How it all Works

I have been making a great deal about technologies such as blogging and podcasting which have the potential to be huge academic tools for students and teachers. As pointed out by Janet Stemwedel however, “it’s at least as easy for students to avoid viewing a lecture that’s available online as it is for them to skip a live lecture.”

From a student’s perspective, these new tools should be used more to supplement the education that we receive within the classroom. Students will choose to ignore an online lecture just as they would undoubtedly choose to skip a live lecture. It is my hope that with these new technologies, teachers will have the freedom to make the time that students have in class more interactive. Involving the students and filling the class time with discussion would leave the students more interested in the topic and more willing to research it outside of class. It is here that blogging and podcasting come in to play. Not so much to provide a convenient lecture, but to quickly and easily provide the student with the information that he/she would have received in a lecture in a more inviting form. By inviting, I mean to say, not simply a professor in a suit jacket talking for an hour. Because let’s be honest with ourselves, in school, as in photojournalism, talking heads are boring.

For a quick example of the resources that are now available at a student’s fingertips, I happened to be flipping through the channels on my television and recognized a face that I had seen recently in the media. It was Jeff Gannon, who was taking part in the aforementioned “Who is a Journalist?” discussion held at the National Press Club and broadcast on C-SPAN2. As a student in the School of Journalism & Mass Communications I was interested. I then logged on to the C-SPAN website, and found that I could view a webcast of the event through the internet. By doing this I was able to (1) record the audio using a program called WireTap, and (2) take down notes with sychronized audio using Office 2004 for Mac. Once the event concluded I was able to view the blogs of those involved as well as those who witnessed it. I gained further insight into the purpose of the panel, the members of the panel, and the aftermath. In short, the internet, blogs, webcasts, and podcasts all played a part in my following this particular event just as they could for any number of topics.

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