GIFTS: Teaching Media Technology and Convergence through Podcasting

Media Technology Podcast Project

In an attempt to increase student engagement in learning about media technology and media convergence this project toolkit has been developed.  The intention of this toolkit is to provide educators with the scaffolding of an existing podcast project that can be used as is, or modified and adapted to fit the various individual course / learning needs. 

Project Overview

The concept of the Media Technology Podcast Project is to provide an active learning project in which students explore the convergence of media technology through a hands-on exercise to develop a tightly edited informational audio program in the form of a podcast (which is an example of converged media itself).  This activity is suited to be incorporated into a theoretically focused course as an alternative to a traditional paper or presentation assessment, and can also be used in a competency based course that specifically aims to teach students production skills in media communication technology.

Description of Project

Students are given a choice to select media technology for their podcast project to which they will have to research, develop a script, and produce their recorded Podcast in mp3 format. The recorded Podcast is not to exceed five (5:00) minutes in length. At the conclusion of the project all student podcasts will be collected electronically by the instructor and reviewed.  The completed podcasts that students opt to allow to be shared publicly, can then be published to an online SoundCloud podcast feed or similar publication outlet.  The publication of the podcasts is of course optional, based on the rules, regulations, and privacy considerations of the institution or organization from which this project is run.  An alternative to public publication would be to post the completed podcast to the learning management system (LMS).

Intended Courses

This project activity can be adopted to a range of courses that cover media and or technology.  Some examples of courses well suited to this project are:

  • Mass Communications (intro level)
  • Media Literacy
  • Media Studies
  • Media Production (intro level)
  • Emerging Technology

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate critical research analyses on media technologies and media convergence.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the potential for media convergence to impact the traditional media through discussion and research findings.
  • Demonstrate the technical competencies required to produce high quality audio programs from a a variety of recording sources (field and studio) and mixing of vocal tracks with music and additional sound loops.
  • Strengthen students' critical thinking through analysis, creation, and evaluation of research on their chosen topic.
  • Provide experience developing original and creative content, and if applicable publishing through new media channels for podcast delivery.

Technology Requirements

The minimum technology requirements for this assignment are access to a computer with audio recording software, and a microphone.  The aim of this project is not to teach a specific platform for podcast creation, but to focus on developing the content and producing the best sounding audio quality given the available equipment. 

For some courses, students may already have experience with audio recording and or production, for others this may be the first such assignment.  Instructors should adapt the assignment to complement the existing proficiency level of their students and or other course requirements. Suggested software platforms are Apple GarageBand (MacOS and iOS) and Audacity (MacOS and Windows).

Evaluation of Project

Students are supplied with a detailed rubric for this activity that clearly outlines and defines the levels for assessment across five criteria: planning, introduction, content, delivery, and technical production.  Each criterion is segmented into four levels of achievement in which a detailed summary of each level is provided. The rubric is intended to serve as self-learning assessment tool for students as well, so at any time during their project they can use the rubric to self evaluate their level of completion on the project.

Student reflection
Upon the completion of the project it is suggested that the instructor send an anonymous survey to the participants to gather responses on the students’ perceptions of the assignment in regard to how well they learned through the use of this project compared to a traditional paper or presentation. The survey may also gather information on the perceived self-efficacy of podcasting as a medium to develop and share content. If this project is used to replace a previous activity, a comparison of the results of this activity will help the instructor analyze if there are measurable performance differences or perceptions of learning. 

Media Technology Project Guidelines

Using the common definition of media convergence as the integration of mass media, computers, and telecommunications.  Chose a media technology to focus your research on that represents media convergence, but be careful not to choose something too broad like the Internet.  Possible choices might include: hardware examples (tablets and smartphones, virtual reality /augmented reality sets, e-book readers, etc.) or software platforms such as (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Blogs, Tumblr, Apple Music, Spotify, GarageBand, etc.). 

Research your chosen technology and develop a script for your podcast that addressed the following questions:

  • Succinctly describe the media technology you chose and how it works, who the intended users are, and provide a brief overview of the people (or organization) responsible for creating the technology.

  • Discuss the historical aspects of the technology (when was it created, how it evolved, and or spread in usage) Did this new media technology replace an existing analog version, or is it a completely new?

  • Describe how the technology will change (or has changed) traditional processes or practices. Did the technology you chose disrupt any existing media or industry, if so discuss how?

  • Discuss how the technology relates to the concept that we are in a “digital revolution” and that new and emerging digital media will replace “old media” model of print and physical media distribution.

