Assessing podcasts

If you are including a podcast as an assignment in one of your courses (instead of a more traditional essay, for example), you may want to keep the following in mind – next to the demands you may have regarding content.

Intellectual honesty/transparency

  • Are citations or paraphrases of scholars referred to in the narrative clearly recognizable? Are their names and work clearly flagged?
  • Has a specific place been assigned to ‘literature consulted’? (Is the research used mentioned in the narration? Is there an accompanying document or website to acknowledge other people’s work)
  • Are other ‘voices’ properly acknowledged in the narrative: are interviewees identified clearly and correctly? How is their intellectual contribution to the narrative acknowledged by the ‘host’?

Sonic nature of the assignment

  • Does the narrative use the ‘sonic’ nature of podcasting to its advantage? (e.g. are there sound effects that support the narrative? are ambient sounds or music included in relevant ways? is sounding material analyzed?)
  • Does the ‘tone’ of the narrative match the goal and intended audience of the episode?
  • Are the language and pace of the narrative adapted to the oral nature of the assignment? (i.e. shorter sentences, clear structure and signposting, using pauses and prosody to ‘punctuate’)

Formal requirements

  • Is the episode within the limits of length you have set? (N.B. keep in mind that editing audio can be very time-consuming, especially if students are new to it. 10-15 minutes is pretty long already!)
  • Is the episode edited to smoothen out obvious hesitations or repetitions?
  • Does the narrative have a clear overall structure (beginning, middle, end)?
  • Is the audio audible, can voices be understood adequately? (N.B. most phones can now record voices reasonably well, but do not necessarily allow for ‘clean’ recordings. Unless you can provide students with a studio environment, sound quality will be limited)