How I Tunes U And Podcasting Are Transforming The Academic Experience
How iTunes U and podcasting are transforming the academic experience ?
Kadir Has University
Today’s student population has been referred to as digital natives who ‘think and process
information fundamentally differently from their parents and were born in the digital age
where, including home phones, every communication tool can be mobile. They can be said to
be always on line and always reachable through their PDAs, cellphones or laptops. This new
media culture has created a new form of social media where students have the power to
locate knowledge anytime, anyplace, anywhere. This has generated a learner experience
which has to make big pressure on educators to meet the expectations of students. The rapid
increase in the use and broadcast of multiple media streams over the past decade has lead to
changes in the ways young people get and process information. We can see them watching
news on TV with a laptop on their knee. Whenever there is an exciting news worth to be
searched for, they just google and satisfy their need in an instant. There has been a
generational shift between past and present students.
Educators have accepted that lecturing to their students is not enough so they use Blackboards
in order to communicate or form Facebook groups or at least show lecture related films from
internet to appeal and educate their students. But current use of learning management systems
may not be enough to fully engage the students or offer them the flexibility in their study life.
Using the communication media with which the students are already familiar and proficient
can be an opportunity for educators and institutions.The integration of mobile devices will
offer true flexibility for the students and fit in with their digital lifestyle.
We all know mobile learning is reshaping the educational experience. We used to use the term
e-learning for learning from a distance but learning no longer happens only at a desk.
Worldwide reputable universities like Stanford, Oxford, Duke, Princeton, MIT (and much
more) are using podcasting via Itunes University created by Apple Inc. This essay aims to
examine how the Turkish young generation may use podcasts as lectures and how the Turkish
universities should use them in order to appeal this new media generation.
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Students are already coming to school with portable computers and devices such as an iPhone,
iPod, mp3 player or laptop in hand. So they’re used to gathering information on the web,
getting their email, watching lectures, getting directions anytime, anywhere . We think that
they will be more than satisfied to have their lectures, additional notes or educator’s notes
mobile as well. Students like engaging, customized lectures when it’s delivered on their iPod
or pc (laptop). It’s a familiar and essential part of their lives. Audio and video podcasts let
students study at their own pace, wherever and whenever they want.
First launched in 2001, the iPod is a brand of portable media player designed and marketed by
Apple computers. This was an innovative tool in order to control the illegal mp3 usage in
music industry. In this article we will refer to podcast both as an audio and video podcast.
Podcasts even though the name ‘pod’ refers to ipod, can be watched or listened via other mp3
players, some PDAs and of course on pcs. In order to get the Access to the Itunes U (Itunes
University where most of the reputable universities are on), a student should only have to
download Itunes and get an account. Then comes the information directly from the
University. The associated term ‘vodcasting’ refers to those podcasts that include video. We
will refer all casts as podcasts in this essay.
If the institution wants to allow access only to members of its campus, it can host its own
password-protected iTunes U site. This enables the university to create and manage the
content available on the site, while controlling who can access and download resources from
it. Or the university can have the option of making your the course material available to all
iTunes visitors — alongside content created by Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Oxford,
Cambridge, MIT, PBS stations.. ITunes U sites are not just available to universities. Many
museums, public broadcasting stations, and state education organizations also make education
content available to the world. Many schools choose to create both an internal site with a
greater amount of course materials available exclusively to enrolled students with a user
account and password; and an external site that provides a publicly accessible subset of those
In higher education, podcasting and vodcasting are effective means for encouraging the
development of collaborative learning (Ractham and Zhang, 2006), which reflects the
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development of social networks in a diverse society, and meets the needs of students with
different learning styles (Alexander, 2005) and those who like to learn ‘on the go’ (Lim,
2005). Learning ‘on the go’ facilitates a process of time-shifted learning, so learners can
choose when and where they wish to learn (Chan and Lee, 2005).
