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6 – Podcasting and Public Scholarship Pedagogy


Julian Barr, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


Podcasting has become a popular medium with shows covering politics, film and television, science, and various other wide ranging topics. In Autumn 2019, I taught for an Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) course (ENGL 298), linked with Geographies of Environmental Justice, where students were asked to produce a podcast episode as their primary scaffolded writing project.

The project was connected to several learning outcomes of the course including:

  1. Write clearly and concisely about complex issues while considering a public audience,
  2. Productively work in groups and be able to co-write and edit in a collaborative format, and
  3. Understand and put into practice the basic skills of writing, recording, editing, and producing a podcast episode. The students were given an extensive amount of freedom around the podcast but were given specific parameters and goals.

The project was a group project, so students were required to work collaboratively, the topic had to be within the geographies of environmental justice, and the students were required to consider a public audience when writing the podcast script. Within the literature we find work both arguing for and against podcasting as pedagogy, but this project particularly used the work of Christian Smith (2019) which was featured in Next steps : new directions for/in writing about writing.

This presentation will discuss the pedagogical process of this project, my own reflections of the success of this course and its connection to critical pedagogy and discuss the reactions and reflections from the students themselves. It will also include data from student evaluations on the project and discuss how the learning outcomes were achieved. This presentation will hopefully inspire others to consider podcasting as method of assessment and also consider public scholarship as a genre of writing in courses.

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