January 7, 2016

Podcast Assignment

For this assignment you are asked to create a podcast that makes a well-researched and supported argument using digital audio technologies. You can choose any topic of your interest that may have been discussed in class or addressed (even peripherally) in the readings or films. Topics may include but are not limited to: women’s technological work in the military; the role of the family, domestic issues, and gender expectations for human computers; race and midcentury technology work; colonial politics and networked infrastructure, etc. The podcast itself will be posted to the course site as part of an archive on digital labor learning materials.

For the form and genre of your podcast you may consider creating an informational OR dialogic podcast. In other words, you may choose to do research and recount narratively and in some depth about a topic, OR you can interview someone. Since we cover some historical era and topics, you may choose to work with a partner and perform different historical figures. You are welcome to play with form and tone.

You will be graded according to a rubric we develop as a class, but which will include caliber of research, audio quality, editing, etc.. Your graded presentation will include the podcast itself along with your written script and a written reflection that includes a rhetorical analysis of your choices, as well as ideas about how this project may have enhanced your understanding of digital labor, electronic rhetoric, audience, strategy and arrangement.


The purpose of creating a digital podcast is multiple:

(1) to give you exposure to new forms of digital media and software;

(2) to gain first-hand experience with copyright and licensing issues;

(3) to learn more about a topic of interest related to the course, to research, and then produce an organized, logical, and convincing audio argument.

Minimum Requirements for your Podcast

  • Length: Minimum of 5 minutes, but no more than 15 minutes
  • The podcast will be accompanied by your written script and critical reflection on the process, and a works cited (to be published with the podcast). That reflection might include your answers to questions such as the following:
    • Why did you make the artistic choices you did when creating your podcast?
    • What surprised you about the technical aspects of creating a podcast?
    • What surprised you about the artistic and rhetorical aspects of creating a podcast?
    • What did you discover when you created your own podcast?
    • What did this project help to teach you (or help you realize) about electronic rhetoric and communication? about the differences between this and written communication? about getting beyond the words?
    • How did scripting, recording, editing, and publishing your podcast help you understand different elements of digital content creation and digital labor?
  • Includes intro and outro music.
    1. Use either Creative Commons, Public Domain, or your own original music, OR you may use commercial music if it falls within Fair Use.
  • Is well researched, narratively tight, and features a strong argument.
  • Sound is well edited for audio quality: removes distracting background noise, wind, popped ps, etc.

Assignment Rubric


  1. Conceptualize: What do you want to do? What do you want to achieve? What are some sample podcasts you’d like to model yours after?
  2. Composition: Research, outline, write. Keep in mind that 1 page double spaced will be about 2 minutes read aloud (give or take, depending on your reading speed).
  3. Collect samples, clear copyright, figure out licensing and citational information.
  4. Before recording, rehearse and practice multiple times. You can go back and edit your recording afterward, but it is also easier to work with a file that is cleaner, has fewer pauses, “ums”, etc.
  5. Record with a clear, audible, even, and slowly paced voice.
    1. I recommend the use of Audacity, which is a free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing audio. You are also welcome to use GarageBand or alternate audio editing software if you are comfortable with something else.
  6. Mix your samples, interviews, dialogue, music, etc. into a final podcast.
  7. Create a SoundCloud account. If you already have an account, you may use an existing one. Your SoundCloud Account will be where you upload your final podcast (don’t forget a featured image), which will then be embedded to your own site, and then the course blog.
    1. SoundCloud supports a rage of audio file types but we recommend MP3 or Mp4.
  8. Embed your final podcast to your own site and on the course site. Include your written component and citations in blog format with your podcast.
  9. Turn in a hard copy of your written analysis to the instructor for evaluation.

Sample Student Podcasts

“Female Techies” by Amyleigh Hoffine

“There’s a First Time for Everything” by Katherine Perez and Stephanie Okuaki

Sample Podcasts

Stuff You Missed in History Class of Night Witches

Another Round interview of Audie Cornish

This American Life: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, SAY iN ALL CAPS” 

Culture360 with Mark Anthony Neal about Trump & Preachers, #BlackonCampus, Cam’s Dab


Much of this prompt was modified from a Writing 501 site by Jo Koster.