eCoaching Tip 14 Getting to Know Audio Podcasts

May 19, 2006 (Reviewed August 12 2019)

eCoaching Tip 14: Getting to Know Audio Podcasts

Note:  This tip on audio podcasting was first written in 2006.  I have updated it to suggest thinking more about experiencing podcasts and then by extension to using audio in your course. To find the  best podcasting tools, it is best to google “podcasting tools” for the most current recommendations.  

This tip is about inserting, using, adding audio to your courses using published podcasts.  Another tip will address how you or your students might create podcasts.  I believe that a good first step before creating podcasts is to experience some podcast audio content.

By the way, if you are under 45 or so, you can skip this tip.  You already have a smart phone firmly attached to your body somewhere with thousands of podcasts, both audio and video, resources available at a moment’s notice!  On the other hand, you may want to scan this tip anyway,  as it suggests ways that you may want to experience podcasts and then to use them in your course.

For any of you who might be newbies to audio uses in your course, this tip has an assignment attached to it.

Here is the assignment:

Go to one of the urls below or simple google podcast in your discipline or hobby area and download a podcast to your phone. (What is a podcast?  It is a  “digital audio file” equivalent to a radio show.  This file can be played on any digital device. ) This might be your computer or more likely your smart phone.

This assignment has four parts:

  1. Find a podcast that you would like to hear
  2. Download the podcast- most are free
  3. Play it using earbuds so as to not annoy others around you
  4. Write a note to yourself  or share with a friend or colleague about what surprised you, delighted you,  confused you, or how you might use an audio podcast in your courses

Here is one starting point and also some recommendations for which podcast app you may want to download to your phone. As podcasts have become such a convenient way to reach out, many professional and discipline academic organizations  now sponsor series of webcasts.  And of course, now we have video podcasts from TEDtalks and YouTube. Take 20 minutes and explore a bit and find a podcast to listen to as you are driving or doing an errand.

  • This is the website for Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American. This was an early source of many of my favorite podcasts for listening while I walk, exercise or drive. Each of these “sciam” podcasts — as I like to abbreviate them — have 3 segments of about 7 minutes each.   For example, one of the segments from the podcast of April 11, 2006 features an interview with David Berreby talking about his book, Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind.  The last few minutes of each podcasts lets you “test your knowledge about some recent science in the news.”  Note — Many if not most of the podcasts available at this site are free and range from 2 to 35 minutes.
  • As of August 2019, this website – suggests that the three best podcast apps are Pocket Casts, Overcast, or Castro. These podcast apps are designed to help find, manage, sync and archive podcasts. I am about to download and try them out,  too.

Another interesting feature of podcasts is that you can choose to subscribe to the podcasts, and each time you launch an application the most recent podcast in the series will appear and you can choose or not to download or stream it. This can make it convenient to stay current in your discipline.

Enjoy your audio podcast assignment, and think about how you might like to use audio in your course. Here are some ideas:

  • Is there a favorite author/expert that you would like to interview?
  • Is there a discussion board summary or observation that you would like to do using audio?
  • Maybe your students would like to add an audio supplement to their project.

More Background and References

  1. This site is a comprehensive podcasting resource detailing almost everything you might want to know about podcasting., including how to do it. Tools — 

This site suggests these uses for podcasting.  These uses may suggest adaptations for course assignments or activities.

    • Self-Guided Walking Tours – Informational content.
    • Music – Band promotional clips and interviews
    • Talk Shows– Industry or organizational news, investor news, sportscasts, news coverage and commentaries.
    • Training – Instructional informational materials.
    • Story– Story telling for children or the visually-impaired.
  1. Wikipedia is a good source for the background and uses of podcasting at

Interesting note from the entry of 5/19/06:  “The editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary declared “podcasting” the 2005 word of the year, defining the term as “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player”.

Note: These E-coaching tips were initially developed for faculty in the School of Leadership & Professional Advancement at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. This library of tips has been organized and updated through 2016 in the second edition of the  book, The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips coauthored with Rita-Marie Conrad.  Judith can be reached judith followed by