Podcasts for research and higher ed

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source:  Spencer Greenhalgh

I do a lot of research as part of my professional life and listen to a lot of podcasts as part of my personal life. I enjoy both of these parts of my life, so I was pleased to see the two worlds collide recently. While coding some tweets from the #educattentats hashtag (which I’ve written about previously), I noticed that one referenced Rue des écoles, a French radio show / podcast on the subject of education. Podcasts are one of my main resources for keeping up with / improving my French, and since I work in the field of education, I figured this was a great candidate to add to Overcast, my podcast app of choice. As I began listening to the most recent episode (while continuing to code), something jumped out at me: The host mentioned that the show had its own hashtag, #RDE. For a radio show or podcast to have a dedicated hashtag isn’t surprising, but I’d actually seen this hashtag in some of the tweets I’d been coding and had been confused as to what it was a reference to.

So, in short, not only did my professional research add something fun to my personal life, but that addition to my personal life actually ended up enhancing my research. This is a particularly exciting case of that happening, but there are actually a few podcasts I listen to that provide support for my research, teaching, and other professional activities, so I thought I’d recommend a few here:

Mac Power Users is about productivity with Apple products. That’s narrow enough of a focus that it won’t be helpful for everyone, but since I’m (for better or worse) pretty invested in the Apple ecosystem, it’s been helpful for me in thinking about productivity. Most of the work isn’t specifically about academia and higher ed, though a recent episode did touch on teaching workflows with OSX and iOS.

The MSU HUBCast may be an obvious pick, since it has clear connections with my institution and since I know some of the people involved, but it’s been great to listen to what’s going on at an organization whose mission is to think about and shake up intersections between teaching, technology, and higher ed.

R World News is all about R, my statistics package/programming language of choice. There are only two episodes out, and there haven’t been any for a couple of weeks, so this might be too hasty of a recommendation, but I’m not very good at keeping up with the R world through RSS, Twitter, or any of my other news sources, so being able to have this put a bug in my ear about news in the field looks helpful.

re:learning is a podcast from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that takes a look at news and changes in higher education. Since that’s the world I’m going into, I think this is an important way to stay informed.

Research in Action is about all things research. This is also a newer podcast, but it’s been good about keeping me thinking about methods, research/teaching balance, and other important issues for my career.

So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast isn’t explicitly dedicated to academia and higher ed, but it’s produced by an organization that thinks specifically about institutions of higher ed, and it covers a topic that is increasingly being debated on campuses around the country.

Teaching in Higher Ed is a delightful podcast that gets me excited about teaching my own face-to-face classes. It’s full of interesting ideas and great advice for teaching and productivity in a higher ed setting.

What’s the Point is from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and does a great job of keeping me thinking about statistics and data—two things that I didn’t think about a lot in my former life as a French teacher but that are now daily concerns.

I’m always looking for more podcasts that will help me bridge my personal hobbies with my professional life—if you know of any others, please let me know!

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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.

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