Mon, 23 April 2012
Jason Hartman interviews Professor Corey Olsen, President of Mythgard Institute, about how podcasting has allowed him to reach a wider audience than lectures or articles would reach. Prof. Olsen took the podcast route to appeal to his own lecture style involving his voice, and he says it has been a lot of fun being able to reach out to people.
Through the podcast experience, Prof. Olsen found there were hundreds of thousands of people out there that are interested in the academic conversation. Jason asks Prof. Olsen about his experiences with software and delivery of the podcast, which is found on iTunes ranked in the Top Ten.
Professor Olsen also began recording class lectures and hosting recorded study groups, as well as producing segments on various works of literature. He said his content has been driven primarily by listener feedback, and as his podcast has grown, he has been able to establish long-term relationships, which has opened the door for an audience excited about taking classes and looking forward to Professor Olsen’s new book. He says it’s all about being genuine about something you love.
In his teaching website, “The Tolkien Professor”, Professor Olsen brings his scholarship on Tolkien to the public, seeking to engage a wide and diverse audience in serious intellectual and literary conversation. His website features a series of detailed lectures on The Hobbit, and recordings of the weekly meetings of the Silmarillion Seminar, which has been working its way through The Silmarillion chapter by chapter, as well as more informal Q&A sessions with listeners. He is currently writing a book titled Exploring The Hobbit, which will be published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012.
Corey Olsen teaches in the English Department at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where he began teaching in the Fall of 2004. His undergraduate and graduate teaching subjects include J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, and Sir Thomas Malory. He got his BA in English and Astrophysics from Williams College in Massachusetts and his PhD in medieval literature from Columbia University. At Washington College, Professor Olsen has served as the Faculty Coordinator of Academic Integrity, the Faculty Advisor for Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and Master of the Revels at Washington College’s hotly contested annual Wheelbarrow Jousting Tournament.