MDSC 100 podcast assignment (2008)


For this assignment, you will work in a group of three to create an enhanced podcast. Composing and analyzing our own podcasts is one of the foundational projects of Introduction to Media and Society.  This project has several components, including: following news stories, learning research methods, learning software, writing storyboards, creating enhanced podcasts, and assessing each other’s podcasts.

We will present a series of enhanced podcasts organized around major topic areas traditionally covered by newspapers: Sports, Health, Opinion, International, Local, Entertainment, Technology, and Politics.

Because this is a class whose goals include the analysis of mass media within theoretical, cultural, and historical contexts, we will not be creating podcasts that simply report on the news.  We will follow news stories on our topic and assess, interpret, and analyze the way that the story is presented in the media.

what is a podcast?

“The best way to understand podcasting is to imagine a merger between blogging (regularly posted articles of news, insight, fun, gripes, literature, and more) and radio (an established broadcasting medium that people have listened to for news and entertainment for generations).      Podcasting is essentially radio programming that can be produced with a standard computer, microphone, free software, and a web site for posting your programming. Podcasting can be listened to with any computer connected to the Internet and able to play standard MP3 audio files.” (  Enhanced podcasts include a slide show of images with voice over commentary.

groups, topics, and the wiki:

You will work with a group of two other students to determine a podcast subject before the library research session.  Your group will have a wiki space available on the course Blackboard site.  You will use this wiki space to store images and text for your podcast.  Remember: always save citation information for images and text.  You are responsible for citing all images and text that you use, so be sure to save the citation information along with your images and text.

library research session:

During this session, you will meet with members of the library staff for instruction in searching for text and images appropriate for your podcast.  The session will cover: information in general, news headlines, organizational tools, copyright, and finding images.  During the session, you will work with your group to find a quote about your topic that you will use as a voice over for your 15 second preliminary podcast.  You will also search for and upload to your wiki 20-30 images for your preliminary podcast.

garageband tutorial:

During this session, you will meet with members of the instructional technology staff for instruction in using the podcasting software, a program called Garageband. The session will cover: storyboarding, the interface, setting voice levels and using microphones, importing images and aligning to sound, making chapter markers, editing sound tracks and adding music, working with track levels, and exporting. During the lab session, you will use the images and text that you collected during the library research session to create a 15 second preliminary podcast using the Garageband software. A copy of the presentation as well as blank storyboard sheets and helpful pointers will be available on your course Blackboard site.

meeting with tech fellow:

During the week before your podcast is due, you will meet with a student tech fellow for assistance with the completion of your podcast.  You are responsible for setting up this appointment via XX and for attending the meeting. The tech fellow is your peer, and they have generously offered to share their expertise with you.  Please do not disrespect their time or resources. They do not grade you, but we have asked them to note whether or not you show up for your appointment, and whether or not you were prepared. When you arrive at this session, you need to have your script, your storyboard, and a rough cut of your podcast completed before this meeting, so the tech fellow can help you to fine tune the podcast, to add professional finishing touches, and to help you through the process of exporting and posting your completed podcast.

turning in your completed podcast:

You will turn in your completed podcast by noon on the day before the podcast is due in class.  To turn in the podcast, you need to upload the podcast to XX.

responding to other groups’ podcasts:

The final element of the assignment involves crafting a thoughtful and thorough response to your classmates’ podcasts. The podcasts will be assessed according to a grading rubric that was developed by previous Intro to Media and Society students.  The areas assessed include: depth of analysis, thoroughness of content coverage, audio elements, narrative voice, editing and pacing, entertainment factor, visual style, and overall creativity.

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