The word podcasting, coined by journalist Ben Hammersley in 2004, is “a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting.” In recent years, podcasts have amassed huge audiences: in 2019, 26% of Canadian adults listened to podcasts on a monthly basis. Podcasts have diverse aims: some are created purely for entertainment, some for public education, and some for scholarship dissemination.
Scholars and academic institutions use podcasts in various ways, including:
- As pedagogical tools: Many studies have shown the efficacy of academic podcasts in a learning environment. Many students learn better when podcasts are incorporated into their learning, alongside traditional methods like lectures and textbook readings.
- As research promotion: Many universities create podcasts that showcase the research of their faculty members. The “Ways of Knowing” podcast produced by UBC’s Peter Wall Institute is one example. Scholars themselves often appear on and host podcasts outside of their universities. The New Books Network, for example, publishes thirty-five podcasts every week in which scholars talk about their new publications.
- As knowledge dissemination: Due to their wide appeal, engaging nature, accessibility, and discoverability, many public institutions have embraced podcasts as useful tools for public education and knowledge dissemination. For example, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has produced wildly popular podcasts about Australian history like “Shooting the Past,” “Tales from Rat City,” and “The History Listen,” and the British Museum produces its own podcast.
- As scholarship: Recently, a new body of research has focused on podcasts themselves as a scholarly medium, a legitimate alternative to academic articles or monographs for presenting original research. This has produced debates about who and what defines scholarship, and why the academy resists expanding its notion of scholarly media. Starting in 2018, the Wilfrid Laurier University Press collaborated with SFU Publishing Professor Hannah McGregor to further explore these issues. Their collaboration produced the first-ever peer-reviewed podcast series, “Secret Feminist Agenda.”
Of course, these four aims are often complementary. A podcast produced by a public broadcaster can be used in a classroom setting, and podcasts that present scholarship often appeal to much wider audiences than traditional academic articles.
BC Studies’ Scholarly Podcast program aims to publish podcasts as scholarship, while making them accessible and engaging to public audiences. See the Submissions Guidelines and Audio Submissions Peer-Review Guidelines pages for more information.
Avila, Ernie C. and Mary Kris S. Lavadia. “Investigation of the Acceptability and Effectiveness of Academic Podcasts to College Students’ Scholastic Performance in Science.” Indian Journal of Science and Technology 12, no. 34 (September 2019): 1-8.
Cuffe, Honae H. “Lend me your ears: the rise of the history podcast in Australia.” History Australia 16, no. 3 (2019): 553-569.
Dreasler, Quinn Elizabeth. “Tiny Robots in Our Pockets: A Critical Exploration of Podcasts.” M.A. Thesis, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2015.
Eckstein, Justin. “Sound Reason: Radiolab and the Micropolitics of Podcasting.” Ph.D. University of Denver. Doctoral Thesis, 2013.https://digitalcommons.du.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1175&context=etd
Hilmes, Michele and Lia Lindgren. “Podcast Review and Criticism: A Forum.” Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media 14 (1): 83-89.
Krause, Steven D. “Broadcast Composition: Using Audio Files and Podcasts in an Online Writing Course.” Web page. Accessed June 23, 2020. http://cconlinejournal.org/krause1/
Lambke, Abigail. “Arranging Delivery, Delivering Arrangements: An Ecological Sonic Rhetoric of Podcasting.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 23, no. 2 (Spring 2019). Retrieved May 23, 2020. http://technorhetoric.net/23.2/topoi/lambke/
Leggo, Carl, Anthony Paré, and Ted Riecken. “Peer-Reviewer Round Table Response to Ted Riecken’s Scholarly Podcast, ‘Mapping the Fit Between Research and Multimedia: A Podcast Exploration of the Place of Multimedia Within / as Scholarship.’” McGill Journal of Education 49, 3 (Fall 2014): 717-730.
