Podcasts are increasingly popular, which makes pedagogical podcasting tempting. It is relatively easy to make and publish a podcast, but just because you can do them, does not mean that you should. Here are some things to think about before you start.
Check that your amazing idea will add to what is already out there.
You may be an educator with a real flair for helping students understand the finer points of neurotransmission but are you going to be able to compete with Dr Matt and Dr Mike who have more than 190 pathophysiology episodes, are currently number 35 in the medical podcast charts and release new episodes every few days (Podbay, 2023). Not only will it be difficult to compete, but why would you?
Design your podcast.
Include your audience as co-designers. Including students gives you the potential to use podcasting in several ways: students can create episodes together, which requires them to learn the topic area, interview guests, and identify the most salient points in the editing process. Several higher education institutes use podcasts as an assessment method because it can meet all academic levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.
Talk to your audience to find out what they like to listen to already and sound them out about your ideas. Our podcast ‘Adventures in Research’ was based on multi-voice shows like ‘This American Life’ which use stories people tell and commentary to explain some quite difficult concepts.
- Think about whether your podcast is to be finite series or continue ad infinitum.
- Release episodes regularly so that your audience gets used to your publication schedule.
- Complicated podcasts need more time to edit, so complete several episodes before you start to release them.
- Think about episode length.
Create a production team.
Your team needs to include people who will do the following:
- Have oversight the whole process.
- Book interviews with guests.
- Undertake interviews with guests.
- Have knowledge and skill of the technical side.
If you need complicated editing, then try to get someone on board with experience. Each of our episodes will take more than 20 hours to complete but you could just record material and push it out with minimal editing if that suits your content.
Our team included a producer who has a keen ear for soundscapes and comedy and was not from our discipline – thus we have a way to make sure the content is understandable to a novice and interesting to experts. Because we have a clear idea of what our personality is our podcast will have a recognisable feel to the audience.
Record your material.
Podcasts can be recorded in person, but we find it easier to use a remote podcast recording platform. As it takes a long time to edit our podcasts, we explain this to the interviewees. It is important that they are aware of how long it will take to publish and why.
A free programme. You can ask your guests to record their side of the interview on this, but some may not be able to download it or might prefer not to. A track recorded on their smart phone can be good enough, but they will need to transfer it to you.
- Riverside.fm or Squadcast.
Online subscription platforms. Allow you to record each person as a separate stream, edit the final product and produce SRT transcripts to use with your published video or audio. They can also send your episode to a publishing site. The more you want to do the more you need to pay.
- Record your audio as a wav file. An MP3 is a compressed file and is lower quality.
- Remember to turn off anything that might create a sound alert e.g. computer programmes, dogs, or children.
Mixing up recording styles can make your finished product more interesting – think about those podcasts where they have a bit of an interview conducted out of doors, or over the phone. However, recording in different environments requires additional editing software and skills to make sure you don’t have annoying changes in volume or dominating environmental sounds.
Add the extras and publish.
- Create a short episode descriptor for the podcast publishing site
- Upload to a publishing site like Podbean
- Decide which podcast providers you want to use (Apple and Spotify are the top sites with listeners now).
- Push the podcast out to providers.
To do this you need to submit a complete episode to those publishers for approval, which takes a couple of days.
- Generate an embed code from Podbean to embed the podcast in your virtual learning environment or in our case research website.
- Add a blog
We include longer episode descriptors on a blog site to allow students to search for the content they are interested in.
To keep track of all of this and to ensure our podcast personality is well developed and not straying, we meet and have regular planning meetings.
Market your podcast
- Create social media accounts.
Social media accounts are only as good as your publishing habits. Factor in sharing responsibility for regular posting and keeping an eye on comments.
Think about following other podcast creators for hints and tips and to get yourselves known.
- Ask people who like your podcast to subscribe – no subscribers = no presence.
Evaluate your podcast
Think about evaluating quality, accessibility, engagement, interest, and ideas for development. We track the analytics on podbean to look at subscribers and downloads. We have also chosen to do an international research project to evaluate our podcast and if you are a student nurse or educator who is interested in taking part, please contact us.
Podcast creation checklist:
- Check out the competition (via Podbay for example).
- Create a working group who are all committed for the long haul.
- Include students in your production team.
- Decide who your audience are and do some market research.
- Decide what your podcast is for – what outcome do you want?
- Create the personality of your podcast – how will listeners recognise your style?
- Learn how to edit – or find funding to pay an editor and/or producer.
- Plan your episodes.
- Create a central file store that the whole team can access e.g. SharePoint or Dropbox
- Record material and download as wav files.
- Use a programme like Audacity or your online podcast recording platform to edit.
- When you have a final episode create a transcript and an episode descriptor.
- Select a Podcast publishing site e.g. Podbean, and create your site.
- Add your podcast material (and if the facility exists create your transcript)
- Create ‘snips’ of your podcast to push onto social media to entice listeners.
- Link your podcast to Apple, Spotify, and other sites to improve the chances of it being found.
- Seek feedback and evaluate.
Once you have done all of that you can sit back, relax, listen, and enjoy! And let us know about your podcast so we can listen and subscribe too.
You can also access Evidence-Based Nursing podcasts.
Podbay. (2023). Dr Matt and Dr Mike’s medical podcast. https://podbay.fm/p/dr-matt-and-dr-mikes-medical-podcast/about