Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

College Radio as a Mechanism for Participatory Learning: Exploring the Scope for Online Radio Based Learning among Undergraduates

Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

College Radio as a Mechanism for Participatory Learning: Exploring the Scope for Online Radio Based Learning among Undergraduates

Article excerpt


Many scholarly studies have established the importance of college radio in student learning and development, and argue for the need for a participatory approach to knowledge sharing and dissemination with the help of new media (Cheatham, 2008; Copley, 2007; Johnson, 2008; Merrill, 2008; Read, 2005; Yu, 1995; Zwibelman & Rayfield, 1982). Targeted use of mass media, especially among students, is arguably an effective method for inducing behavioral changes for overall development of students and has been a matter of deliberation since the first ever college radio called 9XM went on-air in 1912 at the University of Wisconsin (e.g., DeJong, 2002; Rinks, 2002; Wakefield, Loken, & Hornik, 2010). Participatory media production and consumption has also been proved to affect the self-learning and training abilities and its effects on retaining and using information have been widely documented (see Herrington, Parker, & Boase-Jelinek, 2013; Matzat & Vrieling, 2015).

This paper aims to explore the prospects of college online radio, hereafter referred as college radio, at Sur College of Applied Sciences, its need among students, and the possible scope of its contributions to student learning, information dissemination, engagement, and community service. The need for this study stems from the desire to explore fresh dimensions in order to strengthen the pedagogical mechanism for an enhanced learning experience for students. It aims to explore the method of developing a holistic mechanism to capture the possibilities of maximizing the learning experience by employing college radio as an educational tool. In addition to traditional educational and learning approaches, employing radio as an instructional medium can redefine the learning experience, have integrative effects, trigger active participation, enhance educational experience, and maximize community engagement.

It is important to note that every mass media is space and culture bound. This means that, while technically its reach may not be spatially bound, its functions and responsibilities may be, and so will be its roles and challenges depending upon the nature of the target community and its expected reach and functions. In this case, the envisaged college radio is to be limited to the Sur CAS campus with a target community of approximately 900 undergraduate students, teachers, and administrative staff.

Against the existing scholarship, while it can be comfortably argued that college radio can be a great learning medium for student development, its viability and scope, especially in the local context, deserve a thorough investigation to document the possible achievements and challenges that may emerge during its operation, and to devise a framework that delivers maximum benefits while feeding into the key objectives of the college aimed at the holistic growth of the student community.

The Case for College Radio and Its Significance in Learning and Engagement

In this media saturated world with maximum local penetration, the foremost and inevitable question here is whether to have college radio or not. Any rationale to setting up a college radio can be only justified on the basis of its want and need by the target community, Sur CAS students in this case. From the prism of want and need, the aim is to give charge to students in exploring their own uses and gratification of needs and desire for a radio for that purpose.

While the need for the radio can be established using the existing scholarship in this area, such an approach will take away the opportunity to consider the micro-dynamics and localized necessities that deem college radio necessary or unnecessary, its appropriate mechanism, and its targeted use that could produce desired results. As the paper further explores in the next sections, while there exists a strong research base that can be employed to argue for college radio, the counterargument could be that, in the media saturated lives of students where most of the time is consumed by new media, in addition to other contenders such as local radio and television, how can a student radio stand any chance of acceptance? …

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