The technologies associated with podcasting change rapidly. Even this article will likely become soon outdated. Consequently, the more facets and uses of podcasting that arise, the greater the need to look more closely at it to determine what effects the technology will have on various aspects of our culture at large. Accordingly, composition studies is well situated to study and address the shifts in this technology in terms of its use as a pedagogical tool, a social discourse, a marketing strategy, and even a composing practice. Some areas of further research for podcasting in education include:
- streamlining the process of obtaining high-quality, inexpensive audio sources;
- assessing the value of student-produced podcasting in the classroom;
- assessing the impact of instructor-produced podcasting on class learning outcomes;
- gauging the correlation between writing-center-produced podcasts and changes in client activity.
Beyond even these teaching and research contexts, we should continue to think of innovative ways of incorporating podcasting into our professional work as compositionists, as this technology has great potential for disseminating knowledge and building sustainable connections among us.
As we ponder the various ways that podcasting can be employed to address different segments of the composition studies community, we realize that we are not rediscovering fire. This particular technology is not a monolithic entity that causes us to redefine our scholarly lives. It is not a panacea that offers an immaculate educational delivery method, nor is it a soulless corporate practice that threatens to replace our existing methods of communicating with one another. Rather, it is a potentially useful and effective tool that can be utilized to reach the ears of an intended listenership. However, as we have shown within this article, there are certain risks that are involved with its use if the needs of a particular audience are not being met. Therefore, writing teachers should not impulsively integrate podcasting into their curriculum without considering how it affects student comprehension and retention of the material. Writing centers should consider whether or not their particular appropriation of podcasting merely replicates current services and resources without adding anything of value to them. Colleagues should consider the potential value that producing a particular podcast adds to the field at large, not to mention whether or not this method of dissemination is the best way to reach the intended audience. Nevertheless, one of the greatest benefits of podcasting is that it is so inexpensive and simple to produce a podcast, virtually anyone can upload their voice into the virtual public square in an effort to attract, build, and sustain an audience. However, when used in various academic settings, composition teachers and scholars have a particular responsibility to ensure the authority and quality of the content and the pedagogical strength of their podcasts--no longer is it enough merely to record lectures and make them accessible to students. Through teaching practices and professional activities alike, we can demonstrate that this particular communication technology has valuable, real-world impact.