Podcasting as a Learning Outcome

Latin American Studies 303 is a topics course at the University of British Columbia that examines Indigenous Peoples in Latin America. In Spring 2020, students dedicated the semester to learning about how neoliberal globalization has affected the labour and livelihood of Indigenous groups throughout Latin America, focusing particularly on the Shipibo-Conibo people of the Amazon, the Quechua of the Andes, the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) of the Sierra Madre Occidental (northern Mexico), and the Mayan peoples of Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico and Central America). Throughout the semester, we discussed how each of these groups, while often bilingual and literate in both their native language and Spanish/Portuguese, have traditionally participated in non-orthographic forms of knowledge transmission. These knowledge systems vary from group to group, and may include the use of textiles, quipu, orality, and visual art, among other practices.

In an effort to put into practice what we learned in LAST303, the final project entailed creating an informative and respectful podcast episode that incorporates and expands on what students learned throughout the semester. These podcast episodes were done in groups, and students determined how to divide up tasks equitably. Throughout the semester, students participated in five “podcast tutorials,” during which they learned various skills that would serve them as they designed, scripted, recorded, and edited their final podcast episode.

There were reflection posts for each assignment, and students created two practice segments that implemented skills they had learned. Following “Podcast Tutorial 2,” students created an interview segment with a guest. This was also their first chance to edit in Audacity and incorporate music and sound effects in a short segment. The following three tutorials imparted various skills: outlining and scripting a narrative segment; reporting on Indigenous communities; and legally incorporating music and sound effects. Students then combined these new skills in a segment on “visual language,” and they selected an artifact at the UBC Museum of Anthropology to describe and use as a starting point to go into more detail about the history and traditions of their assigned Indigenous culture. As you’ll hear in the audio segments on this blog (available under the “Visual Language” tab above), the results are impressive.

We hope you enjoy learning about the Shipibo-Conibo, Quechua, Rarámuri, and Mayan peoples through these segments and episodes. Likewise, I hope you take a moment to get to know the students of LAST303 who put so much time, energy, and creativity into these podcast episodes. Enjoy!

Author bio: Tamara Mitchell is Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies at UBC, where she teaches and conducts research on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Her favourite podcasts are Hablemos EscritorasRadio Ambulante, and Making Sense. She was invited to reflect on podcasting as a pedagogical tool for Humanities in Transition. If you are interested in implementing podcasting as a learning outcome in your course, Tamara has made her teaching materials available under “Tutorials.”