ESL Podcasting Project @ ISU

Teaching ESL listening comprehension through podcasting

Zion National Park

Project overview

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular in higher education. Many colleges and universities are starting to provide their students with podcasts of recorded class lectures. While this use of podcasts allows for more student control and flexibility of learning, we feel that podcasting holds more promise for the classroom teacher than simply recording and allowing students to listen to academic lectures. Thanks to a grant from the Iowa State Center for Online Learning, this exciting project aims to integrate podcasts into the ESL classroom, beginning with an academic listening course. On this project website, you can learn more about the process we're going through in creating and integrating educational podcasts into the ESL listening course at Iowa State University.

Most international students arriving at Iowa State University are required to take an English Placement Test (EPT) designed to determine if students require additional instruction in English in order to succeed in their studies. The available courses offered by the English Department at ISU cover subjects such as academic writing, academic reading strategies, and academic listening strategies. The focus of this project is on enhancing the existing academic listening courses by re-organizing the current curriculum and by integrating both audio and video podasting assignments.

As part of this innovative use of podcasting to complement instruction, we plan to create audio and video podcasts that are tightly integrated into the curriculum and will foster and enhance the concepts and skills addressed in class.

This project was funded by the Iowa State Center for Online Learning, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) facility charged with supporting LAS faculty in the development, use and, evaluation of on-line instructional materials.

While primarily targeting students enrolled in English 099L (about 80 annually), these materials will also be available for teachers of English 180, Communication Skills for International Teaching Assistants, in order to provide students with samples of real speech that would assist in improving students’ pronunciation and fluency in English for teaching purposes.

PodcastListen to our course podcast

About the project team

Volker HegelheimerVolker Hegelheimer, Project Director, is currently an associate professor in the Ph.D. Program in Applied Linguistics and Technology and the M.A. Program in Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics at Iowa State University. He teaches graduate courses on technology in language teaching and research. His research interests include applications of the WWW and emerging technologies in language learning and language testing and his publications have appeared in Language Testing, System, CALICO Journal, Computer Assisted Language Learning, ReCALL, and Language Learning & Technology.


Anne O'BryanAnne O'Bryan, Project Assistant, is a Ph.D. student in Applied Linguistics and Technology at Iowa State University. Her research interests include integrating technology into the classroom, helping students make effective use of CALL materials, using new technologies for language teaching and language learning strategies.

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