Prez Tech Challenge: Freshmen explore folklore through podcasting

Students in the PrezTech folklore podcasting group review their project in a library classroom during the PrezTech Challenge presentation day.

WASHINGTON, PA (Jan. 13, 2019) – Folklore was the basis of a First Year Seminar class, in which students combined storytelling and technical skills to create new podcasts.

Students in Dr. Kay McEvoy’s First Year Seminar class worked in groups to research, write, and record their own podcasts on the folklore topics of their choice, from leprechauns to tricksters to the origins of Dracula, and even the legend of Pittsburgh’s own 13 Bends Road.

“It was really interesting to learn how to tell stories in a different way,” said Daniel Gysi ’23. “It brings a whole new dimension to [storytelling]. It was new to think about where to add music, when to speak and when to pause.”

To learn the craft, they studied a master: author Aaron Mahnke, host of the podcasts Lore, and Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The students analyzed Mahnke’s cadence as he speaks, as well as the transitioning effects and music he uses to drive his storytelling and give his podcasts their signature tone.

They then researched their own topics using the skills they learned earlier in the semester, crafted their scripts, and started recording. They presented their completed podcasts to the campus community in December, and the recordings will be available online.

Gysi said learning how to navigate digital information will be useful throughout college, but also in jobs he may hold after graduation.

“This is a unique thing to have in a class,” he said.

This project was a part of Washington & Jefferson College’s PrezTech Challenge, which challenges faculty members at W&J to create student projects that showcase innovative uses of educational technology and/or information literacy in the classroom.

Read more PrezTech Challenge Stories:

Transforming Environmental Data Into Music

Recreating the Past: The History of W&J in Photos

Poetry in the Digital Age