On the Net: College too expensive? Try YouTube

Apr 09, 2009 By JAKE COYLE , AP Entertainment Writer

(AP) -- It might seem counterintuitive to look for higher education alongside Avril Lavigne music videos, but the video-sharing site has become a major reservoir of college content.

The Inc.-owned has for the last few years been forging partnerships with universities and colleges. The site recently gathered these video channels under the banner YouTube EDU (http://www.youtube.com/edu ).

More than 100 schools have partnered with YouTube to make an official channel, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and the first university to join YouTube: UC Berkeley.

There are promotional videos like campus tours, but the more interesting content is straight from the classroom or lecture hall. Many schools have posted videos of guest lecturers, introductory classes and even a full semester's course.

At a time when many are finding college unaffordable and the ranks of the unemployed are swelling, free higher learning can sound like a good way to spend some free time.

"There's a huge appetite around the world for people to better themselves, to study subjects that they either never got a chance to or haven't studied in a while," said Obadiah Greenberg, the strategic partnership manager for YouTube.

In the past five years or so, colleges and universities have been increasingly opening their doors digitally to the public.

"That Ivory Tower reputation may be even more dated than the advent of YouTube," said Scott Stocker, director of Web communications at Stanford.

In 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the MIT OpenCourseWare (ocw.mit.edu ) with the plan to make virtually all the school's courses available for free online.

As a visitor, one almost feels like you've somehow sneaked through a firewall. There's no registration and within a minute, you can be watching Prof. Walter Lewin demonstrate the physics of a pendulum by being one himself.

Last December, MIT announced that OCW had been visited by more than 50 million people worldwide. But why would institutions that charges a huge price for admission give away their primary product?

Ben Hubbard, program manager of the webcast project for the University of California, Berkeley, believes it has always been a part of a university's vocation.

"The mission of the university has been the same since our charter days back in the 1800s," said Hubbard. "It's threefold: there's teaching, research and community service. Probably in the 1800s they weren't thinking of it as the globe, but technology has really broken down those barriers of geography."

In 1995, Berkeley launched its webcasts (webcast/berkeley.edu ) with video and audio webcasts of classes.

In 2007, Apple created iTunes U, a service that allows schools to make material accessible only internally by students or externally by anyone. Most schools do a little of both.

Tools like iTunes U and YouTube EDU not only benefit the community and those called "lifelong learners" curious for a lesson or two in engineering or economics. But these services are powerful marketing tools that ultimately only provide one dimension of the college experience, schools say.

"We all see that the real value in a college education goes so far beyond the lectures that faculty give," said Stocker. "It's a way for people to get a taste of what the Stanford experience is, but you're not getting a degree and you're not getting direct interaction with faculty."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 13

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earls
2 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2009
"you're not getting a degree"

End of story.
LuckyBrandon
5 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2009
earls-getting the degree from it doesnt really matter. You can use tools like this to learn all the content necessary, then go pay for soem credit hours and test out of entire classes....thereby minimizing any true degree seeking greatly.
earls
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 09, 2009
A valid point. There may be additional obstacles though... What if the class has a lab? Some classes you simply can't test out of. I'd imagine you need a certainly level of self-discipline as well. The costs saving would certainly be worth it though!
rfw
4 / 5 (3) Apr 09, 2009
"you're not getting a degree" is most certainly NOT the "End of story."

Well educated citizens have far more value to society that just those with degrees. It is quite possible to live a happy, productive and valuable life without a degree and those with degrees know that degrees alone do not guarantee financial or intellectual success.
earls
2 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2009
Your points may certainly be true, rfw, but the motivation to sit through hours upon hours of YouTube videos with no verification for doing so is no substitute for a real degree, regardless of the amount of education obtained.

During a job interview, what's going to carry more weight? "I watched 128 hours of MIT YouTube videos" or "I completed 128 credit hours at MIT and received a BS degree."

Want to expand your mind? Watch videos.

What to earn a degree? Go to class.

How many C-level High School students are going to take advantage of these videos "for the hell of it?" As in, for no degree? Not too many, I'd imagine.
OregonWind
3.5 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2009
I agree with earls. Most companies want to see who has the knowledge to perform the job but they want to know also who had the discipline, determination and patience to finish a college degree. Besides, watching a video is not an assurance that you understood the classes and mastered the skills. However, they are great tools and many lessons are enjoyable.
Ashibayai
5 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2009
I've watched a lot of these courses out of pure curiosity and learned a lot from them. I never expected anything to become of it, and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone in place of college. They would, however, be good for anyone that wants to learn ahead, diversify their education, review, or for people who simply enjoy learning.

