As West Chester students walk to class, they have a book bag over their shoulders and an iPod in hand. It is safe to say that three out of every five students are listening to an mp3 device on their way to class. They are all probably listening to the latest song by the Gym Class Heroes, right? Wrong. It can no longer be assumed that someone who is listening to an iPod is listening to music. With recent technology, people could be listening to anything from Spanish lessons to class lectures to segments from radio shows via podcasts.
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular; so popular, in fact, that West Chester University now has it’s own podcast, WCU-Podcast Central. A podcast is a free subscription through iTunes in which a person can download and listen to speakers and shows/presentations. Schools, radio stations and major news stations are beginning to create podcasts to send extra information to their patrons.
Student Services Incorporated Executive Director, Mell Josephs, and WCU junior, Chad Gingrich, have created WCU’s first ever podcast Web site this past academic year. The podcast is still in the early stages of development; however, as it continues to gain more interest from students and faculty, the site will grow. WCU’s podcast could not be hosted through the university’s server; rather it is hosted through SSI. Still, the University is very supportive of the podcast and is happy that an avenue was found to make the podcast possible.
The podcast Web site is the first central Web site containing all aspects of student life, including student activities, speakers and eventually classes, making WCU’s podcast more unique than that of other universities.
The podcast is not and will not be an audio interpretation of The Quad. The podcast is considered a “supplement” to what The Quad already has to offer. In today’s fast paced society, it is hard to be current with activities and speakers merely through print. The podcast’s goal is to get new information to students quickly and efficiently.
Currently featured on the podcast Web site is an interview with University President, Dr. Adler, on the new SOMPAC building, as well as announcements about upcoming campus events as reported by the Real World cast, and an exclusive interview with country singer, Taylor Swift.
“It’s so unique for us to have entertainers speak to us. I don’t think other colleges have that,” comments Gingrich.
Eventually, Josephs and Gingrich plan to feature information sessions with the Provost, Dr. Lamwers, about financial aid, advising and other information important to student life. Also in the works are interviews with students about their personal experiences, like the Honors College’s recent trip to China. They hope to use the podcast as a way to advertise to prospective students who would like to learn more about the university and what it has to offer. In the future, Josephs and Gingrich plan to include video in the podcast.
The podcast is a great source of information and entertainment, because students cannot always attend every campus event. With this new technology, students can find out what they have missed and learn more about the university and student life.
To listen to the podcast, go to www.wcu-podcast.com. It is also possible to subscribe to the podcast so that it automatically downloads to an iPod.