Guest Post: Fairfield University Library Podcasts by Leslie Porter
library podcasts. Leslie was in the RUSA Pre-Conference I participated in at ALA Annual and thus got picked on. She is a good sport. If you would like to contribute something similar about your library podcasts, just write it up and send it to me.}
We created these podcasts for students in English 11 after consulting with English professor Richard Regan, who is very active with iTunesU. We knew he was going to be teaching his section of EN 11 as an iTunesU class, so we approached him and asked him if the library could offer any podcasts for integration into his class. He asked us to cover the databases that students would use for his class: LION, JSTOR, Google Scholar, and Project Muse. Instead of doing a straightlaced description of the databases, we decided to personify each database based upon its characteristics and then interview it in a short one to two-minute podcast.
We played at least one of the podcasts during the information literacy sessions for EN 11. Students usually laughed - and sometimes even applauded after listening to the podcasts - and it worked out well as a break in the session for students as well as the instructor. It was clear to me that many of the students enjoyed the podcasts and were surprised that the library would be doing something so "different." I think this is a good thing, because it helps humanize the library (and librarians) and perhaps affects in some way students' overall perceptions of the library.
Some of the students' comments can shed light on the effectiveness of the podcasts as an instructional tool. After each class, we ask the students to fill out evaluation forms. We never specifically asked about the podcasts, but students often commented about them in response to the question: "What about the session surprised you most?"
Here are a few sample responses:
1. That the web database could speak, and was a man!
2. The sound bites that introduced LION and Google Scholar and how hard the library is trying to be accessible and relate to students.
3. The LION database interview. It was different.
4. That databases can talk.
5. The audio, I thought it was really funny and will stick with me.
6. The LION talking.
-- Leslie Porter