Today class met in Walter Library SMART Learning Commons, where Media Outreach Librarian Scott Spicer demonstrated the voice recording software, equipment, and support available to students creating their own podcasts.
That's right: as a technophobe, I decided not only to teach a class drawing on preexisting podcasts, but also to help students create new podcasts: a process about which I knew, up until this semester, approximately nothing.
Here is my rationale:
In a class that draws comparisons between the literal voices of storytellers and poets in audio recordings and the figurative power of individual and collective voices to speak "from the margins," it is important that students are empowered to broadcast their own voices.
Podcasting is an exciting medium because it bypasses corporate conglomerate radio and allows individuals to publicize their voices without access to a recording studio, start-up capital, censors, cultural gatekeepers, or any of the typical barriers that keep much of our current radio (not to mention television) bland, one-dimensional, and guided by profits rather than people.
Culminating the course with student-produced podcasts equips them
not only with the tools of savvy consumers, but also with the tools of cultural producers...so they can not only analyze and critique media (literary or otherwise) but also take action and be responsible for creating new content.