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Flora Watson introduces a new podcasting service from Biz/ed and Angela Joyce reports on the latest developments in the Eurostudies section of SOSIG.

Biz/ed Introduces Podcasting Service

Biz/ed has recently launched a podcasting service, based on its popular In the News [1] feature, a regular comment on a topical issue from a business and economics viewpoint. Selected stories are being podcasted on a weekly basis, which students and educators will then be able to download and listen to at their leisure.

Why Podcast?

The aim of the new service is twofold. Firstly, part of Biz/ed's philosophy is to cater for different learning styles. For instance, the recent additions to the site, the Cash Flow Simulation and the Interest Rate Transmission Mechanism resources, both use interactive Flash animations in order to engage the user with the concepts being explained. The site's new Level 2 resources engage by making use of 'type in' text boxes and 'drag and drop' exercises.

The introduction of podcasting is an extension of this approach of engaging the user. Biz/ed recognises that some learners may process information more effectively aurally, rather than visually.

Secondly, this move is part of Biz/ed's longer-term commitment to mobile learning. It is the first in a series of podcasts that the site intends to offer in the coming months. Biz/ed recognises the potential for learning through PDAs, mobile phones and iPods, and the flexibility they provide for students to make the most of their time. For instance, students could listen to In the News while sitting on the bus or doing the dishes!

What is Podcasting?

Podcasting is a method of publishing audio broadcasts (usually MP3 files) via the Internet. It allows users to subscribe so they automatically receive new broadcasts as they are published.

Biz/ed recognises that podcasting is a new concept for many educators. For this reason, the site has produced some easy-to-follow help pages. These explain what podcasting is, as well as how to subscribe to the service.

The team at Biz/ed are also on hand to answer queries from educators and students from technical issues through to the pedagogical use of the resource. Biz/ed is very interested in feedback from educators on their experience of using the podcasts in order to refine this and future podcasting services.

Visit the Biz/ed Podcasting [2] pages to learn more.

SOSIG EuroStudies Section

The EuroStudies [3] section of SOSIG was set up in 2001, to provide more focus on Internet resources covering European matters in the social sciences.

Structure of EuroStudies

EuroStudies is a growing selection of over 3,000 quality European Web sites compiled by SOSIG section editors. It can be browsed as a whole, by European Union sites only, European regions or individual countries. It can also be searched by keyword. The aim is to list key sites for each country - with a minimum of: government Web site, statistical office, central bank, European Documentation Centre and recent treaties. However, there is much more than this available: for example, European research projects, news services, specialist email lists and collections of academic Web resources. The former communist countries of Eastern Europe are also well represented.

Many sites have an English version, although some are in other European languages. Each of these Web sites can also appear in other SOSIG subject sections. For example, the Republic of Austria site can also be found in the SOSIG Politics section.

European Union information

A major focus of our activity is finding and listing European Union information [4]. With such a volume of EU online material available, and not always in user-friendly formats, we aim to find the best of the Web for users and organise it in a meaningful way. Thus, you can view sites by resource type, eg. data collections, government publications or organisations; or you can view an alphabetical listing. Material ranges in scope from absolute beginners' guides like the popular leaflet Key Facts and Figures about the European Union [5] to regular news services like EurActiv [6] or new services for researchers such as the Researcher's Mobility Portal [7] which provides information on research vacancies throughout the EU. We regularly add sites on EU enlargement and other EU policies. We list major sections or pages from the European Commission site, Europa, to enable easy access to this sometimes bewildering resource.

Keeping up with EuroStudies

What's New in EuroStudies [8] is a blog-style service that is ideal for the busy lecturer, librarian or researcher who wants to keep up to date on recent developments in the European arena. It is written by SOSIG section editors and provides analysis and useful Web addresses on topical items. Recent features have included the German elections, Baltic region resources, e-literacy for European studies students and researching European Union information.

EuroStudies Editing

SOSIG Research Officer Angela Joyce, a languages graduate, edits the section with input from other SOSIG section editors. She is currently 'weeding' all sites in the section and then plans to develop it further. She will be collaborating with the user community and other services such as the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, plus the Languages Editor of Humbul. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact her.

References

  1. Biz/ed In The News http://www.bized.ac.uk/dataserv/chron/
  2. Biz/ed Podcasting http://www.bized.ac.uk/homeinfo/podcasting.htm
  3. SOSIG EuroStudies section http://www.sosig.ac.uk/eurostudies/
  4. SOSIG EU information http://www.sosig.ac.uk/roads/subject-listing/EuroStudies-cat/euu/alphalist.html
  5. Key Facts and Figures about the European Union http://europa.eu.int/comm/publications/booklets/eu_glance/44/index_en.htm
  6. EurActiv http://www.euractiv.com/
  7. Researcher's Mobility Portal http://europa.eu.int/eracareers/index_en.cfm
  8. What's New in EuroStudies http://www.sosig.ac.uk/roads/whats-new.euro.html

Author Details

Flora Watson
Biz/ed Content Editor
ILRT
University of Bristol

Email: flora.watson@bristol.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.bized.ac.uk/

Angela Joyce
SOSIG Research Officer
ILRT
University of Bristol

Email: angela.joyce@bristol.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.sosig.ac.uk/

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Date published: 
30 October 2005

This article has been published under copyright; please see our access terms and copyright guidance regarding use of content from this article. See also our explanations of how to cite Ariadne articles for examples of bibliographic format.

How to cite this article

Flora Watson. "Planet-SOSIG". October 2005, Ariadne Issue 45 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/planet-sosig/


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