Monday, May 16, 2011

Access to higher education via YouTube

I am not one to go to YouTube and stare at videos of kittens doing cute things or people's children singing...two things I certainly don't have the time (or the stomach) to view. I don't have a lot of patience with random video watching (dubbed "time wasting"). I don't procrastinate. I don't believe in publicly airing all of my family/pet moments. I do have concerns about privacy and video sharing. BUT...

I do think YouTube has become a great vehicle for educational access. I have used YouTube to host mini-lectures for my students when we evacuated for Hurricane Gustav and for my online students. The ease, access, and quality are all great for instructors needing to learn about recording lectures or for those new (or hesitant) to the online video sharing world.

Today, I read the US NEWS coverage, "YouTube goes to college" where the use of YouTube to provide free access to instructional materials, lectures, and universities (via university YouTube channels) was explored. Overall, the story concluded that YouTube raises both the awareness of the professor/lecturer and that of the institution. My thought: ACCESS. More people with access to higher education! More people learning from one another! Here are a few nuggets of information provided in the article:
  • Berkeley is one of nearly 450 universities worldwide—roughly 390 of which are in the U.S. and Canada—that have established a channel via YouTube EDU. In total, the schools have uploaded 63,500 hours—or about seven years—worth of video content, ranging from class lectures to interactive question-and-answer "office hours" with professors. 
  • Schools are required to post more than 20 videos to qualify for their own channel, and on average, schools have about 50 to 100 videos on the site, says YouTube EDU's manager Angela Lin. Some, like Berkeley, post thousands in hopes of reaching students far beyond the confines of their campus. In total, the service has nearly 1 million subscribers. 
YouTube EDU lists areas of concentration and institutions

This was great information to me! Particularly the use of YouTube for "office hours" with the professors--just another point of student-professor contact that is changing the landscape of higher education communication.

Viewers, be prepared to have a slew of choices. Creators (professors and institutions), don't be satisfied with just the common video--institutions are dressing up the productions and providing high-quality videos. Interested in learning more? Check out YouTube's Education page and talk to your colleagues about opportunities to enhance your community outreach, market your institution and your professors, and consider a step into higher education via online videos.

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