Featured,  Research

Introducing the “Into the Open” Podcast Series

Authors: Verena Roberts and Nicole Neutzling

The Into the Open Podcasts Series provided insight into how students perceive open pedagogy in terms of impact on their personal learning contexts.  
Throughout the following seven episodes, Nicole shares her questions and reflections about open pedagogy as she connects with guests to examine multiple implications of open educational practices which began in a graduate course.  We have produced three artifacts for each podcast, the podcasts themselves, editable transcripts and  WordArts to highlight the key themes and words.

The podcasts can be found by clicking on the title and the transcript of the podcasts can be found below each podcast title. We are working with TRU Libraries to share all of the podcasts and transcripts with OERepositories. The copies of the podcasts and transcripts in this blog post are CC-BY licensed and can be edited and annotated (including adding in links) to support continuous community knowledge building from the #GO-GN community.

**We chose to add all transcripts as editable open google.docs and anyone is encouraged to add in links and annotate or give their feedback.

Episode 1:  Into the Open The Beginnings (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guests: Verena Roberts & Heather Van Struen)

In Episode 1, Nicole meets with Heather (a former peer in her graduate course) and Verena Roberts (her former instructor in a graduate course) to learn how to make a podcast by discussing their introductions to open pedagogy, how the fellowship came about, what the podcast series will examine and questions that consider the influence of open educational practices on students – what are student perceptions and experiences of learning through an open educational practice design? 

In this episode, Dr. Roberts, Heather, and Nicole take a look at how this podcast came about and tell you a bit about how we ended up connected through open education. 


Episode 2: Navigating Digital Networks (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guest: Helen DeWaard)

In Episode 2, Nicole meets with guest Helen DeWaard to focus on the importance of digital literacies, fluencies, skills and competencies needed for open learning contexts.  They also discuss the impact digital literacies may have on students’ participation in open education. 


Episode 3: Open for Whom (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guest: Catherine)

In Episode 3, Nicole meets with Catherine Cronin to consider questions of access, equity and inclusion in open learning contexts. 

Dr. Cronin is a leader in the world of open education and has honed in on equity and social justice issues within the opensphere. In this episode Nicole addresses some of her accessibility and equity concerns about participating in open and developing open educational resources. 


Episode 4: Sharing is Caring (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guest: Alan Levine)

In Episode 4, Nicole meets with Alan Levine to discuss the implications of how and why sharing is needed and the successes and failures of sharing your ideas and yourself in open learning contexts. The ‘King of Sharing’ helps Nicole understand that there are different levels of participating in open that can be accessed depending on your context. They take a look at individuals like Francois the blogger without a blog and different ways one might contribute to the open movement. 


Episode 5: Jump in the Water is Warm (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guest: Joel Templeman)

In Episode 5, Nicole meets with fellow graduate peer Joel Templeton to discuss the impact and influence of open educational practices in personal learning contexts. 


Episode 6:The Power of Co-Design (Host: Nicole Neutzling, Guest: Barb Brown)

In Episode 6, Nicole meets with Barb Brown (her former instructor and now colleague) to discuss the implications of open educational practices across graduate programs for the students, other instructors and the university. 

In this episode, Nicole gets a peek into how co-design and open education came together in the design of the EdTech Ethics course. Dr. Brown walks us through how the course came to be and provides insight into her journey into open education. 


Episode 7: Rolling Snowball (Hosts: Verena Roberts & Heather Van Struen, Guest: Nicole Neutzling)

In Episode 7, Nicole meets with Verena and Nicole to review and reflect upon what she has learned, the questions she was able to answer and new questions that emerged in terms of the future of open learning. 


Nicole’s Final Thoughts: 

What started out as an attempt to create four podcasts has turned into seven and counting, which is consistent with our Edtech Ethics theme of constantly discovering ways to add on and expand our learning and knowledge. As a student I moved through the process of developing an open educational resource in the form of a Pressbook, it was incredibly challenging but also rewarding. This experience enabled me to ‘dip my toes’ into the open waters and left me with a lot of questions. I saw podcasting as a way of challenging myself to again move through the open creation experience but through a different medium. I felt before and I still strongly believe there is power in podcasting and the potential to utilize it as a way to build and demonstrate knowledge. In this case, it also allowed me to connect with experts in the field and directly ask them about my hesitations and concerns. It’s not often in a university course that you have the opportunity to connect with the researchers from the studies you have been citing. Through the open community and Dr. Robert’s network I was able to pick their brains and discuss ideas that inspired me and amplified my learning.  

