Website Improvements

As you might have noticed, the OralPod website has been greatly improved. Aside from a new look, it also has many new features, such as the ability to register and upload your own podcast, subscribe to podcasts and browse by semester. Hope you enjoy!

Update 7: The Final Countdown

After weeks of brainwrecking creativity, hours of practicing, recording and editing we are proud to say that all groups have finished their podcasts.
Only a few of them will be published on this blog. The students had to decide whether they wanted their podcast online or not. Several groups agreed to publish their amazing work and we couldn´t be more happy to inform you that on 10th of September we will hit the “GO-button” and publish them.

You can then choose whether you would like to download the podcasts or rather stream them.

We (and the groups who worked so hard to produce something that is creative as well as informative) would love to read your comments on the podcasts.

So watch this place!

Kirsten & Marc

Coming Soon

In the future this blog will feature:

  • Behind the scenes footage: “What is recording a podcast really like”
  • Example Scripts from selected groups
  • Updates on post production and podcast editing
  • An audio-streaming service
  • A “How to Podcast”manual
  • Eventually the complete “OralPod Summer 2012 Edition

We are trying our best to deliver a user-friendly experience, which can be easily accessed and provide all the interesting information you are looking for regarding the project. If you feel something is missing or things could be improved, please let us know. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy this blog and are as exicted as we are about the upcoming features.

And as always, feel free to leave feedback in the comment section below.

We’ll be back soon!

Kirsten & Marc

Update 5: Pre-Recording

Hi everyone,

Today will be all about practice and getting the students ready for their first recording session. In the past couple of weeks the groups have worked on producing original texts on their topic and turn them into “detailed pronounciation guides”. Now it is time to put their work into action.

The students are now asked to read out their texts and practice as a group. The main focus is on pronounciation and word stress in order to give the scripted version a more natural touch. Exercises for the students include, reading texts with different emphasis on intonation and accent or acting out their “conversations” / texts like it were actual scripts for a movie.

By doing that we are trying to give the students the opportunity to get used to talking about their topics freely and more naturally. The scripts are now used as a guideline in order to correct pronounciation mistakes and to avoid grammatical errors. It is our goal that students may present their final version of the topic without using the scripts too much or even at all.

We’ll be back soon with the first recordings and behind the scenes material from the studio.

So, stay tuned!

Kirsten & Marc

Update 4: Scripted Conversations

Hi guys,

Today will be all about “scripted” conversations. As you are aware all groups of our project are required to at least partly script their conversation for the final recording sessions. Some may wonder, whis is that so?

Well, the answer is quite simple. On the one hand it is the most efficient way (method) of recording a good quality podcast without having any radio or professional recording knowledge. Even though a podcast is shaped like a radioshow, it is rather unprofessional and has a relatively personal attitude towards the audience that is achieved mostly through natural conversation.

On the other hand, a scripted conversation is the only way for us to really measure improvement of spoken English by objective standards and give advice on how to further develop a more natural sounding English.

In addition, a script may help the students to feel more comfortable and confident at first until they are used to speaking freely about their topic while being recorded.

That’s it for this week, so stay tuned for more information!

Until next week!

Kirsten & Marc

Update 3: Creative Writing

Hi everybody,

This week’s update is all about writing. We are currently entering the first important stage of our project. The students are now assigned to write a short draft of a conversation based on their topic. Within a time limit of about 5 minutes they can write (talk) about whatever they want concerning their chosen topic.

At the moment the groups try to figure out, which speaker roles will be present in the podcast and how to organize and structure their texts. At this stage of the project it is vital for everybody to work together and create a first scripted version of their conversation.

Later on the students will be asked to mark specific parts in their script in order to help them with pronounciation. For example, students may use symbols to indicate pauses or a rise and fall in their voice. This technique will help us to get done quickly in the recording studio and deliver a high quality conversation on tape.

If you have questions about the current progress of the project, please feel free to leave a comment. We will be back shortly with more information on the podcasts and some first examples of scripts.

Have a nice week!

Kirsten & Marc

Update 2: Forming Groups

Hello people,

This week, after discussing the different topics possible in this project, the students are asked to form small groups in order to work together on a little segment of the podcast.

Each group will eventually contribute a small 5 minute segment to the overall podcast. The groups are designed in a way that not more than 4-5 people work together on their segment in order to keep everything within the time limit and give everybody the possibily to speak up.

In this early stage of the project most students don’t really know what to expect and are quite excited about whats coming next. First of all the groups are required to create a short introduction for themselves and their chosen topics. Following that each group will work on a short scripted conversation that has to be used in the podcast recording.

We’ll be back with more information next week!

Kirsten & Marc

Update 1: Introduction and Theme

Hi guys,

We are back with our first update on the project. This week we will discuss the broader topic of the project and it’s intended audience.

First of all, the project is part of “Oral Skills” a seminar offered to English majors at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf in order to improve their spoken English. The seminars are held to give students more confidence and diversity when speaking English among each other and in possible future careers.

The podcast project is a final step for young students to get their English out into the world and to experience natural English conversations in a non-English environment.

America & Canada: North-American Studies

This term’s theme will be North-American studies. All students will create podcasts within this broad field of possible topics. Whether they want to talk about movies, literature, music or other cultural phenoma is completely up to them. You might hear a podcast on South Park and the depiction of Americans as well as Canadians or a fictional interview with one of America’s greatest authors. There are plenty of options and we already see some very interesting ideas coming up.

That is it for this week’s OralPod news. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions.

Have a nice week!

Kisten & Marc

Update 6: In the recording studio

Hi guys,

Today we are coming to you almost live from the recording studio of the HHU. The first groups have already recorded their podcast segements and we are just about to get into the next recording session.

For many students, being in a recording studio was a first. While a lot may know what a studio looks like from TV or their favourite CD’s booklet, standing in the booth for yourself the first time can be quite uncomfortable. That is why it is vital to keep everyone in a good mood and make them feel comfortable.

After the first awkward moment of hearing their own voice through the professional headphones, everyone was able to deliver their podcast “speech”.

So stay tuned and watch this place for the results!

Kirsten & Marc

Oral Skills Podcast Project

Hello and Welcome!

This is the Offical Oral Skills Podcast Webblog. We are currently a group of ~ 150 students involved in a podcast project of the English Department of the HHU. This blog keeps you updated on the project and the individual podcasts.

Are you interested to hear more about the project? Please feel free to ask questions and leave feedback.

For now, we are back in the recording studio ;)

Stay Tuned!

Kirsten & Marc