STS Podcasting Sprint

WeAreSTS podcasting from UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)

STS Podcasting Sprint 2023 completed in May. This sprint is designed as a fast-paced introduction to creating episodes for podcasts. It is designed for students wanting to improve their skills with this area in anticipation of future practical coursework or projects as part of studentships. The tutor is Professor Joe Cain. This sprint is available only to STS students at UCL registered in degree programmes at any level. This is a basic training module, so the presumption is you have little experience creating audio interviews and recordings but this is something you want to learn. 

Objectives for the STS Podcasting Sprint

By the end of the sprint, students should be able to:

  1. create interview-based recorded episodes
  2. create additional elements for use in show production
  3. plan a podcast project, complete with its many composite elements
  4. write scripts for episode elements
  5. write metadata for completed episodes
  6. use commonplace tools, such as phones and laptops, to record useable audio materials
  7. use beginner-level audio editing software to compose basic episodes


This 2023 sprint has a timetable divided into three steps:

  • Step 1: 4 half-days of intensive workshops, supported by light homework each day. These will be in-person sessions at UCL.
  • Step 2: practical project period – students who complete the intensive workshops will be invited to create an interview episode for the podcast series, WeAreSTS. This is an optional extra. This practical period is unstructured and allows students time to develop their work independently. On the completion date, 30 May, students submit their broadcast-ready episode for review.
  • Step 3: students completing the practical project will reconvene for two half-day sessions to peer review episodes, consider how they might improve going ahead, and discuss how they might further use podcasting as a resource.

How do I register for the sprint?

Registration is closed for 2023. Look for information about the 2024 Sprint in January 2024.

Any UCL student in a degree offered through STS is eligible to attend (specifics below). There is no registration fee. There is a maximum capacity of 30 people for the first week of workshops. 


Who is this sprint designed for?

This sprint is designed for STS students in our degree programmes at any level. This is a basic training module, so the presumption is that you have little experience creating audio interviews.

Can a student from outside the department enrol? Can someone not registered at UCL register?

No. This is only for STS students at UCL. Also invited are students who have completed HPSC0019, Human Sciences and Society.

“STS student” means any student enrolled in a degree STS manages. This includes students with STS as their integrated medical programme, students in natural sciences with an STS major or minor stream, all PhD, MSc, and BSc students within our envelope. UCL Human Sciences BSc students are welcome, too, provided they have completed HPSC0019.

What will we not do?

We will not focus on podcast story-making or dramatic presentation. We will not focus on high-end studio production or editing. We will not focus on complex sound design. This sprint is for beginners.

Do I need to be in London to participate?

You need to be in London during the first week of intensive in-person workshops. After that week, in-person attendance is not expected. I prefer students to be present for the 1-2 June sessions, but this is not essential.

Will this add to my degree?

This sprint is not credit-earning, so it cannot be applied to your degree. If you attend all the sessions in the first week, you will receive a certificate of attendance. If you create an episode through this sprint, I will consider it for broadcast through WeAreSTS.

Will I receive a grade for this?


Is this required for my degree?


Can I attend only the first week of workshops?

Yes. This sprint is designed so students can stop after the first week of workshops.

Any student who wants to create an actual podcast is welcome to continue through May to develop one via a practical project, intended to apply skills from the first week. We will decide how best to support each other during the practical project work, possibly by working in pairs or small groups. The final two sessions are intended to finish the practical work and to reflect on the value of the skills developed throughout.

Do I need to buy anything for this Sprint?

No. We use free software (Audacity), and we use free apps in commonplace technology, such as laptops and smartphones. Students can borrow high-quality equipment from STS if they want to do this. My advice is to learn to use what you already have before increasing complexity.

Can I do the sprint and work in the STSNewsRoom at the same time?

There’s no law against it, but I think there is duplication. I do not recommend it. If you work in the STSNewsRoom on a studentship, you are undertaking paid work, and you’ll be working on numerous projects at the same time. My advice is to focus on the STSNewsRoom, get the most you can from that opportunity, and leave yourself time to develop other interests, too. Making podcast episodes is part of the STSNewsRoom, together with other types of communication. Very few people have the opportunity to work in the STSNewsRoom, so make the most of that.

What’s a “sprint”?

Look it up.

Who is running this?

The instructor is Professor Joe Cain, who produces WeAreSTS. He has nearly three decades experience teaching short courses and sprints for university-level students, such as through UCL Doctoral School.

Last update: 23 May 2023