Podcasting plays an instrumental role in realising Oxford’s strategic objective to develop globally available teaching resources and collections for learners everywhere.
The University is one of the largest producers of academic podcasts in the UK. Launched in October 2008, our iTunes U site goes from strength to strength. It has made available over 6,400 podcast items, comprising over 5,500 hours of material from 4,000 academic speakers and contributors. The site has a worldwide audience of 185 countries, with 31% of users from the USA, 17% from the UK and 7% from China. Now, as it approaches its sixth anniversary, iTunes U can celebrate a remarkable landmark: more than 22.5 million downloads so far.
Since autumn 2013 we have been partnering with the Times Educational Supplement (TES) to make selected podcasts available to schools as resources for their teaching, via the TES Connect portal. Colleagues across the university have now contributed 228 resources, which have been viewed more than 50,000 times by teachers all over the world.
This year’s OxTALENT awards for academic podcasting go to two colleagues in the Department of Physics, whose resources have been the stars of our partnership with TES.
Sian Owen: Physics Flash Talks
Sian, the department’s Access Officer, works with graduate research students to develop their communication skills. She encourages them to present 10-minute, TED-style talks in front of a live audience, preferably with interesting props to bring the talks to life. The sessions, which are open to the public, constitute a showcase of physics research at Oxford and include topics such as climate change, exoplanets, magnetism, the Higgs boson, and quantum computers. The talks are are live streamed over the internet, and subsequently are released as podcasts under the series title Physics Flash Talks.
Sian also gave a talk in our Engage: Social Media Michaelmas series in 2013.
Dr. Robert Simpson: Stargazing
A postdoctoral researcher, Robert is one of the organisers of the live Stargazing events. These highly successful annual outreach events bring over 1,000 members of the public, including many families, into the Astrophysics department to get a glimpse of life as an astrophysicist. Robert has helped IT Services’ podcasting team to film all the talks at the last three Stargazing events, which means that we now have a total of 33 talks in the Stargazing series, with titles ranging from ‘A History of the Universe in 12 Minutes’ to ‘Galaxies as a Plate of Fruit.’