April 3, 2006
This semester, students in my New Media Studies course produced podcasts. Their assignment was to create a story on some aspect of their interaction with new media and contemporary communication technologies. The resulting podcasts are available on the Digital Life website. I’m pretty pleased with the results. Students covered topics ranging from music downloading, to creating an online radio show, to instant messaging, to MySpace, to World of Warcraft, to online poker, to Deviant Art, and other online manifestations of Indy Culture. In preparing for the assignment, we listened both to popular podcasts and more importantly, to well-produced NPR shows such as This American Life. Some of the better-produced podcasts borrow techniques, such as using appropriate sound effects, editing together choice bits of several interviews, creating an overall narrative arc, and integrating musical interludes, from those NPR-style talk shows. Overall I’m satisfied with their work, and with the assignment. It has both enabled them to see the relative ease with which some kinds of new media artifacts can be produced, and offers a format that really allows their individual (Jersey) personalities to shine through.