The process of creating a podcast was incredibly laborious. I feel this type of project could be integrated into coursework (whether that be university or K-12) but some key points need to be considered. The creation of a high-quality podcast not only requires technical skills (I had to learn how to efficiently use Zencastr and Audacity) but also challenges one’s digital storytelling skills. If I were to use podcasting as a project with my own students I would make sure to build up their digital storytelling skills first. Then slowly introducing the new platforms with low-risk tasks or activities. Effectively editing audio is an art. If you want the final product to be more than just an interview, layers need to be added. This was one area for me that I felt I dropped as time pressures crept in. In comparison to creating a Pressbook, I felt podcasting carried a larger digital load. The time involved to pull all of the working pieces together was also more than I expected. Completing more than one or two episodes during the length of one course if your students also had to develop their recording and editing skills would be a lot. I would aim for quality over quantity if using this medium to create with students.  

So, have I quit my day job and become a full-time podcaster? Not exactly but I definitely learned a lot about the medium and have enormous respect for those that create and produce the shows I listen to daily. I still strongly believe in podcasting as a way of developing open educational resources and see the potential in co-designing courses that incorporate content creation using this medium.  I’ve also continued to expand my understanding of open education and feel more confident about my dynamic existence in the Opensphere.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project and who has supported me in navigating into the open. 

Verena’s Final Thoughts: 

As I transition from the role of podcast producer to open researcher, I will focus on how to highlight the key themes that emerged throughout this fellowship. From the beginning, it was clear that the relationship and trust that had developed between myself as an instructor and Nicole as a former student and now colleague greatly influenced the course that never ends.  I look forward to going back to the beginning to review my notes and all of the data (literature review, initial check-in interviews and online surveys) to develop the essential questions for our podcast series. Now, I can review and code the transcripts in more detail in order to connect our initial questions with the actual podcast content.

 I can also reflect upon and consider how my pedagogical choices influence my students. Listening to Nicole describe her feelings of imposter syndrome, fear of sharing and concerns about equity in open learning contexts has really helped me rethink my open educational practices and design. One of the most important implications for my personal practice what the emphasis on the open learning continuum – and the need to consider how to scaffold and integrate open learning opportunities that provide multiple flexible and safe entry points for all learners throughout a course and throughout their learning experiences. Open learning is not like a design thinking project that can be completed within one course. Instead, an open learner mindset requires a) connections between the learner and instructor to negotiate student learning needs and expectations, b) clear boundaries in order to distinguish levels of comfort in terms of sharing – what to share and with whom and c) feedback loops from a plethora of sources including peers, colleagues, instructors, community members and outside experts in order to build learner confidence. I believe that a major characteristic of open educational practices is focusing on building learner confidence. If we as educators focus on how to support learners in shaping confidence in their own abilities as a learner and learning, they are more likely to share their ideas with others- no matter the discipline or area of expertise. Learner confidence emerged as an essential ingredient to participating and engaging in open learning – confidence in digital literacies and skills (like how to make a podcast) and how to talk about open learning and why it is important for learners.  Understanding that open learning is not defined to one learning context, but instead a mindset; in order to build individual, community and networked knowledge will help instructors design for open activities for all. 


Please read Blog posts 1, 2 and 3 to find out more about the links and resources used to make podcasts. 

Nicole Neutzling created and edited all the podcasts. Verena Roberts was the producer who summarized and worked with Nicole to figure out the key themes, invited the guests and wrote the guest questions and edited all the transcripts. Heather Van Streun was a guest host in the Introduction and Conclusion and helped to organize the key themes, topics and guest questions. 

Cover photo by NIcole Neutzling – Canadian Rockies