One topic that has interested me for a long time is the possibility of college professors recording and podcasting their classes so that others could more freely listen to the class.

It seems to me that while the audience for a lot of these classes would be small, extra exposure to good classes would be a great thing. And there are quite a few people actually doing it (among other places at iTunes U).  But what does it cost (in terms of time and money) to broadcast one’s class to the world?

That is part of the subject of a paper I published a year ago with some of my colleagues at BYU. The short version is that using WordPress (course website), a wiki (course participation), student blogs (posting homework assignments and discussion) and Profcast, blip.tv, and iTunes (lecture material) a course we studied was relatively easily assembled and distributed.

In this case we weren’t just talking about podcasts, but also setting up ways for students to interact with learners at a distance.

It took David Wiley (a techno-wizard) practically no time to set it all up. My rough guess is it would take 10-20 hours for a semi-technically competent person to get all these things set up. But a TA could help!

It’s amazing to me that ten years ago it would have been both financially and technically prohibitive to create a course that could be shared with learners at a distance. However, the use of a few free or inexpensive tools can now create the spaces necessary to extend one’s classroom to participants around the world.

We also explored how learners at a distance utilized these resources. But I think those details are for another post…

An open version of the article is available.

Thanks to Distance Education for allowing an open version. The citation is:  J. Hilton, C. R. Graham, P. Rich, D. Wiley, (2010). Using Online Technologies to Extend a Classroom to Learners at a Distance. Distance Education, 31(1), p. 77-92.