Exploring podcasts as an educational tool for Neuroscience students

The team
Martina Wicklein (staff lead)
Miriam Jansen (student lead)
Ferran Junoy, Aiste Viduolyte, Evan Moffitt, Maria Gonzalez-Gancedo (support students)
Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology (NPP)
What happened?
As students, we spend most of our time staring at a screen or flipping through a textbook. The little time we have left is spent on commutes, grocery shopping, and gym sessions. The goal of this project was to test out an alternative studying method – podcasts – that students can use to learn whenever and wherever they want. To reach this goal, we developed Brains Discussing Brains: an educational podcast covering undergraduate-level neuroscience through faculty interviews and scripted segments. Although the podcast is still in its infancy, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. By analysing student and staff feedback, we’re figuring out the optimal formula for the podcast in an educational context. We’re varying episode length, content, interview to segment ratio, topics covered, and more. In spite of the strides that still need to be made, it’s clear that the flexibility and (most importantly) fun that podcasts offer make them great candidates for supplemental or student-led study materials. They can be listened to when you wouldn’t normally be able to study (such as walking to class), but if done right, it barely feels like studying at all. Give the first episodes of Brains Discussing Brains a listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts!
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone thinking of doing a ChangeMakers project?
Don’t be afraid to delegate and form a team for the tasks ahead. Since it’s your project, it’s easy to feel as if it’s thus your responsibility to get everything done. I would argue that’s not the case at all! Forming a team to help you bring your idea to fruition will open up your project to new opinions and perspectives and make sure you’re not putting all the workload on yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know to join the team: create an open application if you can.

Fiona A Wilkie

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