10 University Collections on YouTube

berkeleyyoutube2.jpg[NOTE: Be sure to see our updated page: 70 Intelligent YouTube Video Collections]

Since October, universities have been getting busy and setting up shop on YouTube, enough so that it seemed worth putting together a collection of what’s out there. As you’ll see, universities aren’t always using YouTube to distribute educational content to the outer world. It’s sometimes about that. But it’s also often about “selling” the university — about PR, in short. Below, we’ve put the more meaningful collections at the top of the list. Over time, we’ll add new video collections as they come online, and we’ll continue to distinguish the good from the only so-so collections.

1.) University of California – Berkeley: This channel was launched in October, and it contains over 300 hours of academic programming. Most notably, you’ll find here a series of university courses that can be watched in their entirety (for free). It’s a deep collection worth starting with.

2.) MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): It’s a new collection and it already has some good meat to it. Click here and you will find clips from classroom lectures, many presumably coming from MIT’s ambitious OpenCourseWare initiative.

3.) UChannel: Spearheaded by Princeton University, this video service presents talks on international/political affairs from academic institutions all over the world. You can find a more extensive video collection on the UChannel web site.

4.) EGS (The European Graduate School): Here we have a video collection on YouTube that includes talks by important theorists/philosophers of the past generation — for example, Jacques Derrida and Jean Baudrillard. There are also some filmmakers mixed in — take for example, Peter Greenaway and John Waters.

5.) Vanderbilt: There’s hope for this channel in the future. The initial set of substantive videos can be found here.

6.) USC (University of Southern California): Find lectures here and videos of artistic productions here.

7.) Duke University: Borderline collection. Some interesting content, and I’m hopeful that it will improve over time.

8.) Purdue University: Heavier emphasis on promotional content; less emphasis on truly educational content.

9.) Oxford University Saïd Business School: So far this is highly tailored to marketing the b-school and helping students through the application process. This is not necessarily a bad use of the medium. But it’s not what we typically focus on here.

10.) Auburn University: Here’s a case of a university using YouTube for mostly promotional purposes … at least so far. I’m told by the university, however, that the collection is in its “infant stages” and plans for new, less promotional content are in the works. Keep an eye out.

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Stay in Bed & Grow Your Hair: John Lennon and Yoko Ono Protesting the Vietnam War

This looks like it’s the real deal — Yoko Ono’s tribute to John Lennon on YouTube. Among the video clips housed in the collection, you’ll find footage that recaptures the “bed-ins” that John and Yoko famously staged in Montreal and Amsterdam in 1969 to protest the Vietnam War. As Lennon puts it, there’s no better way to protest the war than to “stay in bed and grow your hair.” That’s a form of protest that the lost slacker in me can appreciate.

The footage is accompanied by the song, “Give Peace a Chance,” which was written during the bed-in. It was followed later that year by “War is Over! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko.” The heartbreaking YouTube video set to this song has over one million views.

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Earthrise & Earthset in HD

In November, Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft orbited the moon with a high-def camera onboard. You can see the first HD footage of an “earthrise” and “earthset” by checking out these still images (Earthrise and Earthset) or watching the video footage below, which has also been added to our YouTube playlist.

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Obama Speaks at Martin Luther King’s Church

The celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday was a little different this year. It had a political edge to it, and unavoidably so. Dr. King’s work made possible what we’re finally seeing today — a black candidate making a serious run at the American presidency. So it seemed entirely appropriate that Barack Obama spoke Sunday before the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where MLK preached long ago. In this 34-minute speech, you get a perfect reminder of King’s legacy and also a stump speech delivered in an oratorical style that King would appreciate. The video clip below has been viewed close to 450,000 times on YouTube. It’s also been added to our YouTube playlist.

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A Slew of New Audiobooks (for Free)

Librivox is on a roll lately. Since December, the provider of free, public domain audiobooks has released a number of classic works on audio. Below, we’ve listed some of the highlights, which we’ve also included in our AudioBook Podcast Collection. (Here, you’ll also find free audiobooks by other providers.) For Librivox’s complete catalogue, click here.

2 B R 0 2 B, Kurt Vonnegut (MP3 File)

A Child’s History of England, Charles Dickens (Full ZipIndividual MP3s)

A Short History of the United States by Edward Channing (Full ZipIndividual MP3 Files)

Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge, (Full ZipIndividual MP3 Files)

History of the United States, Vol. IV, Charles Beard (Full ZipIndividual MP3 Files)

Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes (Full Zip Individual MP3 Files)

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II, Edward Gibbon (The Full ZipIndividual MP3s)

The Life of Charlemagne, Einhard (Full ZipIndividual Files)

The Master of the World, Jules Verne (Full ZipIndividual Files)

The Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell (Full ZipIndividual MP3 Files)

The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (Full ZipIndividual MP3 Files)

The Works of Tacitus (Full ZipIndividual Files)

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Comments We Love to Hear

In one of our recent pieces, we highlighted a video that featured law professor Cass Sunstein interpreting the second amendment and questioning whether it conferred the right to bear arms. In response, one of our readers offered this comment:

“Reeeeeally good talk. My friend and I sat down to watch it, and before we started, we laid out our positions, basically one on each side of the debate. Sunstein proceeds to explain how we’re both wrong. Awesome.”

I mention this simply because it’s great to see the media (videos/podcasts) featured here being used in this way. It’s great to see readers really engaging with the material and allowing it to shape their views. It’s the ultimate compliment in some ways. Thanks Ben.

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Waves Freeze in Newfoundland

This counts as science, right?

Also see 18 Stunning Bridges From Around The World via Metafilter.

The Future of Ideas: Download Your Free Copy (and More)

thefutureofideas.jpgIn 2001, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig published The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. Here, Lessig launched a campaign against American copyright law, arguing that it has become so restrictive that it stifles cultural innovation and social progress …. which undermines the original point of copyright law. Back in 1787, the founding fathers included the “copyright clause” in the American constitution, looking to give authors a short-term incentive to innovate and ultimately contribute to the public good. (Article I, Section 8 empowers Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”). At the outset, copyright law protected forms of expression — and let authors profit from them — for a minimum of 14 years and a maximum of 28. Then, the material went into the public domain. But over time, the protections placed on cultural expression have been extended, and now works are protected so long as an author is alive, and then another 70 years. That’s potentially up to 140 years or more. All of this has happened because Congress has been successfully lobbied by large media corporations (e.g. Disney), wanting to monetize their media assets (think, Mickey Mouse) indefinitely.

Anyway, this is a long way of telling you that you can now download The Future of Ideas for free. Lessig persuaded Random House to release the book under a “Creative Commons” license, using the argument that free e-books will actually stimulate sales of paper copies. (Do you really want to read 350 pages on your computer screen?)

This is not the first time that Lessig has worked with this model. One of his previous books, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, was also made freely available in digital format. (You can download a free audiobook version or buy the paper version here.)

As a final note, I should mention that Lessig will be leaving behind his focus on these copyright issues, and turning his sights to corruption in Washington. Below you can watch him outline the problem that he’s looking to tackle.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.