Washington College of Law Launches Podcasting
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the arrival of the 2005 class, American University Washington College of Law has launched Podcasting. Podcasts are website “audiocasts” to which students, faculty, staff, and the world can subscribe. Once subscribed, podcasts are automatically delivered to a desktop computer, and then are transferred to an iPod or other portable audio MP3 player. As reported in the current issue of Online magazine, almost one third of people who own iPods or other MP3 players have listened to Podcasts: roughly a tenth of all internet users. A show of hands during the WCL’s 2005 student orientation revealed that about 70 percent of students own an MP3 player. Users can subscribe to as many podcasts as they wish via special software (iTunes or iPodder, for example) and the audio will update and be delivered automatically.
WCL launched this service primarily for its students in Washington, D.C. and around the world. “The primary goal of WCL’s Office of Technology,” says Dean Claudio Grossman, “is to deliver event content, interviews with VIPs, and course material to students and faculty in many formats.” Grossman’s Welcome podcast (and all WCL’s non-program or class podcasts) can be found at: http://wcl.american.edu/podcast/index.rss2. WCL recognizes that, due to distance and time constraints, students cannot possibly attend all of the many events offered at WCL. Podcast speakers include former President Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia. Topics include "Looking Ahead to the New Supreme Court Term," "The Big Chill: Could You Land in Jail for Covering the News?," "Assisting Iraq's Government Draft a New Constitution," "The WTO and Developing Countries," "What is the Talmud: Investigating Sources in Jewish Law," "The Reaffirmation of Custom as an Important Source of International Humanitarian Law," and many more.
To accommodate WCL students’ busy schedules, the school intends to make all audio from events available via podcast.
WCL is also sensitive to the needs of those students for whom English is not their first language. Podcast software allows the listener to slow down playback of the audio, making it easier for the speaker to be understood. Also, classes will be podcast for students who are unable to attend due to illness, family emergency or other excusable absence.
Additional content beyond what is delivered “live” is also offered. In May 2005, WCL hosted the Inter-American Moot Court competition. WCL captured the entire event on webcast. Also, much like a DVD that has the featured film as well as director or actor commentary tracks, podcasts offer the event as well as other interesting or helpful featured items. The podcast of the Inter-American Moot Court Competition featured interviews with the creators of the event, participants, and judges. Among the judges interviewed were: Marcelo Lopez Alfonsín, professor at Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina); Franco Matillana, professor at Universidad de Lima (Peru); Fernanda Ribeiro de Almeida, an attorney at the Brazil-U.S. Business Council; and Xavier Andrés Flores Aguirre, a lawyer from Ecuador who won the Human Rights Academy’s Human Rights Award for an article he wrote on torture. To subscribe, go to: http://www.wcl.american.edu/humright/mcourt/podcast/
Visiting Faculty members of the Summer Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law were also interviewed about their careers and interests. Among them were: Rodrigo Uprimny, a professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia), the coordinator of investigations for the Colombian Commission of Jurists and a consultant with the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) on justice, violence and human rights; Reed Brody, special counsel for prosecutions of Human Rights Watch, who coordinated the effort that led to the indictment in Senegal of the former dictator of Chad. Brody also directed the Human Rights Watch participation in the landmark case of Augusto Pinochet and wrote the HRW booklet “The Pinochet Precedent: How Victims can Pursue Human Rights Criminals Abroad.” Also interviewed were Rebecca Cook, from the University of Toronto and Leo Zwaak of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) and Utrecht University.
Throughout the year, WCL will continue to provide additional content at: http://wcl.american.edu/podcast/index.rss2
To arrange for an interview with Dean Claudio Grossman or Korin Munsterman, director of the Office of Technology, contact Kathy Thompson, director of Public Relations, at 202-274-4279; Cell Phone: 703-855-5556; or E-mail: kthompson@WCL.american.edu.