Saturday, January 29, 2011

Listen Up--Or Not

s.e. smith on This Ain't Livin' has a post with an interesting (and basic) point about podcasts, which is that they're not going to be a great resource for you if you don't hear things well, or at all.

Transcripts can make this material accessible, but they're a lot of work to put together, so a lot of podcasters just write off this potential audience.

Hmm. I don't really do podcasts just because I haven't gotten into them...I don't listen to my iPod while I walk (because I like to have my ears open in case something happens around me) or ride the train (because I wear earplugs so as not to notice what happens around me), and at work I generally play music because it takes less concentration than something I'd be wanting to actually pay attention to.

And when I'm on the computer, I'm just reading blogs or something. But in theory, I think podcasts are a cool idea, and I'm all for it. And if I ever make one, I'll try to to remember to post a transcript as well.

My deathless words obviously should be available to all, regardless of ear function.

Where this is somewhat relevant to me, though, is in the little tutorials we sometimes make for work. How to search PubMed, and so forth. (Yeah, I know, the National Library of Medicine covers that topic pretty well and we could theoretically just direct people to their tutorials. But we have to address it for specific subjects!)

Lately the move is more towards video tutorials, which I kind of dislike anyway because I can read faster than most people talk in these things, so I'd rather read a slide than wait while someone reads something...but this reminds me that an additional concern is that not every student may be able to hear the vocals.

Of course we're also trying to be helpful by addressing people in ways that may match their learning style, since some people prefer to watch a video of something rather than just see a bunch of boring slides*, so we mean well.

We just better have included a written transcript of the voiceovers in those things.

*Not everyone is on board with my "Slides! The more boring the better!" agenda.

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