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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