My only problem now is thinking that if I went to study these materials in college I'd be awfully bored very quickly.
el_gramador
5 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2009
On the bright side, just think of how fast the information dispersal is.
Redhead7
not rated yet Apr 10, 2009
This is only the start. Please see Onlinevideoclassroom.com
ijeffrey
not rated yet Apr 13, 2009
It has potential, but there needs to be a formalized process to verify the knowledge gained. Employers get thousands of resumes sent to them every day with a simple click. They sort and filter out by keywords, especially formal degrees. Without being formally accredited, the videos are only useful to a very small niche of people, at least in the near future.
Toady_the_Blarg
not rated yet Apr 21, 2009
With discipline and ambition a person can generate capital and pursue his or her own interests without any formal education. But of course there are key environmental factors in a persons life that may or may not be conducive to such a pursuit. In the case that circumstances are permissive this sort of thing can make for an invaluable reference. Bill Gates for instance never graduated. Many artists and musicians and a surprising number of entrepreneurs have made their way to notable success without formal education as well, though success is rarely attained without any education be it formal or not.
LuckyBrandon
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2009
I think all here so far have had valid points from what I've read so far.
I will start by saying, I make into the 6 digits a year, and I do NOT have a degree. In fact, I have only a GED. The primary reason for this, and my success, I firmly believe, is simply because my entire life, I have done things to enhance my knowledge in areas os interest, with my output not being a degree, but being the knowledge I now have, proving that knowledge truly is power. I have been passed up by a couple jobs for people with degrees, only to have htem call me a month later asking me to come to them for even more money because the degreed person had a degree, but did not have the true know how to perform the job right. Labs in classes cannot prevent that...until you perform a task repetitively, you are not experienced.

To those who opposed earls...earls and I have had our disagreements in the past, but he is NOT off base here. His point is entirely valid. This defense of him coming from someone with my life experience, as just explained, should take this as gospel in this area as far as I'm concerned. He is not off base by any means....so now for my commetns to you guys...

Earls-you are most certainly correct. You can not earn any degree by testing out of every class. I have been offered credit hours at colleges when I was thinking of going for my professional experience, as well as test out results, but that still elft a TON of hands on classes to perform that you simply cannot test out of (they can however be virtualized such as the university of of arizona's big ole city). Self discipline is definitely a must, as it is much easier to grab that beer in the fridge then that book on your shelf, or that site on the net.
I believe your comments following are also accurate: Want to expand your mind? Watch videos.
What to earn a degree? Go to class.

I will add to this though, that I beleive any employer serious about finding the best candidate will actually test their candidates on their knowledge, as is the case in the field I work in many times in my experience (that being the IT field). As I mentioned earlier...book knowledge does not make up for real knowledge or experience.

I am an exception with my successes in life, by no means a rule...and your point, again, was dead on, I would not be where I am without having had the self discipline to do things like sit down and read entire encyclopedia sets and my moms college books at the ages of about 4-present age (and yes, I could read college level books at the age of 4 believe it or not...talking at 8 months, and walking at 9-10 months too believe it or not..and better than that, scooting on a skateboard at 5 months :D)...ok enough tooting my own horn..sorry guys...I wanted to give an example of the self discipline truly necessary to make success without a degree IN MY EXPERIENCE.

rfw-I do agree that being well educated even without a degree is much better than having a degree, especially an idiot with a degree (look at all Texas schools from elementary up for that one). After all, some of the biggest MORONS I have ever met have had bachelor to masters level degrees, and still dont know wtf they're talking about. While I was at Microsoft, I saw this daily, so much in fact in made me sick to my stomach and I left never to return because of it....degrees make ignorant people who think they know it all, even if you put the facts and tests in front of them...to me, no matter what degree you have, that makes you amongst the biggest idiots on the planet.
BUT, earls point after your comment is valid....an employer will ALWAYS prefer a degree over no degree until the candidate is at a truly representative amount of experience. To use an example, a decade of true hardcore experience, may be looked at by an employer as equal to some idiot who just graduated with a bachelors degree. That is one of the problems with the corporate entities of this world, and again, completely taken care of by simply testing true knowledge before even offering a 1st interview. I myself, being on the mgmt end now and being responsible for the hiring and firing of people, do NOT look at degrees due to my experiences, but again, I am the exception, not the rule. People I hire without a degree I always have a harder time getting approval for hire from the VPs than somebody with a degree.

toady-I agree with you to a point, but again, look at my past, I come from a home where we had boarded up windows as a small child, let alone screens (although we did have a screen door sitting on one hinge). Normally, a person from my background would accept that as life, and it takes a certain person to be able to get out of that situation..not person, a certain mindset, that people from poorer backgrounds simply cannot grasp alot of the times, especially without having hte push from their family that they MUST do things like college.
Oh I have another example for you too...Bill Cosby....only has a GED....
finn
not rated yet Jun 05, 2009
college may be expensive but there is a way of reducing the costs. i just think that students need to re-assess the schools they wish to apply to - you can dramatically slash the costs of going to college simply by choosing a community college or an online school - that's what i'm doing right now (so i'm well versed in online learning and the world of youtube!) i know some people think i'm missing out or that there's no real merit to online degrees, but i reckon that is rubbish. all learning is valuable, no matter what the medium. here's an article that talks about the rise of online learning (really students have grown up on technology, so i only see the popularity increase in years to come)..http://www.top-co...ucation/

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