From CUNY Academic Commons


Spring 2008 Podcast Pilot at Lehman

Supplemental Instruction (SI): Anatomy & Physiology

This term, spring 2008, in preparation for the larger pilot project, we will be capturing Supplemental Instruction (SI) review sessions in Anatomy & Physiology to incorporate into Blackboard. Edited portions of the sessions will be accessible through the instructors’ Blackboard sites. These segments will allow students to view study strategies and concept mastery through peer-facilitated approaches to the material.

Group Review Sessions

SI provides group review sessions in historically difficult courses for all students interested in improving their study skills and mastery of course content. SI Leaders are model students who demonstrate academic success in the targeted SI courses. These student leaders are trained as peer facilitators and attend all classes of their assigned SI course in order to lead review sessions based on the instructor’s goals and methods. For more information on Supplemental Instruction at Lehman, please visit

Although the review sessions are based on face-to-face interactions and collaborative work, we believe that students can also benefit from seeing portions of these sessions linked to specific areas in which they would like additional review and alternative strategies for approaching the material. We will be able to track the number of views of the podcasts and provide some assessment of both the amount and frequency of usage at the end of the term. We will also distribute a survey to the students and instructors for responses to this initial phase of the project.

The Spring Pilot as Precursor

This spring, podcasts of the Anatomy & Physiology SI sessions will help us prepare for the larger project with the Chemistry courses over the next year. We will begin capturing course lectures during the intensive summer sessions as well as SI review sessions. These will be edited so that students will be able to view the entire lectures, portions of lectures dedicated to specific concepts and processes, and portions of review sessions with peer-facilitated strategies and discussion. Again, we will track views and distribute surveys for student and instructor responses.

We hope that by extending the combination of SI review sessions and course lectures in podcast form to other courses on campus and by making podcasting available for online and hybrid courses, we will increase student success and retention.

Project Criteria


Our pilot team for the spring project includes the Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator for Supplemental Instruction & Technology, the Online Education Coordinator, and the Assistant Manager for Media Technology Services. We are recording and editing Supplemental Instruction review sessions to incorporate as rich media on Blackboard. Our team is working to produce easily viewable and listenable segments for students to access explanations and models of course content and strategies. We are using semi-professional recording equipment to capture SI sessions and Apple supported tools for editing.


We have developed working relationships with the Anatomy & Physiology Course Coordinator and instructors as well as with the Course Coordinator for the beginning and intermediate level Accounting courses in addition to our collaboration with Online Education, Supplemental Instruction & Technology, and Media Technology Services. Several instructors and students in the identified courses have indicated interest in participating, and the SI Leaders and supervisors have worked together to create schedules and sessions most likely to benefit the students in those courses.

Creative, Usable Enhancements

We are working to develop a model for media-rich Blackboard sites that will include increased student and instructor access to a variety of downloadable materials for course support such as podcasts of SI review sessions and course lectures, presentation notes, handouts, and instructions, in addition to useful links to textbook-based websites and online resources. SI Leaders (peer educators) will be actively involved in helping to design materials and sessions that can be readily segmented and labeled to assist students in finding the material most needed for review. Instructors will work with SI Leaders and students to provide supporting materials for lectures and review. The SI Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator, Online Education Coordinator, and Assistant Manager for Media Technology Services will assist in scheduling, planning, and answering design and technical support questions.

Pedagogical Best Practices

The integration of media-rich resources with course lectures and peer-facilitated review sessions contributes to the shift from hierarchical to collaborative pedagogy, just as web and informal media are also shifting from vertical to horizontal practices. We are working toward a networked pedagogy that utilizes campus resources in connection with online sources of information and practices to create opportunities for students and instructors to choose from a variety of approaches and learning styles and to meet the need to understand increasingly complex scientific and business practice and knowledge. We believe this project will enhance the relationships among academic programs, student support services, and technology resources by contributing to increased student and instructor success in introductory science, mathematics, and business courses.

Technical Issues

The Technical Issues portion of our project for CUNY iTunes is quite minimal. The main technical obstacle seems to be the physical production location(s). In many cases, lighting is not correct, and the room acoustics are not optimal for producing broadcast quality audio and video. However, with the audio equipment that has been purchased we are optimistic that many of the actual technical issues will decrease greatly. Logistical Issues Our main challenges have been logistical, specifically in not having enough personnel to assist in gathering the content for this specific project as well as in delays due to departmental reshuffling and research determination processes.

Equipment Purchases

On the positive side, equipment has been purchased, or is in the process of being purchased to produce professional looking and sounding content for CUNY iTunes. The equipment includes, but is not limited to: HD Video Cameras, Wireless Microphones, Audio Mixer, Computer Hardware and Software. This equipment will afford us the opportunity to produce a product that students and possibly the general public would be interested in viewing, downloading, and saving for future reference.


Available Personnel

As we began recording SI sessions, we realized that there are multiple SI review sessions that take place at the same times on afternoons and evenings and not enough trained staff to operate the recording equipment. We plan not only to train more personnel to work with the camcorders and sound systems but also to choose the SI Review sessions that would benefit the greatest number of students. This may, and most likely will, change with each semester.

Faculty Assignments

We are also unable to work with the Chemistry Department faculty as soon as we would have liked due to changes in staff assignments. Instructors in the Accounting Program and Biology Department have expressed interest in participating; we plan to work with these courses while we plan our collaboration with Chemistry.


In the midst of our planning and initial recording of sessions, our College IRB office requested that we submit a full application after reviewing our responses to research determination questions. This has led to the discovery that some of our key personnel need to obtain or renew their CITI certification in order to participate in the project. Each of these challenges has helped us to develop a fuller sense of the long-term project and the importance of building strong relationships between academic departments and college support services. We anticipate that Lehman will integrate podcasting into its online and hybrid courses as well as more traditional classroom-based instruction.

New Blackboard Model

While we have been awaiting response to the IRB application, we have focused on creating a Blackboard model to support instructors’ use of the podcasts, both lectures and SI review sessions, in their courses. As our intent is to provide edited, labeled segments of course content for students to view accompanied by downloadable materials and strategies, we have used portions of the SI Leader Mid-term Training presentations, which include SI Leaders leading their peers in discussions of materials and strategies for the desired courses as well as a brief lecture by the director of the Math Lab on math thinking, to re-design the Blackboard model. The new model provides easy access for instructors and students to the podcast material and related resources as well as to helpful resources on campus and the web. Students and instructors will be able to use the Blackboard site as a gateway to the College and their academic needs.

We plan to present this model, including the rich media, for the May 30 deadline.