Honors College students from Arkansas State University Three Rivers took a current trend and turned it into a class. This Fall, the students produced their own podcast called “Secrets from Room C115,”which is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor among others. Room C115 is the Honors College classroom and commons area. The four students planned, researched, recorded, and produced all the episodes. The podcast, the students explained, provides practical information for new and future college students, and includes information specifically related to ASUTR as well.
Each Honors College cohort gets to pick an elective course, so students were on the lookout for something interesting. HOCO scholars Christian Brashears and Erika Meredith attended a student leadership seminar at another area community college last year and met a fellow student who was a podcast editor. “She gave us the rundown on everything, and it sounded fun,” Meredith explained. Brashears agreed. He was already writing and recording podcast episodes for an honors history project and discovered that he enjoyed sharing knowledge through podcasting.
Tricia Baar, ASUTR’s Dean of Learning and Honors College Coordinator, said previous honors classes have selected Special Topics electives such as Soap and Candle Making, the History of Organized Crime, Foods, and Monsters of Literature. “We want the Honors College students to identify a course that would be beneficial to them, then we meet that need,” she explained. “It’s a great opportunity to get to pick and plan a class that we want to take, Brashears added.
“We didn’t want to do a sit-down lecture type of class,” explained Honors College student Edi Baker. “We wanted something more technical.” The students learned to use a podcasting app called Anchor to host their show and recorded and edited in a free audio program called Audacity. The class allowed students to further develop interview skills and their listening skills. “You never know how much noise one little tap on the desk or squeak of a chair can make until you’re editing audio,” quipped Honors College student Callista Glover.
Ronna Pennington, history instructor at ASUTR, was the instructor for the Special Topics class for the semester. While her master’s degree is in history, she had previous experience as a radio disc jockey and station manager and has done some podcasting herself. “It’s been great to watch these students grow as leaders and communicators this semester,” she said. COVID restrictions created some interesting obstacles. “The students could either record separately without their masks or together with them. Ultimately, they chose to record together wearing their facemasks because those discussions just seemed more natural.”