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Podcasting The “Introduction To Nuclear Power Systems" Course Lectures

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Curriculum Development and Delivery Modes in Nuclear Engineering

Tagged Division

Nuclear and Radiological

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1161.1 - 12.1161.10



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Paper Authors

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Kendra Foltz Biegalski University of Texas-Austin

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Steven Biegalski University of Texas-Austin


Paul Johnson University of Texas-Austin

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Mr. Paul Johnson is the Distance Learning Coordinator at the Faculty Innovation Center at The University of Texas at Austin. He specializes in the utilization of information technology for educational purposes. Mr. Johnson has designed distance learning classrooms and manages the technology for distance learning education with the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Sean O'Kelly University of Texas-Austin

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Mr. Sean O’Kelly is the Associate Director of the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin. He specializes in reactor operations, nuclear instrumentation, and nuclear criticality calculations. He has helped instruct multiple undergraduate and graduate courses at The University of Texas at Austin with a special emphasis on the courses with laboratories at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Experiment with Podcasting the Introduction to Nuclear Power Systems Course Lectures


The ME 337C Introduction to Nuclear Power Systems course is offered every Fall Semester at The University of Texas at Austin. This course is an introduction to nuclear engineering and covers topics ranging from nuclear cross-sections to the diffusion equation. All lectures for this course are digitally recorded and available on the course web site for viewing. A few students participate in this course each year via distance learning.

As part of this course, an experiment was conducted to investigate the utility of podcasting lectures. Since the lectures for this course are already digitally recorded, it was a simple effort to convert the video files to a format suitable for podcasting. The podcasting files were placed on the course website for download by the students in the course. The students in the course could use their own portable media player (i.e., an Apple iPod), or sign one out from the course instructor. Students viewed lectures via podcast and then filled out an on-line survey. The results of this survey are presented and discussed within this paper.


ME 337C, Introduction to Nuclear Power Systems, is an undergraduate technical elective offered at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) every Fall semester. It is based on the Introduction to Nuclear Engineering textbook by J. Lamarsh.1 The course starts out with an introduction to nuclear reactions, and includes such topics as Q values, number densities, cross-sections, and reaction rates. The course then covers the creation of power by nuclear reactions and then focuses on solving the diffusion equation with different geometries and boundary conditions. ME 337C is a pre-requisite for the Reactor Theory I course.

As with all of the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program courses, ME 337C is digitally broadcast and recorded for viewing by distance learning students. There are currently ten such students in the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program who depend on this technology for content delivery, with one registered in the Fall 2006 ME 337C class.

An experiment was conducted as part of the 2006 Fall semester ME 337C course to introduce podcasting for viewing a single lecture within the course. Onsite students first attended the lecture and then were asked to view it with a portable media player (PMP). The single offsite student was asked to review the podcast lecture after viewing the live webcast from a PC. The students were allowed to download the lecture to their own PMP, or they could sign out an Apple iPod from the course instructor for use. They then filled out an online survey to provide an indication of the ease and usefulness of this new technology for viewing the ME337C lecture. Survey on the Spot software, developed and made available by the UT College of Engineering, was used to design, collect, and report the podcasting survey. Additionally, the students took the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire online test to determine their learning styles.2 This test is offered by North Carolina State University at and

Foltz Biegalski, K., & Biegalski, S., & Johnson, P., & O'Kelly, S. (2007, June), Podcasting The “Introduction To Nuclear Power Systems" Course Lectures Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1902

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