Podcasting involves the authoring of, and subscription to, audio and/or video multimedia files
on the internet (Lim, 2005). These files can then be downloaded and played back on a range
of mobile devices including laptops, mobile phones, PDAs, iPods, and other MP3 players
(Bausch and Han, 2006).
Even though this essay aims to study university case, podcasting from universities should
result an life-long learning experience.
Previous Researches and Examples
Duke University, in the United States, successfully piloted the use of iPods with all their first-
year students during 2004 (Duke University, 2005). The iPod was used to support the delivery
and learning of a range of subjects including foreign languages, music, engineering,
humanities and the social sciences.
The academic use of the iPod fell into five main categories: as a course content dissemination
tool; as a classroom recording tool; as a field recording tool; as a study support tool; and as a
file transfer and storage tool. Since the Duke University initiative, a number of other insti
tutions have subsequently followed suit in adopting iPods and podcasting as an educational
medium (Blaisdell, 2006). They found that although students did agree that the provision of
entire lectures through online media might lead to a drop in attendance, they were beneficial
for revision, understanding, and they enhanced the course experience. (Educating an iPod
generation: undergraduate attitudes, experiences and understanding of vodcast and podcast
use Vanessa Parson*, Peter Reddy, Jon Wood and Carl Senior)
But if students are given the ability to listen to lectures on their own schedule, what keeps
them coming to class every week?
"The question is...does it really matter if the student sits in the chair in the classroom or sits
in a chair in his room? Is the physical presence of the student in the class really all that
necessary?" asks an instructor from a reputable university, who records her lectures and posts
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them to iTunes U for her students. But, another lecturer says students who listen to lectures
through their white headphones rather than in person are missing out. There's no opportunity
to ask questions and any student who isn't in the room won't get the full multimedia
experience she brings to her teaching, she says.
As well, iTunes U can be used to pass out homework. Instead of spending an entire class
teaching her American Culture students the basics of the U.S. electoral college, Dr. Friedman
can record a primer podcast they can listen to before showing up so that once class starts, she
can hit the ground running. "We've had to rethink what goes on in the classroom," she says.
"We have to do things in the classroom that can only be done in the classroom. If the students
can listen to 45 minutes of my lecture elsewhere, then I have 45 minutes in class to do
So far many reputable universities have developed their own ways to digital courseware.
American and British universities such as Stanford, Duke, Princeton, Oxford and Yale are
using iTunes U as are schools in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
For the past five years, Thomas Dean has been recording his lectures and making podcasts
available to his electrical and computer engineering students. But the Queen's University
associate professor says that since he began using iTunes U, it's much simpler.
"The feedback from the students is pretty much uniformly positive," Dr. Dean says. "It has
resulted in more independence on the part of the students." He adds: "The interesting thing
was that with the first- and second-year [students], attendance actually increased because of
it. I talked to students about it, and they told me that because I make sure I upload the
lectures right after class and ensure they are available before the next class, the students felt
it allowed them to keep up on the material and they felt more value in continuing to come to
class. I have noticed a lot fewer emergency questions by e-mail before the exam."
Impact of e-learning on academics (from Teaching in Higher Education)
On the contrary Academic identities are defined by three key aspects: the discipline; the
institution; and a sense of the profession (Henkel 2000).
It is suggested that the effective utilisation of e-learning by academics requires a considerable
shift both in skills and conceptions of learning and teaching. In addition to becoming skilled
Bahar Anahmias 2010 4
in the use of technologies, e-learning requires a move from a teaching-centred paradigm that
emphasises the transmission of expert knowledge by the academic to a learning-centred
paradigm in which students become the discoverers and constructors of knowledge (Hartman,
Dziuban and Brophy-Ellison 2007). Academics have traditionally experienced considerable
independence in their choice of teaching methods, but as the scale and complexity of
introducing e-learning within universities requires a strategic and institute-wide approach to
its implementation, they may begin to experience greater direction over their teaching. E-
learning has the potential to challenge academics’ perceptions of learning and teaching, their
role identity and self-efficacy since ‘Pedagogy is more than simply putting lecture notes
online’ (Blass and Davis 2003, 228).
