Feedback wanted: IL Podcast

As November slides in December, the CTL staff, the IL Fellows and I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to make the Innovations Lab even more useful to you! You’ll be hearing more about these developments in the upcoming weeks and months.  So stay tuned.

One thing that I have been wanting to do is a regular podcast for the KU community.  But I have been hesitant because I want to do something sustainable and, of course, actually useful for the community.

So before I commit to anything, I thought I would ask for input from the IL Network.

Does a podcast sound like a good idea?  What sort of things would you like to hear about?  What sorts of things would be a drag or less-than-useful?  You can use the comment function here on the blog to give me your feed back.

I really have only two guiding principles for this podcast idea.  #1 It needs to be useful.  #2 It has to be fun!

Look forward to your feedback.


29 responses to “Feedback wanted: IL Podcast

  1. I have never listened to a podcast before. If a podcast involves audio only, I wouldn’t watch it. If the podcast involves video is it still called a podcast? I’d call it a multimedia presentation or a movie and that might be useful.

    • Hi Ed!

      Podcast is a fuzzy term at best. Sometimes videos or other multi-media presentations are called vodcasts or vidcasts. But I don’t think those names have really stuck.

      Mostly I am thinking about an audio presentation on a 2x a month schedule. But might throw a video presentation in there once in a while.


  2. Podcasts are a great idea. However, I have two personal problems with them. My internet connection, though fast, is limited on how much I can do online each month. The other problem is time, I find it is easier to make a couple of seconds to read a little text then to watch something. Especially with small children running & yelling around the house. Of course, in a couple of years they will be off to school, and it will feel like no time they will be away at college.

    • Hi Tamara,

      One of the reasons I like the audio podcast format is that I can listen to it and be productive while I am doing other things like washing the dishes. 🙂

      But you are right, the blog format is very effective and it is not going away!


  3. Hey Will,

    I think podcasts are an awesome idea! I would love to hear summaries on the book review sessions we offer. I would enjoy hearing about current books and topics as it will give me something interesting to discuss at our Kaplan Holiday party 🙂 Can we have one really soon? If not, I guess I can just talk about podcasts! Love the idea, Will!

    Laurie Hansen (Patti-Dillon)

    • 🙂 Laurie! Are you reading my notes???

      The idea of a short synopsis of books that we read in our book group is definitely on my mind!

      Also, interviews with interesting people is something that I am thinking about.


  4. I think a podcast is a great idea I guess because I have the tools toi do it with which makes this a convenient option for me. My only suggestion would be to add a place for people to leave questions and comments on the topic which would make it more interesting.

    • Great feedback Kelly.

      One thing that I am thinking about is having a number that a faculty could call into and leave a question or a comment. And I could answer those questions during a podcast later. I’ve seen this format work very well on some podcasts that I sometimes listen to.


  5. I listen to a lot of podcasts so I would certainly listen. The hard part is added burden on the IL. Interviews which are then edited for time and content would be cool but a 20 minute final product would probably represent 2 to 3 hours work on your part. Since you already produce AV content I don’t know how much extra kick we would get for your time investment.


    • Good point Dennis. And I am thinking about the time commitment very carefully. I want to sure it is sustainable.

      I will probably beta-test it and see what people think about it. I am sure the IL community will not be short on opinions! 🙂

  6. Will,
    A monthly podcast might be amazing. Because so many of us cannot attend all the live events (though I wish I could), it would be helpful to hear or see a recap of them all. Whether a podcast or Voice Thread or Animoto presentation, it might also encourage us to revisit the archived presentations that most appeal to us. Reminds me of our weekly letters to students recapping the past unit and looking forward to the next unit. Could this be done in a 15 – 20 minute podcast? Maybe it could include a snipet of each of the actual presentations?

    Just thinking out loud. Will, whatever emerges will be wonderful, I’m sure.

    • I like the way you think Ellen. I like the idea of promoting the archives especially!

      Lots of ideas flowing here. I love it. I can see different themes that cycle through: book reviews, review of live events, interviews with interesting people, and edtech news.

      I am very pleased with the responses here!


  7. I like the podcast idea. I subscribe to a couple on iTunes (Grammar Girl and Writing Workshop) and listen to them while I am multi-tasking. LOVE the idea about the book group synopsis!

    • YES… the book group synopsis is definitely a cool idea. I will think about how to do a “pilot” episode for that for December.

      Things to think about: program format. Single speaker/presentation? Interview? Roundtable discussion?

      This is fun!

    • Forgot to mention. It does not surprise me at all that you listen to Grammar Girl!!!


      • Erica Ellsworth

        Sesame Street too! It might be fun to have a quickie (1-3 minutes) of a single speaker promoting it (maybe the leader for that book?). A roundtable would be awesome afterwards to share some thoughts on the book. Both might get new readers 🙂

      • Promos for CTL/IL things are a good idea. (I like promoting the IL, if you haven’t noticed. :-))

        A 10-15 minute audio roundtable discussion after the bookgroup meeting could be pretty interesting too.

  8. Will, I don’t find the time for a podcast myself. I need to scan information quickly then save it somewhere for future use if needed.

    If I were to save podcasts, I still have the problem of going back through them again when I want to actually use the information.

