Podcasting for Enhancing Student Experience

Associate Professor Bozhena (Bo) Kelestyn, an esteemed expert in design thinking, has established herself as a highly accomplished professional with a wealth of experience in teaching and consulting. Since joining Warwick as a staff member in 2018, Bo has made significant contributions to the field, particularly in the development and leadership of interdisciplinary modules centered around design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Recently, Bo Kelestyn delivered an inspiring talk titled “Podcasting for Engagement and Impact” at the Online Learning Summit hosted by The University of Leeds. This prestigious event serves as a platform for thought leaders and experts in online education to share their extensive knowledge and invaluable insights, making it an ideal stage for Bo to showcase her expertise.

Bo’s captivating talk revolved around harnessing the power of podcasting to enhance student engagement and create a meaningful impact in the online learning environment. With her innovative approach and deep understanding of effective educational practices, she captivated the audience, leaving them inspired and motivated.

In the realm of education, podcasting has emerged as a formidable medium, especially in the context of the transition to online teaching and learning. As educators strive to find innovative methods to engage students, cultivate skills, and broaden access to learning, podcasting offers a multitude of opportunities for growth and influence. During her session, Bo Kelestyn shared her experiences with podcasting, shedding light on its role in teaching, community building, and personal development. She delved into the insights gained and challenges faced, providing valuable tips and guidance for individuals contemplating their foray into the realm of podcasting.

Podcasting’s Rising Popularity

Bo began by acknowledging the widespread popularity of podcasts, with over 5 million podcasts currently available. As a self-taught podcaster, she embarked on her podcasting journey during the lockdown, which eventually became a vital part of her educational practice.

Podcasting as a Tool for Education

Bo revealed that her podcasting venture initially started as a module project, aiming to disrupt the traditional curriculum and introduce asynchronous learning opportunities. Through guest speakers, she sought to democratise innovation and leverage her network to bring diverse voices to the forefront. The result was a series of nine episodes spanning a 10-week module, helping to change students’ mindsets and encourage active engagement.

Community Building and Engagement

Bo emphasised the power of podcasting in fostering a sense of community. She shared her experience with “Pathways – Warwick Chemistry Podcast,” a podcast co-created and co-hosted with students. This initiative played a crucial role in building a welcoming and inclusive environment for students, as echoed in a student quote praising the podcast’s impact on the community. It also contributed to post-pandemic engagement, identity formation, and recruitment efforts.

Promoting Profile and Collaboration

Bo highlighted the significance of podcasting in promoting her own profile and expanding professional networks. She cited her participation in the “Advance HE limited series on design thinking,” which gained considerable traction with 553 listens within a month. Relaunching the podcast as “Student Experience by Design” further boosted its popularity, attracting 100 listens within a week. Notably, Season 1, Episode 5 featuring Prof. Jeff Grabill received significant attention.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

While podcasting offers immense potential, Bo candidly discussed the challenges she encountered along the way. Time management, consistency, acquiring necessary skills, and investing in equipment and software were among the hurdles faced. Vulnerability in sharing personal experiences and the need for student voice also posed challenges. Bo emphasised the importance of focusing on the “why” rather than getting lost in the technicalities of podcast production.

Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Collaboration

To overcome challenges, Bo emphasised the significance of finding time for editing and ensuring portability of podcast episodes. Additionally, she recognised the importance of fostering an environment where students feel safe and empowered to share their voices. Bo Kelestyn’s insights shed light on the transformative power of podcasting in education. From amplifying diverse voices and building communities to promoting personal growth and collaboration, podcasts offer a unique medium for engaging learners. As educators explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning, podcasting presents an exciting avenue worth exploring. By embracing the “why” and leveraging available tools, we can unlock the full potential of podcasting and create impactful educational experiences.