Episode 11 – “Puzzle Child Podcast” by Belle Raim and Becky Marder

How do you teach a child to read? Not a generic child, but a specific child with specific challenges. Belle Raim and Becky Marder are students in the reading education Master’s program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. As part of the program, each of them spent an academic year working with a student whose literacy behaviors were seen as a puzzle to their classroom teacher. In the fall they assessed their students to determine literacy strengths and areas for improvement, and in the spring they implemented a targeted instructional plan with the classroom teacher. And at the end of this “Puzzle Child Project,” they were asked by their instructor, Justine Bruyère, to reflect on the entire process in an audio project for Justine’s course, “Literacy for Diverse and Special Needs Learners.”

On this episode of VandyVox, we’re sharing an excerpt from Belle and Becky’s “Puzzle Child Podcast.” The two students produced the audio by developing questions they wanted to address, then answering those questions and discussing their puzzle children on tape. The audio assignment helped them synthesize what they had learned over the course of their yearlong projects, and helped them to think critically about their teaching philosophies and practices.

To listen to the full “Puzzle Child Podcast,” visit Literacy Listening, a website set up by Justine Bruyère, who taught Belle and Becky last spring. Justine likes to have her students reflect on their literacy education work through audio. Self-reflection assignments can be valuable learning experiences for students. Framing such an assignment as a podcast is likely to help students engage more deeply in the reflection process, as they prepare for their recording session and work together to produce a reflection that’s meaningful and interesting.

Episode 10 – Out Loud by Greg Thompson

On this episode of VandyVox, we’re excited to share another podcast produced by a Vanderbilt student. Out Loud: LGBT Stories of Faith features interviews with Vanderbilt students about their experiences coming out to their church communities. The podcast, now in its second season, is the creation of Greg Thompson, a recent graduate of the Master of Theological Studies program at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. Out Loud started in a course Greg took on creativity and theology, but the podcast became an integral part of his Master’s thesis about honoring LGBT spirituality through digital storytelling.

When we asked Greg to select an episode of Out Loud to feature here on VandyVox, he said he really loved the interview he did with Vanderbilt Divinity School alumnus Kelsey Davis. Her approach to spirituality is centered on the statement “Belonging comes before belief.” It’s a statement that has sparked conversations for Kelsey and for Greg in their religious circles, as you’ll hear in our excerpt of Episode 103 of Out Loud: LGBT Stories of Faith.

You can listen to the full conversation on Greg’s website, outloudstories.com, or by searching for “Out Loud LGBT” in your favorite podcast app. Greg recently launched season 2 of Out Loud, featuring more thoughtful interviews exploring the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to Greg Thompson for sharing his work here on VandyVox.

Episode 9 – Wandering Off by Jacqueline Grogan

Welcome to the second season of VandyVox! We’re excited to share more creative and effective student-produced audio from around campus. This season, in addition to audio pieces produced by students for course assignments at Vanderbilt, we’re also featuring episode from not one, but four podcasts produced by Vanderbilt students apart from any particular course. With podcasting growing rapidly, Vanderbilt students are using the medium to tell stories and connect with audiences.

One such student is Jacqueline Grogan. Jacqueline is the host of Wandering Off, the Vanderbilt University Career Center professional development podcast. Through interviews with Vanderbilt faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Jacqueline explores the many unexpected turns people take along their paths from college to career. Jacqueline has talked to an English major turned photographer, an engineering science major who interned for a US senator, and a Career Center coach about imposter syndrome in the workplace.

On this episode of VandyVox, we’re featuring Episode 15 of Wandering Off, an interview with Vanderbilt alumnus Wes Matelich, a philosophy major turned CPA turned cannabis entrepreneur. Jacqueline was a bit hesitant about the episode, which discusses an industry that’s currently illegal in the state of Tennessee. But, as you’ll hear, Wes Matelich’s path from college to career is really interesting, and Jacqueline felt it would be encouraging to hear for students unsure about their post-college plans.

