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M. Guiza, C. Favela-Moreno

Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UNITED STATES)
Podcasts allow students to listen to educational material in their computers or devices, thus supporting mobile learing. The Educational Podcast project currently under way at the School of Engineering, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, (UABC) México, is aimed at students who study their first semesters in the Basic Academic area. The Basic Academic area receives all students who will study an engineering career. At this stage of their studies and during three semesters, students receive classes regarding introduction to calculus, physics, chemistry, numerical analysis, amongst others. Students find it hard to keep good grades, thus resulting in high flunking and deserting indexes. In order to help them, the Educational Podcast project was designed, whose main objective is to develop Podcasts to be used as a teaching tool. A web page was developed where students can look up their professors and get access to the podcasts developed by them.
The particular objecitve for this research is to support professors and students in the elaboration of Podcasts to offer a mobile learning tool and keep education updated thus contributing in reducing flunking and desertion indexes.
The research question which guides this work is; will podcast positively contribute to students’ academic development?.

The methodology used for the research was a cuantitative/cualitative study. For the first study, a questionnaire was designed and evaluated by experts in order to learn about professors´ profile and Podcast use. The following variables were used: gender, learning units thought by the professor, seniority as university professor, number of students receiving lecture from the professor, Web 2.0 tools used, Podcast use level by professor and disposition to record Podcasts.
The project is divided in two studies. The first study focuses on developing educational Podcasts as a learning aid for students and support professors and students in the process of developing them. Professors will record their podcasts, choosing the topics they know students have more trouble understanding. Teams will coach professors who need support in this activity. Once professors have experience with podcast, they will be encouraged to invite their students to record a Podcast on a certain topic related with the subject they are studying. This will give students a new experience on how to record educational material (Podcasts) utilizing available technology, like Web 2.0 while learning about the subject as they do so. The second study is aimed to learn about the effects and contributions of Podcast on students academic development.

The response to the first study has been positive, the majority of professors are interesting in recording Podcasts for their students. Poscast recordings are underway. Research question will be answer on the second study after evaluating their impact on students.

Blok, R. & Godsk, M. (2009). Podcasts in Higher Education: What Students Want, What They Really Need, and How This Might be Supported. In T. Bastiaens et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2009 (pp. 117-128). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
Richardson, W. 2009 Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks Calif. Corwin Press.