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'Engage' Offers New Approaches in the Career of Teaching

University of Wisconsin:

Engage is a program offered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Division of Information Technology. Engage partners with members of the campus community to adapt, create, and integrate new and emerging information technologies in instruction. Podcasting was selected by the campus community of educational technology support staff as a theme for the Engage program, and during 2006-2007, Engage provided 90 instructors with a podcasting award. The award included funds to purchase equipment and consultations with educational technology support staff.

Podcasting was defined for instructors as a technology that allowed students to receive course materials through the convenient, RSS-based subscription mode and listen to them anywhere, anytime. The goal of the podcasting theme was to enable instructors to experiment with audio modes of learning. Audio has the power to capture and focus attention, helping learners acquire content and process complex information (Bishop, Amankwatia, and Cates, 2008). Furthermore, informal, personalized audio presentations are thought to create a feeling of social presence that helps learners integrate new information with their existing knowledge (Moreno and Mayer, 2004). A section of the program's website provided instructors with ideas for designing educational podcasts that capitalized on these benefits of audio.

To learn more about the key factors on this pedagogical innovation, read the report presented by Jan Cheetham, Steve Ackerman, and Kathy Christoph.

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