    I was just thinking this weekend that I’d love to be able to have a IL Members Forum. In my mind it would look something like the CNET forum for online educators. I like the way they organize it into categories. Don’t know if that’s possible or maybe even exists already.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date.


    • Thanks for the feedback Amy. Very helpful. In terms of a podcast: it would supplement the scan-ability of the blog, not replace it. But any podcast would need to relatively short and to the point. Concise enough to get the point across, but not longer.

      Member Forums are something that we have discussed from time to time, and I am sure it will come up again. I am intrigued by the idea, but again sustainability and moderating it are my main concerns. I still consider it in the realm of possibility as the IL continues to grow.


  9. I think the idea of a podcast is wonderful. I am one who believes a lot in communicating with our students and an podcast can deliver a powerful message.


    • As a regular listener of podcasts, I know that even podcasts can get squeezed out. So the IL Podcast would have to be valuable and also the right length and tone. Just like our students, we have limited bandwidth because life is busy, and a IL podcast would have to prove itself as valuable. This conversation encourages me to at least give it a try. 🙂

  10. Deborah Eastwood

    I think a podcast would be awesome! I would subscribe on my Ipod and could listen to it while I am doing other things. Interviews would be great. Book reviews are something I would also enjoy. If it was something technical I would rather read that.


    • Thanks for the feedback Deb. Yes… technical, “how-to’s” wouldn’t work so well as a podcast. They work best as text with illustrations or as a screencast, in my opinion.

  11. Pingback: (mindmapping) with IL Podcast as example « Innovations Lab

  12. Great idea, Will. I would like to see standardized programs to use for Announcements and in Seminar, and a step by step written manual and how to use the programs. That would be so helpful!

    Thanks, Will


  13. Will, all, Absolutely the two most important ingredients: useful and fun! I am a big fan of PodCasts with video or without, and I echo what others say, it allows me to multi-task, also. But more than that, I am a big believer in adding dimension to communications by adding any forms of multi-media. I think you are on to something really useful and fun! I like what Ellen said about a monthly podcast that could include a snippet of each — a quick overview– that way folks would dig into the archives of those that peak the most interest. SMART thinking! Dawn

  14. Will,

    First, I applaud you for once again returning to the drawing board to find new and interesting ways to help us be better instructors for our students, because all of us this will filter down in some way.

    Presently I am sitting here listening to an Irish and Celtic music podcast while I am working (does that sound like a Facebook comment, or what?!.:-) Granted, listening to a music podcast while one works is not the same thing because the music serves more as background noise. But it does present the opportunity for me to compare the two types of listening-music versus talking.

    An IL podcast would definitely be something we’d have to take the time to listen to without other auditory distractions, but since most of us work at home and the laundry has to be folded….

    I think it would be a great idea!


  15. Hello Will and all,

    I think one of the key questions is … “Who will be the target audience for the podcast?” The target audience will shape the content. My first intuitions lead me to think that the target audience is Kaplan instructors. Then my mind moves to thinking of Kaplan students as the target audience. But my instincts quickly veto this idea because students would not be interested (or invested) in many of the topics that are attractive to educators. This leads me to my final thought … “What if the audience was all educators in all places?” I was just thinking of all of the different people that are providing some form of education (parents providing home schooling, all levels of educators, corporate trainers, religious educators, etc.) All of these educators are interested in innovative ways to promote learning. What if the podcast was inclusive enough that the program enhanced the efforts of a diverse population of educators? This shift of focus could make a big difference in the success of the podcast.

    Amy Habeck makes a good point. Many of “our” instructors may not find time for a Podcast. But with the advent of portable multimedia devices and multimedia phones, more people are subscribing to podcasts and listening to them during their downtime (commuting, flying, exercise, etc.). Personally, I have a 120 gig Zune, and I subscribe to numerous podcast? Why? Because I don’t have to worry about running out of memory and I never know what I might be interested in hearing when I’m stuck in a waiting mode.

    Perhaps the scope of an audience that is “all educators in all places” could be too ambitious. 🙂 But what if the audience was iTunes and Zune subscribers? This could be doable and it would shift the focus of the Podcast from being Kaplan-centered to learning-centered.

    I think I just put another bubble on your mindmap — Audience. 🙂

    Wishing you the best!


    • Scott!

      What a great, thoughtful comment. Much appreciated!

      So a fundamental question is who is the audience. (While I think that a podcast for students could be a great thing, I don’t think of that as the IL audience.)

      In my mind, I guess I have had a few impressions (as opposed to clearly articulated ideas) of who the audience would be. A typical listener would be:

      – Adjunct Faculty at KU
      – Teaches at other Colleges also
      – Not a tech guru, but wants to leverage technology to be a more effective teacher
      – Loves teaching and learning
      – Is self-reflective about their own teaching practice

      The podcast would need to provide something that this listener wouldn’t get through the blog or the Live Events that we do. But it would supplement the overall mission of the IL and CTL.

      The challenge that you articulate so wonderfully is here: “I was just thinking of all of the different people that are providing some form of education (parents providing home schooling, all levels of educators, corporate trainers, religious educators, etc.) All of these educators are interested in innovative ways to promote learning.” Personally, I have always hoped that the IL doesn’t just fulfill an “tech itch” (though that isn’t bad and we do want to scratch that itch), but that we also reach folks at a deeper level too.

      You made me think Scott! Thank you!


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