Thing 10: Finding presentations and podcasts

Broadcasts, lectures and other information formats such as slideshows are available online more than ever before, and they can be an important and useful source of information for your own current awareness as well as for your teaching and research.

Podcasts are a great way to make available things like a series of talks, course lectures or training update videos. Podcasts are audio – or increasingly video – files broadcasted online (for example, recordings of radio programmes, lectures, readings, drama, interviews or music). You can usually listen to or view a podcast online, but they can also be downloaded, and you can usually subscribe to a series of podcasts via RSS so that it automatically downloads to your computer or mobile device (iTunes makes this easy).

Podcasts aren’t the only way to put presentations online, however; sites like Slideshare allow users to post presentations of all sorts. YouTube can also be a treasure trove of quality information.


1. Find some podcasts, and pick one or two to subscribe to. Some places to start:

  1. Browse for presentations in your area of interest on Slideshare(or alternatives such as Note & Pointand Speaker Deck.
  2. Investigate research and presentation material on YouTube. Try the TEDTalks channel, or course highlights from MIT.

Exploring further

Presentations and podcasts can serve as a great tool for expanding or updating your interests, however online learning has now evolved to the point where it is possible to receive semi-formal education in any topic, for free, from anywhere in the world. Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, are extremely popular and well respected. These highly interactive courses take place in a virtual classroom and can even have homework.

In fact, The New York Times called 2012 ‘the year of the MOOC’ as this was the year when some of the biggest providers were first established, namely Coursera, Udacity, and Future Learn.



Have a look at Coursera’s list of courses. Take note of the range of subjects offered and the varying depths of specific knowledge. Also note the course providers – some highly respected institutions in there, tutoring people for free!

Have you spotted any courses that might be valuable for you or your research? Perhaps there are courses that might improve your employability?


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