A modcast combines a sound recording and several types of media. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

A modcast combines a sound recording and several types of media. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Charlotte Axelsson, what is a modcast?

A modcast, that is, a media-based podcast, is an audiovisual walk through topics and stories. As a listener, I can stop, linger, look at pictures and videos, or become active myself, write texts on Etherpads together with modcast listeners or draw pictures on an interactive whiteboard. So the modcast is a two-level media-based form of representation. The first level enables presenting or conveying content as an audio or film track. The second provides space for interactive or media content that can complement and extend the level of presentation.

Our modcast started from “Exchanged”, an international arts university exchange project for which I, as part of ZHdK’s E-Learning team, was looking for a form of documentation, preferably a podcast. For me as a visual person, it was clear that conversations and discussions should be visualized, as well as be playful. As I couldn’t find a suitable tool, I decided to create one myself and offer it to others as an open platform.

I managed to get Joël Gähwiler (sternenbauer) and Fabian Ellenberger (Lucid) on board. Together we created a browser-based app modcast in an iterative design and programming process. The modcast’s user-friendliness and interfaces with ZHdK tools (e.g. the media archive and PAUL, our online learning platform) were particularly important to us. Thanks to the initiative of ZHdK researcher and lecturer Thomas Schärer, the modcast can now be also be used with video in a beta version. Since the first version launched in summer 2020, we have kept producing new modcast episodes. A big plus: everyone can participate and create their own modcast. Thus: the project is alive and brings together not only content, but also people.

In this section, experts from around ZHdK briefly consider key terms and concepts in the arts and culture. The steadily expanding glossary is available online at:
Charlotte Axelsson ( is Head of E-Learning at ZHdK and a member of the Digital Skills & Spaces programme. She is also a project manager for LeLa, the University Teaching and Learning Lab operated jointly by ETH, UZH, PHZH, ZHAW and ZHdK, and enjoys connecting things.
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