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Bentley Students Learn and Teach as They Create Podcasts in the Palm of their Hand

May 23, 2006

Students hold teaching in the palm of their hand in the IT 101 course taught by Mark Frydenberg, senior lecturer in computer information systems and software specialist at Bentley College. Equipped with a Pocket PC, a web cam and a microphone, a technology-driven generation is creating podcasts on everything from 90-second commercials to seven-minute summaries of class lectures.

While podcast 'lectures on the go' are becoming a popular teaching resource on college campuses, "there's also a real sense of learning and ownership in the process of creating podcasts," says Frydenberg. "Students aren't as likely to listen to a one-and-a-half hour lecture recorded by their professor as they are to a condensed version done by their peers."

What makes Frydenberg's course different is that the students actually create their own podcasts from start to finish. The process encompasses both a learning and teaching component into their skill set. "What may have previously been a written assignment is now an exercise in communication and critical thinking: Students need to be fluent both in using a technology and in explaining a topic," Frydenberg explains. "It turns students into teachers outside of the classroom." (The course is featured in the June 2006 issue of Pocket PC Magazine.)

In addition to creating audio and video podcasts and posting them "by hand," students were also beta testers of AudioBay, a podcast publishing software application for Pocket PCs that was released by AcroDesign Technologies Corp. in March 2006. Students recommended a number of enhancements, some of which were implemented before the software's launch. "It allowed my students to use their Pocket PCs to speak to the world," Frydenberg says of the technology that makes podcasts available to the public as soon they are uploaded.

"The students played an important part of our beta testing plan and usability study of AudioBay," explains Scott Thibault, president and founder of AcroDesign Technologies Corp., who contacted Frydenberg after reading about the course in the July 2005 Pocket PC Magazine. "As a result of working with the class, we identified a number of bugs and usability issues that were resolved, as well as some new feature ideas that could be incorporated into upcoming versions."

The 'technology intensive' version of IT 101 was launched at Bentley in 2004 as a pilot course that required students to trade in their textbooks for Pocket PCs. Today, the class is an integral part of the curriculum and the essence of hands-on learning. Each semester, the course content is updated to reflect the rapidly changing advances in technology.

While the students haven't completely abandoned books, most of their work is done electronically. Observes Frydenberg: "Today's business world uses the Internet as a way to communicate. It's important to go beyond the printed word through the use of audio and multimedia."

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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