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Best Practices

Podcasting Part 1: What is it, and Why Consider it as an Academic or Research Tool?

Is it possible to utilize the podcast medium for academic purposes? Absolutely yes! In so many ways! In a series of posts on the Social Mediums blog this year, I plan to explore different questions and perspectives on podcasting in academia, and how the podcast medium can connect with online communities and public research. To start our exploration, today’s post is an introduction to the concept of podcasting and provides some initial ideas to consider when thinking through ways that podcasts can enhance our work as researchers, academics, and teachers.

The Oxford English Dictionary described the word “podcast” as “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” Like an on-demand radio channel dedicated to specific topics, podcasts have reinvigorated the medium of audio storytelling in the Internet age. The length of podcast episodes differs from one “show” to the next, though somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes tends to be where the majority of podcast episodes fall.

Utilizing the podcast as an updated version of the 1940s radio drama is the way in which many success podcasts have gained popularity – from Serial to The Nerdist, to Freakonomics Radio (all listed amongst the most popular podcasts by listenership numbers in 2015), entertaining audio storytelling is cited as a crucial element in the “podcast renaissance” over the past several years. People tend to listen to podcasts in places or situations they might also listen to music – while exercising, doing the dishes, on road trips, commuting, walking the dog, etc.

Having been heavily involved in podcasting for the Lecture and Community Engagement Department of The Metropolitan Opera Guild (I produce and host The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast as part of my work with the organization), I have longed believed that podcasts are a fantastic medium and platform to consider integrating into academic research and work, and could be an exciting platform for an academic institution to support. While academic podcasts may not garner subscriber numbers in the millions, they can be a way to foster community, dialogue, and collaboration between researchers in an online space while also producing content that is pedagogically valuable and digitally far-reaching.

As Kathryn Linder wrote in an interview about her work in academically oriented podcasting, working on her Research in Action podcast has created networking opportunities with other scholars in her field that otherwise would not have happened. She states: “A main benefit of hosting Research in Action is that I have a reason to cold-email pretty much any researcher, no matter how famous, and ask them to chat with me for 60 minutes…The show has also allowed me to build my own professional network of researcher contacts that I can reach out to if I have a question, [or] want to collaborate on a project.”

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Tutorial

Using SCOPUS Alerts with Social Media Campaigns on Academic Research

Keeping up to date with advances in your chosen field and of those of the faculty and students in your department is now much easier due to the availability of email alerts and RSS feeds provided by many databases. In this post, we discuss how to use Scopus Alerts to keep current with new publications, which you may use to share on social media platforms. It is a follow-up to our previous post on the topic: using Google Scholar Alerts to collect content for sharing. — Social Mediums

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Tutorial

How to Use Adobe Acrobat Pro Remotely

Adobe Acrobat Pro is an invaluable program for any graduate student.  The ability to merge multiple PDFs into one, make the text in a PDF “recognizable” so you can copy/paste it to another doc, or sign a document digitally are just a few of the useful tools that Adobe Pro provides.

You probably know that Adobe Pro is installed on all of the Graduate Center computers, but did you know that you can access Adobe Pro edition remotely from any computer in the world?   Furthermore, you can link your DropBox, Sharepoint, Box, or OneDrive account to the remote Adobe Acrobat Pro program to easily work with your PDFs saved in the cloud.  This blogpost will provide some basic instructions for accessing Adobe Pro remotely and linking it to your online storage system.

Categories
Tutorial

Site Analytics: Measuring How People Use Your Site (Part II)

In this post, the second in a series, we discuss some of the most useful numbers that can be gleaned from Google Analytics and Jetpack (see Part I here). Use these statistics to to determine how people are using your Commons site, make it more user friendly, and encourage folks to interact with your site in ways that facilitate your site’s purpose.

Categories
Tutorial

Live Tweeting Academic Events: After the Event and Additional Resources (Part III)

Live tweeting is a way to encourage event participants to engage in discussions beyond the event space and to share their ideas broadly on their social networks. In this post, the last in a series about live tweeting, we discuss what to do with your tweets after an event and identify some resources for more tips and tricks for live tweeting an event without a hitch.