A podcast is an automated system for distributing audio-visual material over the Internet and consuming it on a portable device or on a computer.
A podcast generally has an overall theme and can be made up of more or less regular episodes which can be automatically downloaded as they become available.
Use of podcasts
Like all web resources, podcasts can be created by anyone and made available online. Some podcast directories have strict guidelines on quality but the content may not be checked. Therefore, you need to evaluate the content and the quality of the podcast in order to assess how reliable or useful the information it contains may be.
What to look out for:
- Is the purpose of the podcast clear – e.g. is it for educational or entertainment purposes?
- Do special audio or visual effects enhance the podcast, rather than detract from the information being delivered?
- Is the editing smooth?
- Is the sound audible and clear?
Can the presenters be heard above background noise and sound effects?
- If there are images, are these clearly visible?
- Are the visual or sound effects adding to the podcast and not detracting from the information being transmitted?
If you answered mainly yes to these questions, the chances are the podcast is of reliable quality and would be a useful source to refer to in your work. The question that is of most value above all is, did the podcast contain information which was relevant and interesting to you? If so, you may think this counts more than the design and quality.
Pocasts for Educators - Weblog at http://recap.ltd.uk/podcasting/weblog/2006/08/evaluating-podcasts.html
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators 'What makes a Good Podcast' at http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/evalpodcast.html
Guide for Evaluating Podcasts at http://wiki.arts.usyd.edu.au/elearning/index.php/Guide_for_Evaluating_Podcasts