McGregor, Hannah. “Why Podcasting?” Amplify Podcast Network. Published May 28, 2020. https://amplifypodcastnetwork.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/why-podcasting/
McGregor, Hannah. “What’s A Podcast?” Amplify Podcast Network. Published May 28, 2020. https://amplifypodcastnetwork.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/example-post-3/
Mollett, Amy, and Cheryl Brumley. “Three Ways Podcasts Can Make You a More Engaged Academic.” September 30, 2014. LSE Blogs. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/09/30/podcasting-engaged-academic/
Salmons, Janet. “Research and Academic Podcasting.” MethodSpace. 2018. https://www.methodspace.com/research-and-academic-podcasting/
Samson, Natalie. “An Academic’s Podcast gets the Peer-Review Treatment.” University Affairs. December 5, 2018. https://www.universityaffairs.ca/news/news-article/an- academics-podcast-gets-the-peer-review-treatment/
Vasquez, Vivian Maria. “Podcasting as Transformative Work” Theory into Practice 54, no. 2 (2015): 147-153.
Wrather, Kyle. 2016. “Making ‘Maximum Fun’ for Fans: Examining Podcast Listener Participation Online.” Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media 14 (1): 43–63. https://doi.org/10.1386/rjao.14.1.43_1.
Online Resources for Podcasts Creators:
- SpokenWeb Podcast Resources: Click Here
- UBC Public Humanities Hub Podcast Toolkit: Click Here
- Make Radio – This American Life: Click Here
- Rampelt, Carina. “A Beginner’s Guide to Academic Podcasting.” Global Academy Jobs. Accessed June 20, 2020.
- Brumley, Cheryl. “The Simple Guide to Academic Podcasting: Know Your Audience and Your Schedule.” LSE Blogs. Published February 10th, 2013.
- Brumley, Cheryl. “The Simple Guide to Academic Podcasting: Microphones and Recorders.” LSE Blogs. Published February 21st, 2013.
- Brumley, Cheryl. “The Simple Guide to Academic Podcasting: Post-Production and Audio Platforms.” LSE Blogs. Published February 24th, 2013.
Ben Hammersley. “Audible Revolution.” The Guardian. 12 Feb, 2004. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/feb/12/broadcasting.digitalmedia
 Hannah McGregor, “What’s A Podcast?” Amplify Podcast Network. Published May 28, 2020. https://amplifypodcastnetwork.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/example-post-3/
 The Canadian Podcast Listener Report: https://www.canadianpodcastlistener.ca/spring-2020-update; “Research: The Canadian Podcast Audience.” The Podcast Exchange. https://www.thepodcastexchange.ca/research; “Audio & Podcasting Factsheet.” Pew Research Center: Journalism and Media. July 9, 2019. https://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/audio-and-podcasting/
 Ernie C. Avila and Mary Kris S. Lavadia. “Investigation of the Acceptability and Effectiveness of Academic Podcasts to College Students’ Scholastic Performance in Science.” Indian Journal of Science and Technology 12, no. 34 (September 2019): 1-8; Justin Berk, Shreya P. Trivedi, Matthew Watto, Paul Williams, and Robert Centor. “Medical Education Podcasts: Where We Are and Questions Unanswered.” Journal of General Internal Medicine (January 2020); Doris U. Bolliger, Supawan Supanakorn, and Christine Boggs. “Impact of Podcasting
on Student Motivation in the Online Learning Environment.” Computers &
Education 55.2 (2010): 714-22. Elsevier. Web. 12 Nov. 2014; Simon B. Heilesen, “What Is the Academic Efficacy of Podcasting?” Computers & Education 55.3 (2010): 1063-068.
 Honae H. Cuffe. “Lend me your ears: the rise of the history podcast in Australia.” History Australia 16, no. 3 (2019): 553-569.
 J.P. Alperin, Muñoz Nieves, C., Schimanski, L., Fischman, G.E., Niles, M.T. & McKiernan, E.C. “How Significant Are the Public Dimensions of Faculty Work in Review, Promotion, and Tenure Documents?” Humanities Commons [preprint] (2015).