I often teach podcasting, but from a different angle now – nearly ten years after I began one at ASU. Now it is all about the planning, the content, and the delivery –rather than the technology and distribution.
In my Public Speaking (COM225) class at junior college, I ask my students to work on a group podcast when we cover ‘Speaking to a global audience‘ and ‘Virtual audiences.’ This semester too I threw out the challenge to create a podcast on topics they randomly picked.
Here is one, created with some planning plus a great interview that makes it sound quite authentic, rather than a class project. The surprise: It was basically recorded on a phone! She used the app from Anchor FM, which provides unlimited hosting.
Gone are the days of needing to buy a special device such as the Zoom H2N I once used. Or downloading software such as Audacity, which I still find valuable. Take a listen and see what I mean.
Podcasting just keeps evolving! Whenever I bring up the topic, either in class or is a media discussion, I find the old definitions are inadequate. The production quality, and the platforms have changed. The content creators have certainly got more comfortable with the format.
So this week I like to showcase a podcast from an old friend, Dan Wool. A solid communications and PR pro (he co-taught a webinar with me in 2010), Dan is now on his way to becoming a doctor! His podcast focuses on –what else?- health issues. His website, cubicleclinic.com is filled with his take on health and lifestyle issues cubicle dwellers face.
If this topic interests you, please click on this link, or the icon on the right and give it a listen.
The podium and the microphone –two devices invented 200 years apart –could both be intimidating. My communication class students had prior to this, worked off their stage fright with several impromptu, scripted , and extemporaneous speeches. But juggling the technology here could be demanding on the first try.
For this assignment two groups each worked on a short script – basically Talking Points – for their podcast. I asked them to create a show with a ‘story’ element. They then used Audacity to record it. The results shocked them, too! This group’s work turned out like a PSA with glimpses of Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds. They even downloaded and used a background music track from FreeMusicArchive!
As any teacher will tell you, the big ‘bonus’ we get at the end of the school year doesn’t involve zeros after a decimal point. Instead it is seeing the outcome of the work put in – watching students move up.
This was evident last evening, as I wrapped up the communication class, COM 225, which I taught at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. It was their final exam, one part of which was a prepared speech. Watching them put into practice material they learned over five months was the exclamation point at the end of a long chapter. The kicker, if you will. Their speeches were top-notch. Their confidence -and use of techniques learned –on full display.
Before they left, I recommended they sometime watch Randy Pausch’s ‘Last Lecture.’ Why? Because it is both an artifact or Public Speaking that embodies everything found in the text books, plus one of the most motivational messages students could take away on their journey.
My friend Dr. Robert Selliah took his message to Capitol Hill in February, to talk of drug discovery – pediatric drugs, that is.
I’ve followed Robert’s work for some years now and often tell him what’s impressive is his knack of explaining biotech complexities in such as way that a lay person gets it. In my Public Speaking class, when I deal with a Manuscript Speech, I address how important it is to not let jargon and the ‘Haigspeak‘ creep in.
Here Robert deals with the thicket of drug discovery by light-heartedly cautioning the audience that some technical language was coming. And he even threw in an analogy, comparing the ‘linear process’ of molecular discovery to making a movie. Nice touch!
Capitol Hill is stocked with technocrats, who probably know how to tune out speeches. I’m sure Robert kept them awake, tuned to his ‘movie’!
Student protests happen everywhere, not only during times of turmoil. When I was in Uni, students took over parts of the campus ‘kidnapped a Dean (!) and held him for a few hours. At another time some stormed the campus police station. Most student protests happen in public spaces, with rhetoric aimed at public figures – or at least those people in power.
So what do you make of a situation when a classroom (in Reed College in Portland, Oregon) was turned into a protest space? Is the audience just students like themselves, sounding off their different perspectives? Watch this and think again.
- Is it possible that the demonstration was set up (this doesn’t seem a spontaneous turnout) to create ‘media’ and not just to hijack the space?
- Was the debate that took place toward the end, unintended?
- Was it an appropriate way to address sensitive issues around a Humanities 101 class?
What’s your take?
For some background, read the piece in The Atlantic in November last year.
This is something my students in Communications will find relevant.
It’s a hilarious case of what happens when you get infected by buzzwords and cliches. Gerard Braud, a well-known media trainer and business communications speaker I follow, gives us his take on how not to discombobulate your mesage when giving a speech.
(Public Service Announcement from the Center for buzzword disease control: Never use words such as ‘discombobulate!)