Explore Nature, Gods, and the Ancient World Through Student-Created Podcast Series

December 22nd, 2016 by 


(from left) Dean Doe ’17, student in the “Nature in the Classical World” course and co-creator of podcast titled “Gods, men, and everything in between,” with David Banville, instructional technologist, and Aaron Seider, assistant professor of classics. Photo by Tom Rettig

“Heroes battling rivers, eagles predicting the future, temples located on spectacular mountain peaks…”— this is how Aaron Seider, assistant professor of classics, begins his introduction of “Nature in the Classical World,” a podcast series produced by the students in his fall semester course by the same name.

With two-thirds of the semester under their belts, the students were tasked to investigate their favorite topics from the course — which explored how the ancient Greeks and Romans engaged with the natural world — and create concise, enriching deep-dives through the medium of podcast.

The resulting 11 podcasts, each created by a student pair and roughly 10-15 minutes in length, address the relationship the Greeks and Romans had with subjects ranging from the gods and spirituality to reincarnation and the universe to humans and even animals.

These audial mini-lessons aren’t only meant for classics majors.

“The podcasts are aimed for all audience members,” says Seider. “We want people with no knowledge or background in classics or in the natural world to gain something.”

While much is to be gained by listeners, students also walked away from the experience with a few new skills — some more unexpected than others.

The first challenge was in transitioning from student to teacher. Not only were the students asked to master their material, but they then had to find a way to communicate it to a large audience without losing the material’s complexity, Seider explains.

After the content came the technical side of things. Students spent time recording and rerecording in the podcast studio located in the Multimedia Resource Center (MRC), and with the help of David Banville, instructional technologist, and Holly Hunt, the MRC supervisor, gained skills not typically synonymous with a classics course, like sound editing and audio mixing to name a few.

With the semester wrapped up and the podcast series complete, listeners can reap the rewards of the students’ efforts and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.

“If you’re interested in thinking more about nature in the classical world from a modern perspective, or want to contemplate how ancient ideas connect with the environment today, keep listening,” Seider concludes his introductory podcast.

Explore the free podcast series, “Nature in the Classical World,” now on iTunes.

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