Normally, I wouldn't comment on minor cirriculum adjustments within a Business School, but this change is worth noting. Today, Ross announced that they will now have four podcast channels that the Ross business school community will have access to for events, seminars and news content. The Podcasts will also include content related to Positive Organizational Scholarship, the William Davidson Institute, Dividend magazine and the Monroe Street Journal. This content is only for those who have an iMpact login account. In other words, you have to be a student, Alum or staff/prof of the school.
There is absolutely no content being offered to the public.
So what's the big deal? Well, this is the first time that a school is using iTunes as the distribution channel for their internal class audio material. It's a shame not to see that it's so locked up though.
This whole Podcasting thing is very new to Ross. It's quite new to any B-School really. Eventually, someone will have to take this technology integration to the next level. I'm of the opinion that the next stage should be to provide the general public with access to say one in every 5 seminars and a few rotating samplings of audio class material. Giving away a portion of the content will have long-term exposure of the school that will allow us to see just how good the education is. It's sort of like wine tasting. You can give a taster the standard wine tastings, but give them the occasional "special tastings" of the stuff you consider your best stuff and you increase the liklihood of hooking them in. Podcasting/Videocasting would be a "special tasting" of the program that would make me want more.
The Podcast explosion is only about 1 1/2 years old. Moreover, it's only been in the last 6-8 months that Podcasts have seen a major explosion in number. Many try it and fail. Others don't really know what to do with it. For example, Haas has a handful of public "info-session-ish" Podcasts and they are well done. They need another 5-7 more to round out the topics, but they've stalled. It's a good start for HAAS so far. On the other hand, Kaplan tried something with GMAT stuff and they killed it last month. Now, they have one on the status of MBA recruiting for 2006. They don't quite have a unified front on how to present it very well or how to put it together yet. Somebody help their marketing/PR department.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing how Business Schools and MBA related vendors utilize Podcasts in the next 6 months. As far as I'm concerned, it can only get better.