Identity as successful teachers
Respondents’ stories about their own preferred teaching practices revealed them as successful
face-to-face teachers, proud of their achievements and caring about their students’ progress.
Their coping strategies for using traditional face-to-face methods had been built up over a
period of time and supported their feeling of being in control.
Duncan preferred the opportunity provided by lectures to demonstrate his subject expertise to
students. This made him feel secure because he prepared his lectures thoroughly in advance so
there was less of a risk of anything beyond his control happening: I always make a point in
the lectures of not using any notes, just OHPs and I think the students think I must be
omniscient because they often say ‘how do you remember all that stuff ?’ but I don’t think
they realise all the work that goes into it beforehand. But you know, when you are dealing
with 240 people it has got to be absolutely spot on, hasn’t it? Otherwise it can degenerate
into chaos . . . (Duncan, lines 243_47) Hannah also found that lectures enabled her to
exercise control: I quite like having a big audience of 150 or 200 people. I guess in some
ways it’s easier because it’s very formal. (Hannah, lines 135_37)
Mary preferred a more nurturing approach of working with small groups to help students
develop concepts and then targeting her help to those who needed it most: I prefer the
approach where you can say to them [student seminar group] ‘Right, get on with the next
question and I’ll wander round and see what you’ve done wrong on this one and just set you
right on that’, so people are getting individual attention. (Mary, lines 81_6)
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When prompted about their use of e-learning, these academics regarded its primary use to be
in support of, or supplementary to, their face-to-face teaching. However, their expressed
anxieties appeared to acknowledge its threat to their academic identity.
E-learning displacing the academic as knowledge expert
When invited to discuss their experiences of using e-learning, they described how they
recorded lectures for video streaming on demand and created resource banks of their own
research outputs to distribute to their students on CD-ROM. However, these resources were
not intended to replace the academic presence; they were designed to augment their physical
presence when they were not in contact with students in the classroom. The campus
experience, they believed, was the primary reason students came to this university and
although technology had a role to play in that experience, face-to-face contact between the
academic and the student was more important. However, even their authority to regulate this
face-to-face contact was being challenged by the rising demand from students to ‘get their
money’s worth’ from their tutors, as Angela noted: . . . as students become more and more
conscious of the fact that they are paying for their courses, they want to buy peoples’ time for
that money, they want that pound of flesh. (Angela, lines 317_9)
Nevertheless, the academic was still in control, still the expert provider of knowledge, even
when they were not in the classroom. E-learning played a complementary role and in this way
the protective cocoon was retained. However, when their students’ expertise with technology
was clearly observed to be more advanced than their own, and this began to have an impact
on their academic role as expert knowledge provider, breaches in their protective cocoon
could be observed. Alice described how a group of her students had created a website and
were using it to share resources to support a group project they were engaged in. Her teacher
self-identity prompted her to express support for this action initially, because it was evidence
of her students acting as independent learners and collaborating in group learning, all laudable
features of self-managed learning that she would consider her role as a lecturer to encourage:
. . . the students themselves, the first years, decided to set up their own website, which I think
is excellent, and put their own resources and assignments on it, and that sort of thing. (Alice,
She continues with her narrative of support, but then admits to a lack of expertise with the
technology which her students have demonstrated: . . . I am quite happy to support all that
but I don’t feel an expert, you know. I do direct them to web pages and that sort of thing, but
Bahar Anahmias 2010 6
there is so much out there, I don’t feel I am an expert in picking out the specific interactive
stuff, which I think is really the way its going. (Alice, lines 224_7)
However, eventually she not only appeared to recognise that her lack of expertise with the
technology was threatening her sense of self-worth, but also that her students were relying
less on her for access to knowledge. Her role as an intermediary in identifying and passing on
appropriate knowledge was being undermined by her own lack of knowledge of the growing
range of electronic resources available on the web.
