Friday, October 5, 2007

UC Berkeley offers free course lectures on YouTube

The University of California at Berkeley took a dive into the Web 2.0 world with Wednesday's launch of a program that offers entire course lectures and special events on YouTube to all Internet users without charge.

Users can view more than 300 hours of videotaped courses on topics that include bioengineering, peace and conflict studies, and physics, the university said. Moving forward, Berkeley said that it will constantly expand its catalogue of YouTube videos.

"UC Berkeley on YouTube will provide a public window into university life - academics, events and athletics - which will build on our rich tradition of open educational content for the larger community," said Christina Maslach, UC Berkeley's vice provost for undergraduate education, in a statement.

Berkeley said that it is the first university to offer lectures on the YouTube site. However, it noted that it has used open-source video since 2001, when the campus's Educational Technology Services division launched, a local site that now provides course and event content via podcasts and streaming video.

The university noted that the number of courses available by podcast has increased from 15 to 86 since that program was launched in April, 2006.

Dan Herman, an analyst at research firm New Paradigm, blogged that while the university's YouTube project and previous podcasting efforts don't "allow for the engagement that makes academia what it is, it's a heck of an improvement over readings lists, course notes and audio recordings."

In addition, Herman noted that such programs could help improve access to post-secondary education in developing countries where budgets are focused on primary education.


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