Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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By Holly Wagner
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The next time you see a college student plugged into an iPod, don’t assume they’re listening to the latest from the Dave Matthews Band.
They might be reviewing the greatest hits of their physiology lectures.
Students at Quincy University and the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing will take part next semester in a pilot program to enhance the educational experience with podcasting. The Blessing Health Professions Library and the QU Library will share a $12,000 grant from the Illinois State Library, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“We want to see if students will be learning better. … If they relisten to a choice lecture or two, (will it) improve students’ grades at the end of the semester?” said Pat Tomczak, dean of library and information resources at QU.
The research grant will be spent to buy iPods or MP3 players for students to check out from the library. It also will pay for a consultant to help implement the program, as well as for recording equipment, headphones and software. The recording equipment will turn lectures into audio files which will be made available online.
The schools will buy enough equipment for four teachers who will volunteer to take part. QU’s science faculty is targeted, with the idea that they’ll reach nursing students who take classes at QU.
“The teachers will set the parameters” for what they choose to record, Tomczak said. The podcasts will enhance learning, not substitute for attending class.
“There’s always more going on in a lecture environment than you can hear,” she said.
Teachers will choose important lectures that students may want to review before a test, or guest lectures that will be useful for several semesters.
They might create review or study packages that complement their instruction.
Students may listen to the podcasts at the library, download the audio files to their PCs or laptops or burn them to a CD, said Arliss Dittmer, director of library services at Blessing-Rieman.
Students who do not have an MP3 player may check one out from the library.
“It will give them a chance to play with the new technology,” Tomczak said.
“The MP3 player is what makes this really portable,” Dittmer said. “That was the whole point, to make this technology portable so a student could listen to the information while they are doing something else because their time is so valuable.”
Podcasting is a new tool for education, Dittmer said. In 2005, “podcast” was the New Oxford American Dictionary “Word of the Year.”
“This is not just the wave of the future,” Tomczak said. “It’s now. It’s on the cutting edge … for education.”
Contact Staff Writer Holly Wagner at (217) 221-3374 or email@example.com
Quincy Herald Whig