New Course Will Give Students Hands-On Lessons For Making A High-Quality Podcast

Monday, December 4, 2017 - by Shawn Ryan, UTC
Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC-FM 88.1, is the instructor for the Comm 4000: Podcasting class
Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC-FM 88.1, is the instructor for the Comm 4000: Podcasting class

Millions of people have listened to podcasts over the last decade, but how many actually know how to make one? 

A new class will help UTC students learn. 

In the spring, Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC-FM 88.1, is teaching an innovative podcasting class for the Department of Communication. 

Podcasts have been around for more than a decade and 24 percent of Americans age 12 or older now listen to them monthly. But they weren’t commonplace until advancements in mobile technology made it possible to listen to them on smartphones. 

“Podcasting is new media and all new media takes a few years to catch on, but now artists, business professionals, educators, and advertisers are clamoring to create podcasts,” says Mr. Davis, an award-winning radio producer who has been interested in podcasting since it first appeared. 

The course— Comm 4000: Podcasting—covers the technological aspects of podcasting, but it also gives students hands-on experience through audio storytelling. Based on their personal interests and career goals, students will be matched with community nonprofits, then file stories on the organization through podcasts. 

“The best way to show the value of a group is to tell the stories of its people,” says Mr. Davis. “I want the students’ expectations to be both met and challenged by their experiences out in the field.” 

Mr. Davis’ podcasting class has been selected as a one of UTC’s Beyond the Classroom Experiential Learning Course. 

“This class is a great example of theory meeting practice,” says Experiential Learning Coordinator Bengt Carlson. “Professor Davis has prepared and planned out intentional reflections to connect the ideas of communication to authentic learning experiences for students, and the Experiential Learning Task Force looks forward to hearing how the class benefits the community, as well.” 

Students also will develop a series of podcasts that focus on different aspects of a specific subject, a key element to generate interest among listeners. 

“A common pitfall of podcasters is the failure to maintain quality across multiple episodes, so we’ll take a segmented approach to storytelling,” Mr. Davis says. “The student podcasters will create several episodes; each must stand alone yet advance a greater narrative.” 

Being able to create podcasts is not a skill reserved only for communication students, Mr. Davis says. Students in engineering or business or nursing or any variety of majors can benefit from knowing how to create compelling podcasts. 

“New media storytelling is a 21st-century skill that every creative and skilled professional should have regardless of their job,” he says. “To succeed today, you have to tell the story of what you do and make people want that to be a part of their story.”

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