It's another good day for the open education movement. As part of an experiment, YouTube has partnered with a select number of universities (Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, and UCLA) to make lectures, courses and other videos available for free download. This gives educators and lifelong learners the freedom to watch educational videos offline, whenever and wherever they want, including airplanes or classrooms with limited connectivity. The videos (all high-resolution mp4s) can be watched on any computer loaded with QuickTime and also on many portable devices, including newer iPods. When I spoke with the YouTube team today, they flagged another perk: the videos are being distributed under a Creative Commons license, which means that you can reuse them under certain non-commercial conditions.
For someone who has helped develop courses appearing in Stanford's YouTube collection, today's news was certainly welcome. These courses are not cheap to develop, and we do it as a public service. So we're always happy when we encounter new ways of getting the educational content to a broader audience. This new download capability does just that. It extends our reach just a little more, and it's hard to quibble with that.
As a practical note, if you're wondering how to download the YouTube videos mentioned above, here's what to do. Find a video from Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, or UCLA, look at the lower left-hand corner of the video, click the "Download this video" link, and you should be good to go.
- To quickly find intelligent video collections appearing on YouTube, visit this page.