YouTube Gets Smart: The Launch of New University Channels

Updat­ed: See full col­lec­tion of Uni­ver­si­ty Video Col­lec­tions on YouTube.

I heard rumors some­thing like this was com­ing, and now it’s here. YouTube has struck deals with major uni­ver­si­ties, cre­at­ing ded­i­cat­ed chan­nels from which schools can dis­trib­ute their media con­tent. Not sur­pris­ing­ly UC Berke­ley, always at the dig­i­tal fore­front, has tak­en the lead and launched an ambi­tious chan­nel with over 300 hours of video­taped cours­es and events. You can check out their chan­nel here. The oth­er major uni­ver­si­ty to sign on is USC (Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia).

Back in March, we lament­ed the sheer dearth of cul­tur­al con­tent on YouTube. (Lis­ten to our radio inter­view here and also see our relat­ed blog post.) Since its incep­tion, the now Google-owned video ser­vice has been awash with home-brewed videos of gui­tar riffs, dorm­room lip sync ses­sions, and pet tricks. Mean­while, videos of greater cul­tur­al sub­stance have been hard­er to come by (and that’s why we’ve tried to flag the good ones for you. See here, here & here.) YouTube’s new uni­ver­si­ty ini­tia­tive begins to rem­e­dy that prob­lem. It shows a per­haps bur­geon­ing com­mit­ment to high­er-mind­ed media. But let’s not get too car­ried away. When you go to YouTube, it’s not clear how users will find/navigate to these chan­nels. If you look under Cat­e­gories, “edu­ca­tion” is not an option (although I think it used to be). Per­haps YouTube has plans to tweak its nav­i­ga­tion. Or is this just a case of let­ting a tree fall in the woods? Let’s stay opti­mistic and we’ll check back soon.

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