Wandering Off was started two years ago by undergraduate student Briana Francois. The Career Center was looking for a friendly, approachable way to connect with students at Vanderbilt, and Briana, a student work at the center, proposed a podcast. The Career Center liked the idea, so Briana worked with Vanderbilt Student Media, who co-produce VandyVox, to launch Wandering Off. Briana produced 11 episodes before graduating, at which point Jacqueline Grogan took over as host for a second season. Both hosts have worked hard and collaborated well, resulting in a very professional sounding podcast.

For more episodes of Wandering Off, listen on iTunes or SoundCloud. See also Jacqueline’s 2018 TEDxVandy talk.

Season 2 Coming Soon

Thanks to the Vanderbilt students and faculty who contributed to the first season of VandyVox! We were thrilled to share student-produced audio from anthropology, game studies, health policy, human and organizational development, law, mathematics, and women’s and gender studies. Be sure to listen to our final episode of the season, which features the audio introduction to English major Anna Butrico’s senior thesis on podcasting!

You can listen to all eight episodes of Season 1 in your favorite podcast app or on VandyVox.com, where you can also find resources for engaging students in audio production work in curricular and co-curricular settings. We hope that VandyVox gives listeners a sense of the kind of creative and critical media students can produce, as well as tools instructors can use to support their student in this kind of work.

Season 2 is coming later in 2019! If you know of Vanderbilt students (undergraduate or otherwise) making great audio, let us know! We’re particularly interested in sharing audio produced as part of class assignments, but we’re open to any student-created audio work with an academic hook. To make a submission, contact VandyVox host and Center for Teaching director Derek Bruff (derek.bruff@vanderbilt.edu).

 

Episode 8 – “Aristotle Meets Apple” by Anna Butrico

This episode features a piece of audio produced by Anna Butrico, who graduated from Vanderbilt in 2018 with a degree in English and communication studies. Anna started podcasting her sophomore year at Vanderbilt, launching a podcast called This Vanderbilt Life with help from Vanderbilt Student Media. That experience led her to a summer internship at WPLN, Nashville’s public radio station, where she helped produced over two dozen stories. At the start of her senior year, Anna decided to write her honors thesis on podcasting, looking at how modern podcasts are inhabiting and extending classical Greek rhetorical forms. In this episode of VandyVox, we share the audio introduction to Anna’s honors thesis, “Aristotle Meets Apple: Rhetoric in the Podcast.”

For more by Anna Butrico, check out her multimodal senior thesis, her podcast This Vanderbilt Life, and her stories for WPLN Nashville Public Radio.

 

Episode 7 – “Borders and Rituals in ‘Papers, Please'” by Scholars at Play

This episode features an excerpt from an episode of Scholars at Play, a podcast focused on the critical discussion of video games and their place in society. The podcast is produced by three Vanderbilt graduate students: Derek Price (German Studies), Terrell Taylor (English), and Kyle Romero (History). They got together in 2016 around a shared interest in video game studies after Derek Price put up a few signs in the grad student carrels of a video game controller. Since the campus didn’t have a graduate seminar in game studies at the time, they decided to create their own, as a podcast. They launched Scholars at Play that year with some help from Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy. This episode of VandyVox features the first segment of their second episode, “Borders and Rituals in ‘Papers, Please.’”

For more Scholars at Play, listen to their podcast on SoundCloud or visit their website, scholarsatplay.net. And for more on the origin of the Scholars at Play podcast, listen to an interview with Derek, Terrell, and Kyle in Episode 34 of Vanderbilt’s edtech podcast, Leading Lines.

Episode 6 – “Well Founded Fear” by Joshua Minchin

In this episode, we feature a short audio documentary by Vanderbilt law student Joshua Minchin called “Well Founded Fear.” Joshua produced this piece for an assignment in a refugee law course taught by Vanderbilt professor Karla McKanders. The assignment called for students to take some challenging legal issued related to refugee and immigration law and to convey it to a non-specialist audience through audio stories. Joshua’s motivation for this piece came from his personal experience working as an employment specialist for a refugee resettlement agency before he started law school. In writing about this audio piece, Minchin said it’s important not to lose track of the people who are most affected by immigration law.

