Last week, I asked two of my Retail students who are presently on a co-op placement, to come back the classroom to make a Podcast about their experience with using the Learning Management System. Both immediately agreed to come in, and were excited to do so. That was a relief; I was a little worried that this would be like pulling teeth.
I arranged this myself. I called their HR managers to let them know what was going on. I think I made the mistake of explaining the project in too much detail to her. She appeared to have been multitasking at the same time, but pleasantly agreed to let the two learners off for the day. When I contacted them, I asked if the manager had told them what we were going to do.
Claudia said yes. And that she was excited to do a radio interview for the CBC.
I knew I should have comprehension-checked the HR manager! Regardless, I cleared it up with Claudia and Diego (who seemed more relaxed to know that it was not a live radio interview with CBC).
The Podcast Procedure
When I fired off an email to the media centre explaining my project, I was actually just wanting a microphone. Our lab has headsets with a mic attached, but only one person can record at a time.
So, I ended up with a monstrous mixer board which came with an encyclopedia of instructions, over 75 feet of cable, two standup microphones, and two other microphones whose purpose I could never entirely figure out. I used the program “Audacity” to do the recordings. The recordings could easily be converted into an MP3 file.
What Claudia & Diego Had To Say
I chose one learner who I knew already had some technological competence, and one who didn’t. Diego, the one who didn’t, was an interior designer and I was interested in his opinion on the layout of the program.
They both talked about the program’s user friendliness. Doing a task was fairly straight-forward. Diego wished he had known about all the units we never had time to do. He always did the front matter and didn’t know to scroll down to see what else was there. Looking through the LMS prior to the interview, Diego was surprised to encounter the other LINC tasks on the site – that was my fault. I should have made sure the class knew that there were many other activities on the site that they had access to that would help with their LINC 5-7 Reading/Writing/Listening skills.
Both are currently using technology in the workplace. Claudia is using several different computer programs; one is very cool. It’s the retailer’s colour-match program that involves taking a colour sample, scanning it, then working through the system to create the exact colour that the customer wants. I actually got to see her do this at the co-op a few days after the Podcast. She was beaming as she took me through the stages.
Diego took me through a product-search program on his workspace computer. He showed me how to enter the product code, and how to maneuver through the system to find out if the product is in the store. He did this with ease. This is the guy who sat at the computer on the first day of class with a deer-caught-in-headlights look in his face.
Diego and Claudia were under no obligation to approve or disapprove of the LMS. I had to press them to get them to talk about anything that they thought could be improved. Their overall impressions were that gaining confidence using technology was very important. Technology is used in the workplace, and the employer expects some understanding of basic computer functions. Using the LMS helped in this regard.
Also, making podcasts is relatively simple. I may be doing more of them in the future – sans 75 feet of cable and the 40 pound mixer.