podcasts will eventually replace class lectures in the future 0.100 0.049 0.114 2.015 0.045 Table IV. Note: Linear regression performed with dependent variable – intent to use podcasts Coefficients table
  • 10. IMDS Table V shows the four hypotheses that were supported and the four that were not 107,4 supported from both the linear regression and logistic regression analyses. 6. Implications This paper examined student’s preferences of media delivery richness between podcasting and webcasting, taking place at two major universities in the USA. The 596 student demographic is now leading the process associated with the pattern of early-adopters; as an example, the 14-24 year-old age bracket is a segmented key target for music-enabled phone companies (The Diffusion Group Newswire, 2005). The findings associated with this study guide the design and evaluation of content for mobile devices, effecting software development and the mobile business process as a whole. The authors draw attention to two key characteristics, personalization and usability, that affect the business concerns of consumer trends in media usage. The goal of personalization is to satisfy “one” user’s need to enjoy a personalized media experience, contradicting the concept of mass-media, popularized “hit” mass-market segmented industrial approach, changing the profile of one-size fits all approach of the mass-media market (Wen and Peng, 2002). This has been described as the “long tail” where Anderson (2006) argues that old-media economics, which are biased toward the hits at the “head” of this distribution, are being replaced by new-media economics, which allow creation and consumption along the entirety of a much longer content tail. Personalization is emerging as a key driver in consumer information acquisition in the “long tail”. However, personalization of informational needs creates a more-complex environment. From a MIS perspective, personalization is based on a customer’s selections, ratings, purchase and history downloads, creating a customer profile of information of consumer taste (So and Sculli, 2002). From the user perspective, personalization is a self-service technology configured to accommodate user preference (Schultze and Orlikowski, 2004). In a recent Gartner report, e-music personalization has meant that users are twice as likely to commit to higher-priced subscription plans, are more loyal (remain subscribers 2.9 times longer) and download Hypothesis number Hypothesis description Finding H1 Immediacy of feedback is significantly related to intention to use Not supported podcasting H2 Personal focus is significantly related to intention to use Supported podcasting H3 Transmission of cues is significantly related to intention to use Not supported podcasting H4 Functionality is significantly related to intention to use podcasting Not supported H5 Usability is significantly related to intention to use podcasting Supported H6 Ease of use is significantly related to intention to use podcasting Not supported H7 User motivations are associated with future use intention Supported Table V. H8 Users considering podcasting to be a better communication tool Supported Research results will use podcasting rather than webcasting in general
  • 11. 3.5 times more per month than other subscribers (McGuire and Slater, 2005). Usability Podcasting is also a key aspect of personalization. Traditionally, there has been a number of heuristics classification schemes on offer, based upon two key attributes (Boehm et al., 1978); migrate-ability, the characteristic where the product can operate across platforms and also integrate with other programs, and secondly, the aspects of the application or product that give, or shape clarity to the user interaction. With the modern characteristics of social software, usability equates to user experience, and in 597 essence, simplicity. The ipod from apple is a good example of less-feature usability, where simplicity of use is the brand-marketing strategy. The implication for business is that it needs to continually exploit the ever-changing nature of consumer preferences in usage of media, and develop appropriate marketing model. The technological development has always been a focal issue in business environment in order to exploit to gain a competitive advantage (Chitty, 1996; Hsieh and Lin, 1998; Jemmeson, 1997). This study shows that personalization is one of the key aspects of emerging social software technology, and McLaughlin (2006) acknowledged that podcasting has a potential to be a means of communication for media and business industry as well as political sector. Thus, the business needs to address the changing market using the latest technology available and develop an individually, personalized, catered marketing strategy in order to create a direct communication channel between the business and consumer. 7. Conclusion Although podcasting is not without minor problems, it has many beneficial qualities including students’ familiarity with the new technology, and the cost effectiveness in the long run. In other words, the benefits of adopting podcasting outweigh the disadvantages and problems associated with the podcasting. The authors believe that podcasting technology should not be seen as a tool to replace traditional classroom teaching of fundamental principles. Rather, it should supplement class materials, so that students can better understand concepts, theories, and applications that may not have been available during the class. One of the most salient limitations identified in the study is the narrow focus of questions included in the survey. There were not any questions on cost or availability included in the study, although these are potentially significant variables. Podcasting is a simple way for marketers to communicate with their target customers. It is a unique PR tool for major corporations, and start-ups. Podcasting’s ease of use combined with the ever-increasing demands upon time and money will make its use continue to grow in academic, industry, and wider social settings. The conceptual model of the motivations to use podcasting was adopted from media richness theory. It was proposed that six factors are related to future media use; immediacy of feedback, personal focus, transmission of cues, functionality, usability, and ease of use. The methodology relied heavily on logistic regression analysis for testing the various hypotheses. The authors collected data for hypothesis testing. The results of the study were inconclusive. This may be due to the lack of user experience with podcasting.
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