The COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down, including teaching Multimedia Journalism students.
I remember early on, when face-to-face teaching abruptly ceased, trying to deliver a podcasting session for the Sustainable Fashion project – a link up between Manchester Metropolitan University and Pearl Academy. I was feeding random bread products to my young children, fielding their schoolwork and teaching students how to simulrec from my kitchen. It was disorientating, dislocating and lonely.
Some good came from it. I co-taught a unit with Peter Murray which introduced students to the societal, ethical, legal and political contexts that journalism operates within. Given the situation, we entirely rethought teaching so it could be flexible – lockdown or in person – and still engage students.
It made sense to turn to podcasts for their ease of use, portability and conversational potential. We developed a series of recordings that were accompanied by scripts with images, references and links to follow up.
This meant students could have their learning delivered remotely, wherever they were, and presented in a form that added to their professional understanding of creating audio. We developed the concept and produced a walking tour that introduced students to Manchester, its journalism history and their learning. This included contributions by journalists from various news organisations.
We recorded the podcast for two years and loved it. I know the students found it helpful. Pete presented our work at the Association of Journalism Education conference last summer. After I left teaching and moved to Austria, we wrote this paper for Journalism Education to capture why these inclusive pedagogical techniques have use beyond the pandemic – pages 60-68.
I miss working with the students, and with much appreciated colleagues, but podcasting continues to be a format with utterly pleasing utility. I now use it to demonstrate the relevance and impact of biobanking at BBMRI-ERIC.