Little did I realize the number of History of Science podcasts out there on the WWW …
The History of Science Society Newsletter did a Q&A on it last July, which featured the producers of two podcasts – Audra J. Wolfe’s Distillations and Elizabeth Green Musselman’s the Missing Link. Unfortunately, it appears that both of them have suffered recently – Distillations going bi-weekly and the Missing Link being put on indefinite hold. So, what is the future of all of these podcasts?
A recent study shows that podcasts can be better than real lectures, in certain circumstances (see ‘iTunes university’ better than the real thing), but that is not why I interested in them. Having taught here in Oxford, where a lot of material is thrown at students in a very short period of time … or at least, that is what happens in the History of Science undergraduate teaching, podcasts could be a very good resource for students. They could be leveraged to provide students with a wider range of resources than otherwise available (or beyond their reach, such as access to top scholars). In addition, you can never cover everything in a single course and so podcasts can also be used to fill those gaps.
The next time that I am teaching a course, I will try to work at least a few podcasts into the course and will definitely recommend my students to subscribe to certain podcasts.