Podcasting Professor Produces a Winning Class Formula

Dr. Jacob Tingle, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Business Administration at Trinity University, creates teaching traction by using a format familiar to his digital generation of students.
Mim Haigh
Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments

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“Welcome to ‘The Take Home’, I'm your host Jacob Tingle…”

And so began every lecture in SPMT 3316 – Leadership for Sport Professionals, during the Spring semester of 2021. Created in a podcast format, the lectures became a source of enjoyment for students, rather than just the material they needed to learn. ‘The Take Home’ podcast included condensed course content, supplemented with real life experience from industry guests representing the United Soccer League, NBA, NFL, and Minor League Baseball just to name a few. The topical podcast theme didn’t end there, as well as students listening in and using the podcasts to prepare for in-person lectures, the final class project saw students create their own podcast.

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Curious about how it all worked? We were too, so we spoke to Dr. Jacob Tingle of Trinity University who devised the idea, about developing new complementary material consistent with the format, adapting his existing lectures, creating, and delivering ‘The Take Home’ Podcast.

“I needed to do something really different than I’d ever done. So, as I was prepping for the class, I knew I wanted to ‘flip’ my lectures, but I also wanted to commit to keeping the students off Zoom as much as possible.”

“While out for a walk one morning, listening to Don’t Tell Me The Score, it dawned on me: BOTH of those elements can be achieved if I create my own podcast.” 

Dr. Tingle shared that he listens to numerous podcasts and some of his favorites are Desert Island Discs from the BBC, Simon Mundie’s Don’t Tell Me The Score, and Dave Zirin’s The Edge of Sports.

“It was a HUGE stretch for me to turn my lectures into podcasts. The first challenge, how to turn a 30-minute in-class lecture into 6-10 minutes of audio only content.

  1. How do I make it compelling, engaging enough for them to listen and,
  2. how to make sure they still get what they need to get from each chapter or each reading.

The second challenge: What content can I add to the podcast, so it wasn’t just me recording my lectures with some soundtrack underneath. That’s where the idea to interview sports industry leaders came from. And what a hit that was! We had executives from the United Soccer League, NBA, NFL, Minor League Baseball, a sport attorney, and two different high-level leaders in college sports; what those eight guests brought to the class was remarkable and enhanced the learning experience significantly.”

The structure of the course required students to prepare in advance for the in-person class. This meant that Dr. Tingle provided the usual readings, plus the podcast for students to work through and prepare for at their own pace. The course provides an opportunity for each student to develop their personal leadership skills as they learn about and relate to models and approaches within the leadership field.

A fundamental component of the course curriculum is the development of self-awareness. To facilitate this growth in students, Dr. Tingle uses Athlete Assessments’ Sports ManagerDISC Profile, and has done for the last seven years. In the second week of term, each student in the class completed a 12-minute online survey to generate their unique profile. Each one of Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles provide students with a fundamental awareness of their own natural behavioral style, an insight into their strengths and limitations, plus knowledge of their areas for improvement. The profiles also detail the pace each individual prefers to tackle tasks, the way they build relationships, communicate, deal with challenges and information about environments they naturally thrive in.  Importantly, each profile delivers an insight into what the individual is likely to do under stress, giving them time to develop strategies which counter these tendencies. 

To ensure students took a deep dive into their profiles and knew exactly how to apply them, Dr. Tingle tasked students with an assignment. They were required to interview their group members, and write a short paper about how their different Sports ManagerDISC Profiles were complementary, and where communication issues could arise. As part of the Athlete Assessments’ Academic Program, CEO and Client Director, Liz Masen, does a guest lecture, debriefing students on their results, and how to apply them in the classroom and beyond.

Describing the class session after Liz’s visit, Dr. Tingle says “I could really see the students were in a different place. She switched their lightbulbs on and the light wasn’t extinguished the rest of the semester.” 

