Discovering UCDscholarcast

Following almost nine years under the radar, Alexander Glover tells us the values of UCDscholarcast.[br]A lot of the time, university lecturers are experts in specific subjects. When asked to lecture they usually have a broad syllabus that they must cover within the relatively short period of twelve weeks. For many, they never get a chance to share all they really know on a subject. If students want to delve deeper into the depths of a lecturer’s knowledge (and that of other experts), UCDscholarcast offers them the opportunity to do so. As its own website says “The objective is to broaden the impact of academic scholarship”.According to the website, “UCDscholarcast is a Digital Humanities project dedicated to the dissemination of academic research in the field of Irish Studies and adjacent disciplines through podcasting”.The team behind the initiative create “specially commissioned podcasts by leading scholars, writers and artists [which] are recorded in studio to ensure a high quality listening experience”. Consultant producers from RTÉ even step in to help.PJ Matthews who lectures in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD is the director of UCDscholarcast and has so far been the series editor for four of the series. The project first began in 2008 and now, nine years on, many students still don’t know it exists. For anyone wishing they’d discovered the programme with more time left on their degree don’t worry as access is open to everybody. Again, according to their website, the podcasts are “aimed at a wide academic audience of scholars, graduate students, undergraduates and interested members of the public”.To date UCDscholarcast has produced academic podcasts in literature, history, music, archaeology, popular culture, film, media studies, and classics. So far there have been thirteen series released and each series has between 1 and 8 episodes.Having just been to the W.B. Yeats exhibition in the National Library I was delighted to find out more about the legendary Irish writer. I did this via podcasts such as Series 1 Episode 3: ‘W.B. Yeats, Journalism and the Revival’ by Eddie Holt, a lecturer in the School of Communications at DCU, and series 12 episode 4: ‘Yeats, Revival and the Temporalities of Modernism’ by Gregory Castle, professor of British and Irish literature at Arizona State University.By listening to a number of the podcasts I have discovered that the high quality listening experience is complemented by stimulating delivery and little known quips such as Oscar Wilde telling W. B. Yeats that writing literary gossip was “no job for a gentleman”. Or another, “it may be a blessing in disguise that he (Yeats) did not have the entry requirements for Trinity College”.Listeners can find a series of their choosing and subscribe to that one only or choose to subscribe to all podcasts. You can subscribe via iTunes or by just pasting the link into the subscription field of your podcasting software or RSS reader. Episodes are also available to download for access offline. This means you can listen to it on the bus, at the gym or whilst relaxing for an entertaining way to learn.Even better, if you find something that would complement your essay. Each episode is accompanied by a downloadable PDF transcript to facilitate citation in written academic work. This may offer an interesting addition to your paper that sets you apart from classmates in the eyes of your lecturer.Below is a list of the series that have aired to date:Whether you’re looking for additional resources for an essay or just an interesting way to pass some time, UCDscholarcast is an excellent resource. Be sure to subscribe to the program for any future releases.