2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Digital Recording - Interviews & Oral Histories as an Assignment

M.E. (Peg) Achterman, Communication

"Interviewing" is a 5-credit (24 students) course within the Department of Communication and taught most years by teaching assistants. Many hands have contributed, but everyone agreed we needed to to get the students out doing real journalistic-style interviews with real people, but in a safe environment. This quarter Julie Holmchick and I worked with Harry Hayward of UW Info Services, developing a list of staff people who were open to an interview by a student pair.

  • the pairs were assigned and their subject chosen.
  • the students took an Olympus digital recorder (or sometimes their phones!) to the interview, with some set questions and some of their own.

We wanted to accomplish a several things in this exercise: As mentioned above, a real setting but a safe one; the creation and execution of an interview schedule; the technological know-how to carry this out.

When the interviews were completed the students uploaded their audio files to a site accessible by the instructor. We listened to the interviews, noting good and bad spots for discussion. We then met with each pair and played these parts of the interview back and discussed their impressions of the interview sessions. The interview was marked (both members getting the same score) on a rubric including quality of questions, question pitfalls, openings/closings, and general demeanor.

The students did an exceptional job with this assignment. They all commented that it was a tremendous learning experience to go out and practice with someone and use their new-found skills. The interviewees have all commented on their professionalism and poise.

We would like to encourage others with the use of this technique -- use of the digital recording/upload - as it can be used in any course where an oral history or patient/participant interview is important.




Index of Symposium Presenters