2019 FACET Innovate Awards (Collaborative Activities)  – Podcasting and the Public Voice

2019 FACET Innovate Awards (Collaborative Activities) – Podcasting and the Public Voice

Hello everyone, welcome to this episode
of the 2019 FACET Innovate awards. I’ll be your host today, Chera LaForge,
Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University East. On today’s
show we’re talking about podcasting and the public voice. “Hey there, it’s the NPR
politics podcast, I’m Tamara Keith, I cover the White House. I’m Mara Liasson,
national political correspondent. Hello and welcome to the 538 Politics podcast,
I’m Galen Druke.” With the widespread success of shows like Serial and the West
Wing Weekly, podcasts are having a moment! Now, many mainstream media sources are getting in on the action with political podcasts of their own. After being a
consumer of the political podcasting world, I decided this could be a perfect
assignment for my Fall 2016 Campaigns and Elections course, where I required
students to produce three collaborative podcasts. The first had them look at the
vice presidential selections, the second at the media strategies of the
candidates, and the third was a post-election recap. Outside of a desire
to be more creative and authentic with my assignments, the assignments and
podcasts also tied closely with course learning outcomes; the first of which was
that students had to evaluate the political strategies, ideas, and claims
made by candidates. Of course, this required them to blend what they learned
in the academic world with what was happening on the ground in the political
campaigns in 2016. Second, I wanted students to demonstrate the importance
of civic responsibility and engagement by closely following local, state, and
national elections in that election cycle. This builds upon an idea of the
public voice, which was put forward by Howard Rheingold
and he argues that the use of participatory media can help students
develop a public-facing and more active voice in how they engage with the
political world. Collaboration was woven throughout the assignment, not just in
the final product or podcast that were produced. Groups began by brainstorming the purpose of their podcast, as well as the desired audience.
They also collaboratively worked on developing a script or outline
for each episode. And they, of course, produced a collaborative discussion at
the end of the day with each podcast requiring them to communicate with each
other about the topic often in a question-and-answer format. Of course,
they weren’t allowed to resort to things like anger, name-calling, or a general
retreat from the conversation, which you might remember was kind of a problem in
the 2016 election. Students initially expressed reticence about having to record a podcast, however, the results were pretty incredible and the final products
were both sophisticated and creative. One group developed their own production
company and actually created their own theme music for their podcasts. But all
groups used things like enhancements, things like clips and
quotes from the actual candidates, that were blended seamlessly into
the podcast. Let’s listen in on one group’s podcast to hear what I mean.
“Basically does it really matter who the presidential nominee chooses for their
vice president, is it really making it as big of an impact as we as voters think?
Actually, statistically, no, it doesn’t. Which is surprising? It is right such a
big deal. Yeah, the Vice President nomination is huge.”
The more casual and conversational style worked for my students and I urged them
to not feel too hung up on having slight hiccups in the conversation. This allowed
them to have an ease with the political world and also to feel more confident in
their own public voice. As a really positive side effect, as the podcasting
assignments continued throughout the semester, I noticed that the quality of
the class conversation also improved as students were clearly more engaged with
the topic, but also more confident in speaking out and adding their own
analysis to the campaigns. While I used this assignment in a political science
course, it could be used anywhere! Just take a brief look at any of the podcast
rankings and you’ll see that there is every topic under the sun used–from
science and technology, music and movies, psychology and
sociology. Anytime that collaboration and communication, and perhaps the public
voice, is a prized part of your class, podcasts could be an answer for what kind of assignment that you use that semester. Well, thank you for tuning in today,
I’m Chera LaForge, Associate Professor of Political Science and this has been
‘Podcasting and the Public Voice’, an episode of the 2019 FACET Innovate
Awards podcast. Thank you!

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