Which UK University has the most popular podcast? This question occurred to me recently after visiting a page on the JISC Web site in order to subscribe to JISC podcasts. Following the link launched iTunes and allowed me to subscribe to the podcast, so that new podcasts are downloaded automatically.

I noticed the search option in iTunes and thought I’d search for University podcasts. The most popular podcasts came from Vanderbilt University but in third place was Oxford University. And listening to the start of the current podcast I discovered the title was “Podcasts from Medieval English lectures”. So much for the dumbing down of the iTunes generation! Who’d have thought that all of those young students with their white ear pieces were catching up on Chaucer – perhaps “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”!”

UK University Podcasts

In second and third places for UK universities were the universities of Edinburgh and, I’m pleased to say, Bath. The University of Bath not only has the kudos of a top three place in iTunes popularity, the public lecture podcasts at my host institution recently won a European award for its podcast series. As the press release announced “its podcasts had from November 2006 to September 2007 been seen (sic) 188,000 times“. The press release went on to say that “Our podcasts are popular enough to get us featured in the top 50 podcast originator on i-Tunes in the “Science and Medicine” section, ahead of any other university in the world.

I think this is a great example of an institution successfully engaging with a popular Web 2.0 services (ITunes) in order to maximise its impact. My congratulations to the Audio Visual and Web Services teams at the University of Bath.

But apart from Oxford, Edinburgh and Bath, where are the other UK universities? There don’t appear to be any in the top 50 places in iTunes, although I did spot Aberdeen in about the 68th position followed by a cluster of the universities of Swansea, Westminster and Cambridge. Are UK Universities missing out, I wonder?