  • Discuss your views on the future directions of the technology, do you believe it will continue to grow, or decline, or become obsolete? Provide rationale for your position.


You are to create an audio podcast based on your chosen media technology topic and address the prompts listed above.  Your finished podcast is not to exceed five (5:00) minutes in length and must be in Mp3 format.  In addition to containing the content derived from your research on the provided prompts, your podcast will also need to include the following elements:

  • Catchy opening introduction where you succinctly introduce yourself, any guests, and the topic you are covering.
  • Creative and original content, that is well rehearsed and provides a smooth delivery in conversational style with highly effective expression and rhythm to keep the listener engaged.
  • Transitions are smooth and spaced appropriately, volume of voice is strong and clear and mixed well with any music or sound loops.


These resources were created to provide examples of assessment rubrics and a general podcasting guide that covers some basic instruction on podcast formats, and recording tips for those less familiar with audio recording.

Media Technology Podcast Project Rubric (PDF)

Media Technology Podcast Recording Basics (PDF)


In this section you can access a few examples of student work that has been shared publicly.  These podcasts were created for a special topics course on podcasting and emerging technology. Some of the examples were focused on a broader range of media and culture, but the same constraints where placed on the podcast produciton.

INTED 2017 Conference Presentation

It was with great pleasure that I was able to present our paper on the use of podcasting to enhance and enrich international education along with some wonderful colleagues at the 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference in Valencia Spain.  

We had a wonderful round of discussions and questions from the conference session attendees, and it was so inspiring to hear how many other educators are looking to integrate a project of this type to enrich the student learning experiences.  I can speak for the group when I say that we are looking forward to continuing the development of the project and will be sharing our "toolkit" soon under a Creative Commons License to ensure that it stays open and accessible to anyone who would like to adapt an integrate this type of project.

The International Podcast Project Team
Dr. Sean Leahy (Webster University Leiden Campus)
Prof Kit Jenkins (Webster University St. Louis Campus)
Julie Smith (Webster University St. Louis Campus)
Dr. Brad Wiggins (Webster University Vienna Campus)
Francesco Arese Visconti (Webster University Geneva)

INTED is one of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector. After 10 years, it has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries will get together to present their projects and share their knowledge on teaching and learning methodologies, educational innovations and experiences in technology and development.
— https://iated.org/inted/


The purpose of this oral presentation is to share information on the outcomes of an international collaboration involving student-produced podcasts as a course requirement. This project took place across multiple campuses in the global network of Webster University. Students and instructors participated from the following campuses: St. Louis, Missouri (the university’s home campus), Leiden, The Netherlands, Geneva, Switzerland, and Cha-Am, Thailand, and Vienna, Austria. Podcasting has increasingly become a useful tool in nearly all aspects of learning, but perhaps even more so when students produce the podcasts as part of a course assignment (Ashraf, Noroozi, & Salami, 2011; Çölkesen & Bedir, 2016; Forbes, 2011). The concept of the International Podcast Project was to provide an active learning experience in which students participate in a global media project by choosing a topic related to media and society, research their topic, develop a short audio program in the form of a podcast and publish their work along with their fellow classmates from the participating international campus locations. A main goal of this project was to provide a common cross-site academic activity that all Webster University campus locations could participate in. This project is intended to be an independent modular assignment / activity that can be adopted by any media (related) course, and therefore is not limited to a specific course offering, but can be adopted by faculty in which this assignment meets a curricular goal or active learning experience. Finally, the presentation offers best practices when designing a project that involves differences in terms of location, culture, resource, technological proficiency, and time zones. Attendees will benefit from hearing about challenges and opportunities that were encountered and the solutions that emerged from group discussion and collegial collaboration. While the project itself was developed by instructors who teach courses in media, many of the students involved in the project were not media majors or had little to no prior knowledge of how to produce a podcast. This presentation will also address how to mitigate such possibilities.

[1] Ashraf, H., Noroozi, S., & Salami, M. (2011). E-listening: The Promotion of EFL Listening Skill via Educational Podcasts. 6th International Conference on e-Learning (p. 10-16). Canada: University of British Columbia Okanagan.
[2] Çölkesen, D., & Bedir, G. (2016). The use of student-produced educational podcasts in foreign language vocabulary teaching. International Journal of Research in Education and Social Science 1, (3), 2415-2528
[3] Forbes, D. (2011). Beyond Lecture Capture: Student-generated Podcasts in Teacher Education. Waikato Journal of Education, 51-63.

Keywords: International collaboration, podcasts in education, student-oriented learning.