Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook Find: YouTube University – An Interesting Opportunity for Innovative Students and Teachers

I remember my very first day in college. Being an innovative student, I figured out a way to begin college while I was still in high school and took a class as a non matriculated student to get a taste for the experience and a head start on my college career. Whoa! I was in for a shock. I was taking a Psychology 101 class in an auditorium setting with a professor at the front of the room lecturing to us all. There was little to no interaction and I was wondering why I really had to be there, and if the professor even really knew I was there at all. I soon learned the ropes of 101 classes which were depicted so well in the 1980s teen comedy Real Genius which coincidentally came out the same year. The movie has a great visual gag that has stuck with me over the years. In an otherwise clichéd montage of college life, we see the scene of a professor lecturing to a room full of students, along with a few tape recorders on empty desks. A few scenes later, we see the same professor lecturing to a room now filled with more tape recorders than students. In the final scene, he’s not there at all. In his place stands an enormous reel-to-reel tape deck playing the lecture to a room full of tape recorders.

Many college freshmen might share that not much has changed since then. Unless they happen to be a student in Richard Buckland’s class. Buckland, a senior lecturer at the University of NSW in Sydney, Australia, was frustrated that high school students with a passion for computing and capable of studying at the college level were not able to make the commute to the university fit into their school day so, as I discovered from today’s Facebook find from my Personal Learning Network colleague Will Richardson,

Buckland turned YouTube into a remote classroom where the students could attend lectures virtually and complete coursework. Buckland is dipping his toes into the 21st century waters by posting his lectures online and providing select innovative high school students the opportunity to watch the lectures, do the course work, and…get college credit-for FREE!

This is a step in moving toward what some predict will become an increasing online educational experience. What I love about this option, is once the video is posted, it provides students with a forum to interact via commenting on and rating the videos. It also brings the opportunity to students who may have a difficult time attending classes as was the case for both me and my mother. When I began this endeavor, I was too young to hold a driver's license and needed a special waiver to be allowed to drive to class. It was not easy for my working mother to convince the state that her 15-year-old needed a license. My mother also had difficulty in college, often missing classes and struggling to catch up due to medical issues. This opportunity would have made college much more accessible in our cases, and as you can imagine, many others.

Beyond accessibility, this innovative idea has advantages on all sides. In this case, providing students an opportunity to engage in more challenging coursework, receive college credit, and begin to get a feel for potential colleges, and…providing colleges the opportunity to get to know their potential students, and giving current students a unique, and in many cases, more attractive option for their coursework.

Visit the original post at Forget iTunes U: Students Now Getting College Credit via YouTube.

See other classes at


  1. Great post on the power of an open learning environment through YouTube. Great reading!

  2. great post... we really must move to engaging students.