Although these academics appeared to have little understanding of the ways in which students
used technology to communicate with each other, they were beginning to realise that this
expertise did threaten to change the balance of power between themselves and their students
and were already recognising the potential of this to lead to a de-professionalising of their
E-learning leading to loss of teacher presence
Previous research suggests that academic identity is developed in the classroom through
interaction with students (Knight and Trowler 2001; Taylor 1999). So when these academics
described taking even the first steps towards making greater use of technology in the
classroom, for example, using presentation software, they expressed feeling a loss of control
over their teacher presence. Mary explained how she had felt out of control from the moment
she started to use PowerPoint in her lectures. She felt she had lost control of her ability to
have an appropriate discourse with her students and over her physical environment. She was
not able to demonstrate the mental methods of calculation using her usual approach of writing
each step up on her acetate on the overhead projector in front of the students, her academic
presence was reduced to a mechanical process of pressing a key on the PC to change the
slides: . . . all I was doing was talking to them [her students] and pressing the button and
saying now this bit, this bit and this bit. I much prefer to be there with my exercise, my piece
of paper and my acetate to write on . . . (Mary, lines 158_65) She ended by saying she
preferred to ‘be there’, suggesting that by using the technology, although still physically
present, she had actually given away her academic presence in the lecture theatre to the
technology. She also found that her physical movement was constrained by having to stay
close to the PC to operate it, as it was placed on one side of the lecture theatre, rather than
being able to move around the projector which would have been placed at the front and in the
centre of the lecture theatre.
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Hannah was aware of her colleagues using CMC but she could not conceive of a situation
where she was not present at all times to correct students’ mistakes: . . . how would you
possibly monitor 150 people? You’d have to set up different forums to have seminar
discussions, which in itself could become incredibly time consuming. (Hannah, lines 457_9)
In order to examine the acceptability of podcast learning vs traditional learning (in the
classroom, in the campus area) we will have two aspects of methodology: Questionnaire for
students and interviews with lecturers. Then the methodologies will be examined throughly.
At the start of the first year course of a volueenteer faculty department course all students will
be asked randomly assigned to one of two groups, each of which would use only one type of
online material: PowerPoint slides or podcasts. Students will be instructed to stay with their
specific broadcast group and not to use any of the other broadcasts over the duration of the
course, one semester. Students should download the lecture automatically with their PDAs or
laptops or by accessing the intranet and manually downloading the latest episode. At the end
of the semester, a questionnaire will be uploaded onto the Blackboard for these students.
The sample of questionnaire and their themes should be as follows:
1.Which broadcast were you originally assigned?
2.Which broadcast did you use most of? Answers should indicate loyalty and preferance.
3.Was the broadcast that you used easy to understand? Answer should show Ease of use .
4. How often did you use your broadcast? Answer should indicate Quantity of usage
5. Should these broadcasts be available to all?
6. Should all lectures be broadcast on the internet?
7. Was the broadcast that you used useful?
8. Did your broadcast add to your understanding of the topic? Answer should show Usefullness.
9. Do internet broadcasts mean you are more likely to stay away from lectures?
10. Did the online material make for an acceptable substitute to the regular lecture?
Answer should indicate Substitution.
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Questionnaire and Assessing 5,000 $
Interview 5,000 $
Getting on Itunes U 3,000 $
Podcasting a lecture for a semester 5,000 $
Miscellanous 2,000 $
Total Budget 20,000 $
ITunes U and podcasting in general lets professors use technology to teach in a way they
never thought possible. Some professors can load students' presentations to iTunes U for the
rest of the class to listen to and critique. Other instructors can use the service to load their own
oral comments to students' coursework.