Joshua’s piece first aired on the long-running podcast Life of the Law. For more information on Karla McKanders’ collaboration with Life of the Law, as well as other student pieces that aired on that podcast, listen to Episode 136, “New Voices Series: Law Students Take on Immigration.”

Episode 5 – “Writer’s Block Tango” by Sarah Eidson

In this episode, we feature a short audio story by Vanderbilt undergraduate Sarah Eidson about Maurine Watkins, the American journalist who wrote the play Chicago in 1926. Sarah produced the audio story for an assignment in the provocatively titled course “Women Who Kill,” taught in the women’s and gender studies program by English lecturer Robbie Spivey. The course provided a critical look at classical and contemporary representations of women who kill. Maurine Watkins, the subject of Sarah’s audio story, wasn’t a woman who killed, but she covered the murder trials of two women as part of her work at the Chicago Tribune, then wrote her play Chicago about women accused of murder based on that experience. In Sarah’s audio piece “Writer’s Block Tango,” Sarah blends fact and speculation to explore Watkins’ motivations.

For those interested in using audio assignments in their teaching, here’s a little background on Robbie Spivey’s podcast assignment for her course “Women Who Kill”…

Robbie asked her students to make a podcast episode of 8 to 13 minutes in length, using the audio format to respond to the following prompt:

“When we talk about women who kill, we need to talk about X because Y.”

Before scripting and recording their audio pieces, students were asked to conduct preliminary research to identify a topic, then collect sources and write an annotated bibliography. Here’s how Robbie framed the audio production piece of the assignment:

“Support your claims with good reasoning, valid evidence, and when appropriate, good story-telling. Take advantage of the podcast medium to convey your message in ways you would not be able to in a traditional research essay or classroom presentation. For example, strategically use pacing, music, sound effects, ambient noise, other voices, etc.”

Robbie also helped shape her students’ expected audience:

“Address an audience made up of both college students and professors at Vanderbilt and other universities like Vanderbilt interested in conversations about “women who kill.” Your audience is interested in the conversation, but has not participated in the conversation with the sustained attention that we have over the course of this semester, nor has your audience considered the significance of your chosen topic. They may not even be aware that your topic is relevant to conversations about women who kill… As you design your podcast, think about what you want your audience to know, believe, understand, ask, or do.”

Episode 4 – “Unpacking Health Care Disparities” by Sheuli Chowdhury

When Sheuli Chowdhury picked her topic for the podcast assignment in her health policy class, she didn’t take the easy way out. She decided to dive into the intersection of two very complex topics: healthcare and immigration. In this episode of VandyVox, we share her project, an audio exploration of recent research on undocumented immigrants and Medicaid enrollment. Her piece is titled “Unpacking Health Care Disparities.” The assignment, for an introduction to health services course taught by Vanderbilt health policy professor Gilbert Gonzales, asked students to take recent research in health policy and explain it for a lay audience. Sheuli reports learning a lot from the project, about both Medicaid and immigration policy.

For more student-produced audio on health policy, listen to Health Policy Radio with Gilbert Gonzales on SoundCloud. And for those interested in teaching with podcasts, listen to Gilbert’s interview on Episode 27 of Vanderbilt’s edtech podcast, Leading Lines, for information about his podcast assignment and how it helps him meet his teaching objectives.

 

Episode 3 – “The Panizzardi Telegram” by Charlie Overton

This episode features an audio peice called “The Panizzardi Telegram” produced by Vanderbilt undergraduate Charlie Overton. Charlie was a student in podcast host Derek Bruff’s first-year writing seminar last fall, a course on cryptography. The course is a busy one, with mathematics and codebreaking, history and current events, and, as of recent offerings, a podcast assignment. Derek asks his students to explore the history of codes and ciphers for a class podcast called One-Time Pod. Charlie’s contribution on the Panizzardi telegram deftly combines historical storytelling and technical explanations. It also communicates an enduring understanding about cryptography: If you don’t know how a message has been encrypted, it’s really easy to make up a decryption method that makes the message say what you want it to say.

For more student-produced pieces on the history of cryptography, check out Derek’s class podcast, One-Time Pod. And for those interested in using audio assignments in their teaching, see Derek’s podcast assignment and rubric for ideas.