Monday, January 23, 2012

U of I professor uses Beatles as a teaching tool

Michael Cheney, a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is no newcomer when it comes to computer classes.

The problem with online learning is that since students have different learning styles, you need to try different things to reach them, said Cheney. “Oral is one element. Since I’m not a big books-on-tape guy because I get tired of listening after 25 minutes, I suspected that students might be the same,” he said.

Cheney decided that three to five minutes was the ideal length for podcasts he offered to students. As a child of the 60s, Cheney mined the iconic Beatles for his podcast material. But Beatles history — not their music — is what he captured in the podcasts. “We covered subjects such as ‘Why Liverpool?’ and ‘What’s skiffle?’ among other topics,” he said. Cheney even devoted a four-minute podcast to the “Paul is Dead” controversy from the 60s.

At the end of 2010, Cheney’s Beatle podcast series was listed as the second most downloaded podcast on iTunes U, a service offered through Apple that distributes free educational content to students as well as anyone who finds a topic that interests them.

Cheney was featured in an January 20, 2012, Peoria Journal-Star blog post.

Read the full post online