Podcasting in an age of austerity: a way of both enhancing student learning and reducing staffing costs?

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Social work students are being educated during a time of major socio-economic change with the financial relationship between the university and society currently being reconfigured. This is occurring alongside a rapid expansion in the availability of technological mediums that offer the opportunity for alternative methods of teaching delivery. Moving towards technologically enhanced methods of teaching delivery may be sought as one way of improving student learning whilst reducing staffing costs in a time of financial austerity. Podcasting, for example, is becoming a more commonplace activity within higher educational institutions (HEIs) and used for a variety of different reasons, although the evaluation of using such methods of delivery and its impact on student learning is in its infancy. This paper outlines some of the current issues involved and begins to explore them via an evaluation of the use of podcast lectures on one social work programme. Current findings highlight the importance of appreciating the socio-emotional as well as the cognitive aspects of student learning. This study suggests that podcasts have potential benefit educationally but their use within HEIs needs to be appreciated within a broader context where contra-indicators for the use of such technology are also considered in relation to professional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-466
Number of pages21
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Socio-economic climate
  • podcasts
  • social impact
  • cognitive impact
  • emotional impact


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