New podcast series about technology

Theories can be difficult to understand, so how can students become really engaged in them? Master students at the University of Stavanger prepared and hosted a four episode podcast series about theory and technology. The initiative is part of TekLab's exploration of pedagogical methods.
The course leaders visited the podcast studio and talked with the nervous students. Professor Raul Ferrer Conill, Klara Pettersson, Solveig Aanensen Kleven, Tanita Ngueaknam and professor Helle Sjøvaag. Photo: Lars Nyre.
Publisert: 26. november 2023

Listen to the podcast series here: Diskutek: Technology


TekLab Diskutek

This autumn professor II at UiS Lars Nyre tested the method called "TekLab Diskutek" at the master course DIG501: Media, Data and Society, in collaboration with course leaders professor Helle Sjøvaag and professor Raul Ferrer Conill. The course is part of the brand new master program Digital Society and Societal Transformations.

TekLab contributors Lone Nyløkken and Nora Storebø produced and published the podcast. They also produced the podcasts at the television and multimedia bachelor in 2022 and 2023. Associate professor Nadine Zoghbi created the  jingle and helped out with the production.

Associate professor Nadine Zoghbi helped TekLab associate Lone Nyløkken produce the podcast series. Photo: Lars Nyre.

Speaking is understanding

Students speak less and less, some lecturers say. They write reflection notes and exam essays, but rarely discuss with complex academic issues with each other and rarely formulate their own thoughts about the topics. TekLab Diskutek wants to stimulate students' ability to express themselves precisely and critically.


The ChatGPT group is miked up before the recording begins: Stefan Jekic, Kristoffer Avaldsnes Gilje, producer Lone Nyløkken, Gordon Yeung, producer Nadine Zoghbi and Shalini Premachandran Frøiland. Photo: Lars Nyre.

Nervous, but focused

There was a lot of nervous laughter among the students, but everybody was sharply focused on the task and performed well.

– This is a sound check, says Lone the producer. Everybody must state their name so I can write it down for each of the microphones. Don't be too quick about it!

– Uff! The sound in the headset is too loud, one student said.

– I get more nervous by having a headset on and hearing myself, I want to talk without it.

– I want to have it on, another student said. - It makes me feel more professional.

The TikTok group: Klara Pettersson, Solveig Aanensen Kleven and Tanita Ngueaknam. Photo: Lars Nyre.

Reflections on technology

The aim of TekLab Diskutek is to make students reflect on the forces behind new technology, and some of the theoretical frameworks that exist in the field. Students should have a realistic understanding of how new technology emerges, and this was Lars Nyre's task at DIG501.

– Sociology and media studies do not provide a balanced understanding of technology development at present. There is a strong belief in social forces, while technological forces are almost completely absent from theory, says Nyre.

TekLab Diskutek is an experiment with public dialogue. It aims to facilitate critical discussion among the students themselves. Students were supposed to gain an improved ability to talk about abstract theory, and to link it with concrete, but complex technology. They should be able to defend a position when faced with opposing views, based on the merit of arguments.

The Google Maps group: Mari Fatland Kvalevåg, Muhammed Redwan and Magnus Rengård Kolstad. Photo: Lars Nyre.

An unfamiliar format

We asked course leaders Helle Sjøvaag and Raul Ferrer Conill what they think about this experiment with podcasting as a mandatory assignment.

– I can see the benefit of working with unexpected and unfamiliar formats. The students take more charge of their own learning and have engaged actively with the theories. A podcast requires that you boil things down to simple statements. They really have to know what they are talking about in order to do so, says professor Sjøvaag.

– What is your impression of the students? Did they take it seriously?

– The students did an excellent job. They put in a lot of work, with near professional results. I am super impressed with how seriously they engaged with the material. They managed to communicate difficult thoughts in their own words, which really is what demonstrates critical and analytical skills.

Would you do it again?

– The learning curve of such an exercise is steep, but the students have done extremely well. I would absolutely do it again, says Helle Sjøvaag.

– Compared to written assignments, what are the benefits and downsides of podcasting?

– Where to start, says Raul. – This type of assignment requires that the students write a script where they connect societal issues with theoretical concepts in a narrative that is both accessible and interesting. On top of that, the students have to record the actual podcast and try to make something that others can enjoy. The satisfaction from producing the podcast alone makes this approach so much better than written assignments.

– Is it realistic to have podcasting as a regular feature of theoretical master courses?

– I think it could be a permanent tool in the course toolkit. The format may be difficult to run with larger groups, so it will depend a bit on how many students we have. But with such a successful first try, I expect we will try it again next year, says Raul Ferrer Conill.

An ongoing pedagogical exploration

The method has been tested for two years with students at the bachelor in television and multimedia production at UiS, with university lecturer Sigmund Trageton as the project leader. The first series was produced in the spring of 2022, and the students discussed The Matrix (1999). Round two was produced in the spring of 2023, and this time the students discussed Batman - The Dark Night Rises (2008).

– Our experience after two iterations of TekLab Diskutek is good, says Sigmund Trageton. – At first, the students find it difficult to discuss formal topics among themselves, but they gradually relax and become more vocal. It takes time to get used to discussing the topic at hand in an open and explorative way.

The CCTV group: Ioana Bucur, Ida Christina Saeedi, Ellen Hjorth Endresen, Knut Martin Solvig and Julian Nilsen. Photo: Lars Nyre.

Diskutek: Technology

  • Diskutek sesong 3 - DIG501
    TikTok - Episode 1
    • TikTok - Episode 1

      TikTok - Episode 1

      Nov 26, 2023 • 14:05

    • ChatGPT - Episode 2

      ChatGPT - Episode 2

      Nov 26, 2023 • 27:58

    • Google Maps - Episode 3

      Google Maps - Episode 3

      Nov 26, 2023 • 27:35

    • CCTV - Episode 4

      CCTV - Episode 4

      Nov 26, 2023 • 11:51


    Publisert: 26. november 2023
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