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The Role of Podcasts

OLLI Member Jane Kretzmann Records her Podcast

OLLI Member Jane Kretzmann Records her Podcast

As more and more teaching, learning and sharing is making its way into the online world, how can Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes use this technology to their advantage?  What can they offer in the form of online learning such as podcasts that will enhance their members’ experiences and benefits?

A podcast is an audio file that is uploaded to the internet and can be played from almost any device, as long as you have speakers and some sort of media player such as an iPod, computer with Windows Media Player, Apple iTunes, etc..  Podcasts can be especially beneficial for place-bound students who may not be able to leave their homes on a frequent basis to attend classes in person.  Another advantage of podcasts for users is that they are typically a series, and once you subscribe, they are sent directly to you, you don’t have to go searching on the Internet for them.

Many Osher Institutes have already delved into the creation of podcasts that are available both publicly and as private libraries for members.  OLLI at CSU Monterey has used podcasts in the form of a Writers Circle where members share their compelling backstories via interviews.  The facilitator of this course, Elin Kelsey, PhD explains, “What I love about the Writing Circle is that each week we walk into an ordinary room and suddenly, it is transformed into a place so rich with ideas and emotions and community, that I literally feel like I’ve been traveling when the time comes to a close. This podcast has that same feeling. We walk into a darkened room and what emerges is a gift of thoughtful perspectives wrapped in an exquisite package.”

The OLLI at University of California San Diego is using podcasts a bit differently. “We’re recording two classes a day, 10 classes a week, and making them available via the Internet,” OLLI Officer, Stanley Faer explained. For the first time, the institute is allowing non-members—anyone from the public—to get a glimpse of its extraordinary education opportunities. The benefits of podcasting are broad – reach members who may live too far away to always attend live classes, creating a reference tool for members to go back to their favorite topics and be able to listen again, attract new members with examples of classes offered.

Has your OLLI published any podcasts?  Let us know so we can share and learn from one another.  Email oshernrc@northwestern.edu with the details.

See below for examples of Osher Institute podcasts:

OLLI at California State University Monterey

Writers Circle: https://soundcloud.com/ritersircleodcast

OLLI at George Mason University

Fairfax 50+ with Jennifer Disano: http://olli.gmu.edu/fairfax-50-podcast-with-jennifer-disano-click-here-for-link/

OLLI at University of California San Francisco

Medical Series: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/osher-lifelong-learning-at/id256506479?mt=2

OLLI at University of Missouri

The Events in Ferguson, Missouri – implications for communities and strategies for a better future: http://extension.missouri.edu/learnforlife/podcasts.aspx

OLLI at University of California San Diego

Full library of OLLI Courses: http://olli.ucsd.edu/documents/OsherVideoLibrary.pdf?09-Jul-15

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