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Student-Created Podcasts in the Engineering Communication Classroom

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2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting


California State University, Los Angeles , California

Publication Date

April 4, 2019

Start Date

April 4, 2019

End Date

April 6, 2019

Conference Session

PSW Section Meeting Papers - Disregard start and end time - for online paper access only

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Pacific Southwest Section Meeting Paper Submissions

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Paper Authors


Harly Ramsey University of Southern California

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I teach Advanced Engineering Communication to upper division engineering students at the University of Southern California.

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Student-Created Podcasts in the Engineering Communication Classroom”

This paper is grounded in the author’s implementation of a team assignment to create a podcast about a topic related to one of the Grand Challenges of Engineering. Pocket technology (smartphone recorders and apps), the interdisciplinary nature of the Grand Challenges, and the collaborative aspect of the assignment all contributed to an inclusive and engaged learning experience. The paper addresses both pedagogical and practical aspects of the assignment and presents learning objectives and assessments.

In most early research on the use of podcasts in advanced education, students are consumers of podcasts that are often recorded lectures. However, recent scholarship analyzes the educational value of student-generated podcasts and this paper contributes to that emerging effort. Recent research on student-generated podcasts is reviewed, and the intended learning objectives and outcomes reported in these studies are presented. Significant variables are noted, such as the course content (ranging from business and literature to computer science and engineering), the level of technology adopted and technical assistance provided, whether students created podcasts individually or in teams, the methods and metrics of assessment, and the final range of assessments from mixed to positive.

Context is provided for the author’s implementation of the assignment. The assignment was inspired by an activity at the 2017 Grand Challenges Summit Student Workshop, which tasked teams of students to create podcasts for judging by a panel of experts. For the author’s assignment, student teams researched a chosen aspect of a Grand Challenge; they collaborated to ensure a cohesive vision for the podcast; they prepared questions and recorded interviews with guests; they assembled their individual segments into a cogent structure depending upon the podcast genre selected by the team (either “narrative” or “chat show” according to genre analysis put forth by Christopher Drew). Practical aspects of the assignment are discussed, including the usage of smartphone technology to record, edit, and produce the podcasts. This “pocket technology” was central to the vision of the assignment in terms of its inclusivity and engagement, and student assessment of this is presented.

The paper concludes by analyzing learning outcomes of the assignment and suggesting potential for future research. The learning outcomes assessed included the abilities to: 1) communicate with rhetorical awareness to a multifaceted academic, public, and professional audience (modeled upon the Student Summit podcasts); 2) demonstrate upper-division level research abilities, including interviewing skills; 3) identify and analyze pressing ethical issues within their discipline; 4) prepare and give professional oral presentations; 5) articulate the impact their discipline has on everyday life; and 6) work collaboratively to research, write, and present information and ideas. The paper provides student assessment of the learning experience and the produced podcast as well as instructor assessment of the podcasts. Finally, additional research is recommended with a larger sample size, multiple classes, and multiple instructors.

Ramsey, H. (2019, April), Student-Created Podcasts in the Engineering Communication Classroom Paper presented at 2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, California State University, Los Angeles , California. 10.18260/1-2--31843

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