Liz shared her thoughts on the class, “The way Dr. Tingle runs his Leadership for Sport Professionals class is an exceptional example of the ‘flip the classroom’ approach to teaching, and he has incorporated some very innovative approaches. These students are incredibly engaged throughout the semester and as Jacob has shared with me, with their last class of the semester when they had shared the output of their final projects, they all stayed back talking and spending time together and didn’t want to leave. He almost had to boot them all out.” 

As mentioned earlier, for their final project students had to produce their own podcast, with an accompanying 3-minute trailer promoting it. They were grouped in pairs or threes, self-allocating roles as to who would be on-air talent or in a producer role. Part of their assignment included reviewing their experience of completing their podcast. Every student group shared that it was helpful to review each other’s Sports ManagerDISC Profile results when deciding on their different roles so they could play to their strengths, and take on the role best suited to their interests.

Dr. Tingle says,

“It was amazing that they used the DISC so effectively, and I am 100% certain that is the reason all 10 student podcasts were outstanding. They had the right people doing the right tasks.”

“When the students were presenting their five research articles, it was obvious that the high I’s and high D’s were comfortable speaking in front of the group, while all 10 groups commented that the high C’s worked on the PowerPoint templates to ensure the group submitted high quality work! Further evidence of that was on display during the completion of their podcasts. Each group was required to submit one team member that would serve as the podcast producer and the name(s) of those who would be on air. Because they had been using the DISC so effectively all semester, the choice of podcast producer – FOR EVERY GROUP – was the one high C. I couldn’t have written a script any better.”

Dr. Tingle continues, “The podcast content, scripts, and final interviews were a clear indication of the students learning. Their pre-production outlines and scripts were written with deep and meaningful connections to the leadership theories and practices we discussed in class. The interviews however, demonstrated a depth of learning and comprehension that blew me away. For the students, in the moment, to make the connection between an interviewee’s response and a leadership principle from the class as a way to segue into the next question or line of questioning was remarkable.”

“In fact, we were lucky enough to get recently retired BBC producer, Cathy Drysdale, and podcast hosts Simon Mundie, and Dave Zirin, along with his producer David Tigabu, to speak to the class about podcast creation.”

Dr. Tingle concludes, “This semester really taught me the importance of providing space for students to co-create the course content. I learned that giving students more agency over their learning, while still providing a well-constructed sandbox (i.e. clear boundaries), is a way to both better engage them in the class, but also to have them invest, truly invest, in their own learning.”

Oh, and what did the students think? This is just one piece of feedback…“The podcast assignment is a must keep for next year. I really enjoyed working with a small team and being forced out of my comfort zone; it was a unique project that I will always remember.”

Dr. Tingle’s research explores organizational systems and structures which enhance or detract from the experiences of sport volunteers and contract staff. Sporting officials (referees and umpires) are a population of significant interest. Formatively, he undertook study with the Experiential Education Academy in September 2019 at the National Society of Experiential Education. Jacob earned his Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration Concentration from University of Texas at San Antonio, with his Dissertation, The Relationship between Organizational Trust and Mindfulness: An exploration of NCAA Division III Athletic Departments. He studied for his M.A. Administration, Sports Management at University of the Incarnate Word and, completed a B.A., Communication and Religion at Trinity University. 

Where to from here?

Dr. Tingle uses Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles and Academic Program as part of the Leadership for Sport Professionals Program at Trinity University . Whether you teach Sport Management, Sport Coaching, Sport and Health Sciences or Sport Psychology, provide your students with the skills to distinguish themselves in a competitive sports industry. We would love to help you and your students perform with effortless ease and excellence, if we can assist you with any resources or information just reach out and contact us.

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Bo Hanson’s career within the sport and the business sector spans over 25 years, delivering leadership, management, and coach development. In addition to his own athletic career comprising of four Olympic appearances and including three Olympic medals, Bo has worked for many years with coaches and athletes from over 40 different sports across the globe. Bo was also the winner of the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) 2023 Award for L&D Professional of the Year, for his dedication to L&D and transformational work across various industries.

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