A Closer Look at YouTube EDU

On Thurs­day, we announced the launch of YouTube EDU. Now, as promised, it’s time to give you some more details about the new uni­ver­si­ty video hub.

I had a chance to chat with Oba­di­ah Green­berg, a key Googler behind the launch. And he gave me some insight into the gen­e­sis of the project. As you can imag­ine, YouTube EDU was­n’t built overnight. It took about a year to move from con­cept to launch. The work was dri­ven along by a team of five, and they did it using Google’s famous 20% time pol­i­cy. That is, they each com­mit­ted essen­tial­ly one day per week to bring­ing this project to fruition.

What you’re see­ing now is essen­tial­ly ver­sion 1.0. Oba­di­ah expects YouTube EDU to evolve over time, espe­cial­ly as his team gath­ers data and feed­back that will inform future iter­a­tions. But, make no mis­take, this ini­tial prod­uct has accom­plished quite a bit. It cen­tral­izes the video col­lec­tions from over 100 universities/colleges. This amounts to over 20,000 indi­vid­ual videos and 200 com­plete cours­es. It also makes these col­lec­tions much eas­i­er for new users to dis­cov­er and sift through. Back in ear­ly 2007, before YouTube real­ly start­ed work­ing with uni­ver­si­ties, I kvetched in a pub­lic radio inter­view that GooTube could do more to orga­nize the world of intel­lec­tu­al video, and now I cer­tain­ly have a lot less to com­plain about (although I do still see some impor­tant tweaks that could be made here and there).

The uni­ver­si­ties par­tic­i­pat­ing in YouTube EDU have also had an upbeat response. Both Scott Stock­er (Direc­tor of Web Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Stan­ford) and Genevieve Haines (Direc­tor of Inte­grat­ed Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at UCLA) wel­comed the idea that many new vis­i­tors will encounter their video col­lec­tions. As Genevieve put it, it’s nev­er a bad thing when the world’s top video shar­ing site makes a big com­mit­ment to uni­ver­si­ty con­tent. This move opens up many long range pos­si­bil­i­ties for edu­ca­tors and stu­dents, she says. But, over the short term, it guar­an­tees that schools will learn more about how the wider pub­lic engages with their videos. By look­ing at traf­fic pat­terns and user com­ments left on YouTube, the uni­ver­si­ty teams will find out whether there’s a real mar­ket for seri­ous lec­tures and cours­es, or whether users pre­fer lighter fare, or some com­bi­na­tion of the two. With this knowl­edge in hand, media strate­gies will be revised.

For Ben Hub­bard, who man­ages the web­cast­ing ini­tia­tive at UC Berke­ley, YouTube EDU offers anoth­er perk. He told me: “There are a lot of uni­ver­si­ties and oth­er cen­ters for learn­ing engaged with their local com­mu­ni­ties on YouTube, but it has­n’t always been very easy to find them. YouTube EDU makes it much eas­i­er for us to locate our peer insti­tu­tions, con­nect around com­mon inter­ests, and per­haps even engage with one anoth­er in a more mean­ing­ful and pro­duc­tive way to cre­ate (or make more rich) a com­mu­ni­ty of best prac­tices.”

But per­haps the biggest plus is reserved for you and me.  The Google team antic­i­pates that the vis­i­bil­i­ty of this project will open the flood­gates, bring­ing many more uni­ver­si­ties to YouTube EDU in the com­ing months. This means that many more free lec­tures and cours­es will be com­ing online. A big plus for any read­er of this blog. We’ll mon­i­tor all of this, and keep you post­ed as things move along …

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  • […] A Clos­er Look at YouTube EDU — Via Open Cul­ture — What you’re see­ing now is essen­tial­ly ver­sion 1.0. Oba­di­ah expects YouTube […]

  • […] across the world. It’s all very grat­i­fy­ing. If you want to learn more about YouTube EDU, you can read this piece I post­ed short­ly after it launched. But, bet­ter yet, you should give the site itself a vis­it. And, to the folks at YouTube, keep up […]

  • Tolana says:

    I’m curi­ous if there have been any updates, improve­ments, or changes in YouTube EDU since its launch. I have found a small num­ber of schools whose YouTube EDU appli­ca­tions have been reject­ed, and they com­plain about the vague require­ments of chan­nel con­tent. Most recent­ly, some­one’s rejec­tion let­ter stat­ed that YouTube was “not cur­rent­ly accept­ing new appli­ca­tions for YouTube EDU”. Any­one know what’s up?

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