A Historical View of Library Instructional Podcasts Demonstrating They Were Beneficial to Students and Staff at a New Zealand College of Learning
A Review of:
Jowitt, A. (2008). Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealand’s Universal College of Learning (UCOL). Reference Services Review, 36(3), 312–336. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320810895396
Objective – To examine usage of a specific set of library instructional podcasts and the potential of the format for effective library instruction.
Design – Concurrent mixed methods survey.
Setting – Multiple campuses at a polytechnic college in New Zealand.
Subjects – A total of 86 self-selected, non-random students and staff.
Methods – Web-based survey, piloted before a broader launch, with open and closed questions in one survey instrument (SurveyPro) regarding six sample podcasts accessible via the college’s library website. The researcher used closed questions to gather quantitative data with Likert and verbal frequency scales and used concurrent triangulation to ensure balance with qualitative open-ended question responses for proper later interpretation.
Main Results – Of the 86 participants in the study, 71.1% responded that the five library podcasts were “very good.” The study determined that the most useful podcast was called “My account” and helped students and staff activate and use their library accounts. Overall, students enjoyed the five library podcasts slightly more than staff. The orientation walking tour was the least popular podcast. The researchers hypothesized that this was because the podcast did not fit the users’ preferred medium, which was computer based. Even listeners who owned a portable media device preferred using a media player on their computer to access the podcasts. The participants preferred to listen to the podcasts during the day. The participants found that the 24/7 availability and the ability to listen to the material repeatedly were particularly helpful features.
Conclusion – Based on the research results, students and staff found library instructional podcasting advantageous because of its ease of access and constant availability. Some participants mentioned ways to improve the quality of the podcasts, but they found them to be an effective new medium overall. Additional research is needed to evaluate podcasts as an instructional medium.
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