Previous research has identified that the impact of e-learning on the role of the academic
requires ‘faculty members to think about themselves very differently as instructors,
recognising the changes in the educational paradigm, engage in new kinds of activities, and
reconsider the meaning of being an expert in technology’. Resisting e-learning is in fact an
entirely an act designed to strengthen a relationship based on ‘being face-to-face’ with the
students, despite the quality of that relationship due to the pressure of increased student
numbers and changing student expectations. However, we have to be open minded and adapt
to digital age’s changes and use podcasts in order to cope up with the new media generation.
There is still a place for ‘old’ media with an opportunity to build on current good practices;
Great opportunities, but it is a time for transition. There is a need to experiment in order to
progress. New media needs to be introduced gradually. For students more emphasis on active
learning, participating and collaborating could be scary – guidance and time to orientate to a
new approach is essential. For teachers – it’s new too, they will need support to decide how
best to use ‘new media’ and how to change teaching strategies. ‘New media’ technology is
not controlled by the institution, this could be an issue at times. .
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When we look at the definition of the Academic identities : the discipline; the institution; and
a sense of the profession: we have to see that as Turkish universities, we have to be
podcasting – some podcasts as an introduction course and some free of charge - as soon as
possible in order to be innovative and protect our dignity and identity as a Professional
-Top of the Pods—In Search of a Podcasting “Podagogy” for Language Learning Fernando
Rosell-Aguilar The Open University, UK www. informaworld.com/ smpp /title~content =
-Nielsen//NetRatings @Plan Summer 2006 Release
-E-learning: you don't always get what you hope for Adrian Kirkwood The Institute of Educational
Technology, The Open University, UK www.informaworld.com/smpp /title~content=t716100724
-The impact of national culture on e-learning implementation: a comparative study of an
Argentinean and a Swedish university Christina Keller ab; Jörgen Lindh a; Stefan Hrastinski Ines
Casanovas c; Gladys Fernandez ca Jönköping International Business School, Department of
Informatics, Sweden b Uppsala University, Department of Information Science, Sweden c National
Technological University of Argentina, Department of Systems Engineering, Argentina
-A systemic framework for managing e-learning adoption in campus universities: individual
strategies in context Carol Russell Faculty of Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney,
Australia http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ title~content =t713605628
-E-learning in higher education: some key aspects and their relationship to approaches to study
Robert A. Ellis a; Paul Ginns b; Leanne Piggott Institute of Teaching and Learning, University of
Sydney, Australia b Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Australia c Faculty
of Economics and Business, University of Sydney, Australia
-Infiltrating NetGen Cyberculture Gail M. Golderman a; Bruce Connolly Union College,
Schenectady, NY, USA www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t792306962
-Podcasting at the University of Virginia Claude Moore Health Sciences
Library Bart Ragon a; Ryan P. Looney Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of
Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA www. informaworld.com /smpp/title~content = t792306935
-Sharing Tacit Knowledge Online: A Case Study of e-Learning in Cisco's Network of System
Integrator Partner Firms Jarle Moss Hildrum a Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture,
University of Oslo, www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713424563
-The Open Education System, Anadolu University, Turkey: transformation in a mega-university
Colin Latchem a; Ali Ekrem Özkul b; Cengiz Hakan Aydin b; Mehmet Emin Mutlu Open and
Distance Learning Consultant, Australia b Anadolu University, Turkey
-Addressing the context of e-learning: using transactional distance theory to inform design
Robyn Benson a; Gayani Samarawickrema Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences,
Monash University, Australia b Institute of Teaching and Learning, Deakin University, Australia
-Educating an iPod generation: undergraduate attitudes, experiences and understanding of
vodcast and podcast use Vanessa Parson a; Peter Reddy a; Jon Wood a; Carl Senior School of Life
and Health Sciences, Aston University, UK www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713606301
-Displaced but not replaced: the impact of e-learning on academic identities in higher education
Janet Hanson Student and Academic Services, Bournemouth University, UK www.informaworld.com/
-Podagogy: The iPod as a learning technology Crispin Dale and John M. Pymm http://
Bahar Anahmias 2010 10