On the use of recoding technology in the writing center

iPods invade FU classrooms - News: "Last fall, Fairfield began to use iPods to record tutoring sessions in the Writing Center. Other professors simply wanted a way to create podcasts of their lectures to put on their Web sites."
Beth Boquet, Fairfield Writing Center director reported on this subject on WCENTER recently:
I really credit Vicki Russell and the folks at Duke for getting us thinking about this. They did a poster presentation at IWCA in Minneapolis last year, and our tech folks here at Fairfield have been terrific in helping us to launch the project in our Writing Center.

We have not yet sent recordings of sessions to students, though we did talk extensively in the discussion portion of the presentation about that being a natural next step. At this point, we are using it primarily for staff development--discourse analysis of segments of sessions.

I do think there are challenges...to forwarding files to students. Some of them are technical--the files are large. Sending the entire session is not manageable--student's mailboxes here couldn't handle them. And even if they could, it's unclear whether the kind of discourse recorded in a session--with all of the fits, starts, and circling back that makes conversation both interesting and surprisingly non-linear--would be useful for students as they revise. It would be overwhelming. Editing sessions down to something more manageable takes time and would involve the tutor making decisions about which segments would be most useful to students as they revise.

So, for now, we have not shared any recordings with students, but we have found the technology unobtrusive and very useful for staff development. (WCENTER posting via Michele Eodice, 28 September 2006)
My own College has recently started a learning project with Apple. I'm quite curious to use iPods in the Student Writing Center for both staff and student writer education purposes--if the ability to send the files to the student writer were simple. Somehow I think that is the greatest barrier.


  1. What kind of learning project have you & Apple been developing - are there any specifics you might be able to share? (Is it that you're finding ways of integrating those podcasts and iPods with sessions?)

    I just got a new iPod a few months ago... am I going to have to upgrade again? :-)

  2. From what I gather they are thinking about recording class sessions and making them available to students in the class. I think, however, there are many other possibilities for classroom use.

    Now as for WC use: I just don't know. I assume recording the sessions and then making those available to the writing advisor is one way (that is what they are doing at Fairfield.)

    I don't think any of this requires any different iPod technology than is currently available. From what I gather the recording is done on the computer and then pushed out to iPod listeners via RSS. This is what Garage Band does and how we're going to do the PeerCentered podcast.


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