I recently made a trip to Orlando, FL for the 2015 OLC International Conference on Online Learning. A great conference, the venue provides excellent opportunities for networking, seeing what others have done or are doing, and for expanding knowledge on a variety of subjects related to non-traditional education.
When following the Twitter feed (I’m @jernstberger, by the way), I was blown away to see something that was going to happen–a podcast was going to be recorded and I could be a part of it and watch the dynamics. I couldn’t miss it.
Two educators from the University of Central Flordia, Kelvin Thomas(@kthompso) and Tom Cavanagh (@tbcavanagh), are the hosts of the TOPcast Podcast. The ‘TOP’ in ‘TOPcast’ stands for “teaching online podcast”. By coincidence, I had found this podcast about two weeks earlier while search for feeds related to online learning. The show is available at http://online.ucf.edu/teach-online/professional-development/topcast/.
Each week, with a light-hearted relation of a specific coffee blend to their topic of the podcast, this duo talks about issues that generate genuine curiosity surrounding online learning in higher ed. At this point in higher education most people shy away from asking the “rookie questions”, but these two guys have been upfront and clear. They can do this with confidence because their educations and professions lie with the burgeoning field of online learning. For many of us who are learning as we go, it’s nice to have colleagues like these in our corner.
So far, my favorite two podcasts (a full episode list is found here) are the ones on blended learning (episode three and episode four). The best explanation I’ve truly heard of blended learning was given in those episodes: think of online learning with strategic, in-person meetings.
Podcasts are great tools for growth. While in cars, out for runs, or just doing the dishes, we can use that time to grow in regards to something we’re passionate about or about things we have to learn for our professions. Online instruction is the passion and profession for many of us. For those of us who have a profession that continues to intrigue us, the TOPcast podcast is an excellent podcast to put in your subscription list.
Kelvin and Tom are only on episode six, but episode seven is coming out soon. Don’t miss it–I was there when it was recorded and you might even hear me giving applause in the background.