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Re: Advice for Law Faculty New to Podcasting
by Carole Buckner - Thursday, 9 March 2006, 1:39 PM

1.      Preparation/Equipment:

    1. I highly recommend doing the tutorial.  All of the sessions are very good.
    2. Find out whether there are any limitations on recording the class and get student consent if necessary.
    3. For recording the summaries, I used the Plantronics headset microphone which connects to the computer through a USB port and supposedly provides a better quality sound.
    4. I am using the iRiver T30 MP3 player, which doesnt have to be converted to MP3 format.  The downside is that it doesnt pick up student comments in a large class, so if you want that information recorded, you need to restate it during the lecture.  I may in the future try another recorder that does pick up the comments of students.  My students listened right away to see if their comments could be heard, and seemed relieved that they could not be heard.  If you are concerned about chilling your students discussion, you can consider this approach.
    5. Be aware that you are recording yourself.  Students get to hear and re-hear (and re-hear) your classroom comments.  This is a change from past practice.
  1. Getting the word out:
    1. Mention the blog frequently in class
    2. Link the blog to your webpage on Lexis or Westlaw.
    3. Keep mentioning it to your students.  One big selling point is this:  students listen to and read many things, but other sources are not as closely aligned with this specific course as the summaries you are creating.  These summaries capture the level of depth at which you are teaching the course, the aspects of the law that you are emphasizing and the cases and materials you are covering. 
    4. Empahsize how students can use the class recordings just to zero in on what they dont understand.  Tell them to keep track of any point at which they get lost in class by noting the time; then they can quickly zip to the appropriate piece without having to listen to the whole thing.
  2. Feedback:
    1. Ask the class for feedback on what they like and dont like about your recordings and reviews.
  3. Reviews:
    1. Write scripts for the reviews.  It seems like it would take longer, but this allows faster recording and less editing.  I too am using Audacity, which is easy and works just fine.
    2. In doing the summaries, consider doing them by topic and subtopic, rather than just what material is covered in a particular week.  For example, one week in Civil Procedure, I might finish up discovery and begin, but not finish up a unit on summary judgment.  Instead of making a summary of what was covered that week, I would include the discovery information with the prior weeks summary, and the summary judgment information with a summary that covers the entire topic of summary judgment.  This way, when students review, they can find everything on a topic in one summary. 
    3. Do the summaries after you teach the class, as much as possible, which will allow you to focus in on the areas that students may be having trouble understanding.