Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics


This article was written on 20 Dec 2008, and is filled under Volume 3 2008, Volume 3 No 4.

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PODCASTING: Learning @nywhere, @nytime

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Technology in Education Column

Here is the second installment of this new feature, written by one of our CNA Centennial 100 Award Winners, Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Sandra recognized a need, and offered to write this important column for the CJNI – she is off to a great start with this second column focused on innovative Podcasting and how it can be used in nursing education. Sandra has been recognized by the Canadian Nurses’ Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the University of Regina for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.

PODCASTING: LEARNING @nywhere, @nytime

Podcasting is one of the more recent strategies being used in teaching and learning environments as it brings powerful capabilities to educators and supports a wide range of educational activities such as debates, expert interviews, storytelling, tutorials, and sharing of professional information. “A podcast is an innovative way to deliver media files for distribution over the Internet and playback on desktop computers and portable media devices” (Forbes & Hickey, 2008, What is different about podcasting, 1). Although similar in many ways to the radio as a communication and educational tool, podcasting differs in that students have choices about where and when to listen to the audio content. Students identify the advantages of this innovative and responsive technology as having access to course content on a twenty-four-hour basis, being able to listen to content anywhere and anytime, and having free access to most online podcasts (Windham, 2007). Students can become involved in designing and developing their own podcasting projects instead of doing the usual assignments, such as writing papers or doing class demonstrations. They like the ability to relisten to course content, showcase their projects to the public, or review course material before exams (Seitzinger, 2006; Windham).

From a nurse educator’s perspective, podcasting can provide updates on the latest evidence-based practice, supplement course content through the use of experts speaking on specific health care or nursing issues, deliver a story about nursing history, involve students in developing their own podcasts as part of course assignments, or deliver topics that encourage thoughtful reflection, such as CBC Radio’ White Coat, Black Art podcasts. In addition, for students who struggle with a second language, podcasting provides them with an opportunity to retain the course information by listening to the podcast or sections of the podcast as many times as necessary for understanding.

Many online health care and nursing sites have a variety of podcasts already developed and ready for listening. But if you are interested in developing your own podcasts, it is important to determine the educational outcome, select the content, design the script, and then produce the podcast. Podcasts should focus on one specific topic and be about ten minutes in length. You will need a computer, a high quality recording device (built in microphone or handheld microphone), some recording and editing software, a Web interface, and initially, some technological assistance (Oblinger, 2005). The decision about software comes down to what you feel comfortable with – it is important that the software be easy to use with an interface that makes sense to you. For example, Audacity is a free, online software that can be used for recording and editing.

Once the content has been recorded, you will require a hosting provider. You can either upload files to a specific web server or you can use a podcast specific host such as Liberated Syndicate. When choosing the hosting provider, you need to take into account the bandwidth in order to determine the amount of uploads/downloads that you will be doing per month. It is important to determine how much the hosting provider will allow you to store on their servers. Some hosting providers charge per podcast or if your podcasts get popular, the specific host may provide you with the bandwidth that is necessary for people to get timely downloads to your podcasts. Give it a try, and then share with all of us your perspective on this new approach to learning about nursing and health care content!


Forbes, M., & Hickey, M. (2008). Podcasting: Implementation and evaluation in an undergraduate nursing program. Nurse Educator, 33(5).[Online]. Retrieved October 31, 2008 from Ovid database.

Oblinger, D. (2005). Learners, learning, and technology. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved May 22, 2008,

Seitzinger, J. (2006). Be constructive: Blogs, podcasts, and wikis as constructivist learning tools.
Retrieved October 30, 2006 from

Windham, C. (2007). Confessions of a podcast junkie. EDUCAUSE Review, 42(3).
Retrieved October 31, 2008 from

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