Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealand's - Universal College of Learning (UCOL)

Purpose — This concurrent mixed methods study aims to collect quantitative data indicating current levels of podcast usage, demographics of those using podcasts, technologies used and perceptions of the podcasts. It also aims to collect qualitative data providing an expanded understanding on perceptions of the podcasts and suggestions for future enhancements. Design/methodology/approach — Six sample podcasts were recorded and made available via New Zealand's UCOL — Universal College of Learning — web site in MP3 format. The target population was staff and students of UCOL. A web-based survey instrument was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data with 86 complete responses received. Findings — Results showed that there were differences found between the groups surveyed in perceptions and use of the library instructional podcasts. The majority of respondents thought the podcasts were "very good" with 71.1 per cent in favour of them. The most helpful podcast topics were identified, suggestions for future podcast topics were made, device ownership and required technologies were investigated, preferred times and places for listening to podcasts was ascertained and advantages and disadvantages were determined. The conclusion reached was that podcasting for library instruction does provide benefits and should be pursued. Research limitations/implications — Participants were self-selected on a non-random basis. For these reasons and also due to the low response rate it was not possible to stratify the sample set or generalise results. This method of selection may also have caused a bias in answers towards those already interested in podcasting technology. Originality/value — As podcasting is a new phenomenon for libraries, little is known about its usage and perceived benefits especially in New Zealand. This research offered an opportunity to fill a small gap in the knowledge of the usage and perceptions of podcasting and future potential as a medium for library instruction. This study was intended as an intermediary step and further research is therefore needed to gain a full picture.

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