Forget about the University of Alabama — the real number one out there turns out to be…me. Who knew?
It turns out that a fellow blogger, writing at Do It Yourself Scholar, decided that the podcasts of my lectures from my course Nationalism in Eastern Europe (last given in the fall of 2007) were the best available on the web. These lectures are available via iTunesU and it was a surprise to me that anyone other than my students was listening. However, over the past few years I’ve heard from a few people who found the lectures, listened, and then offered laudatory or negative feedback.
I intend to offer this course again in the spring 2011 semester and when I do, I plan to use these (and a few others I have recorded) to set up class discussions. Rather than me giving the lectures again, I’ll have the students listen to them prior to class and then we’ll use the class time more productively discussing issues I raised in the lectures, etc. My hope is to do this with all of my courses so that eventually I don’t need to lecture much in class at all.
For those interested in podcasting, don’t be talked into fancy set ups. I made these recordings with my iPod Nano using an iTalk plug in microphone with a small lapel microphone plugged into that. Rather than investing in a serious recording system — as our university has done — I can just drop my Nano in my shirt pocket and blab away. I then do the post-production work in Audacity (free), a software program that took me about an hour to figure out how to use. My total investment, not counting the cost of the Nano, was less than $50.