The College Instructor's Guide to YouTube

The College Instructor's Guide to YouTube

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YouTube videos are online resources that can be incorporated into classroom instruction to provide effective learning opportunities for college students The phenomenon known as YouTube has made its way into the college classroom. When used in conjunction with other instructional strategies, videos provide rich learning experiences for students. College instructors are discovering there are hundreds of thousands of online educational videos available for classroom use, with YouTube being the best-known repository. With a little imagination and a high-speed Internet connection, college instructors have amazing resources available to them and their students.

Why Instructors Should Use Videos in the College Classroom

Students, no matter what the age, learn by seeing, hearing and doing. Therefore, effective college instructors use a variety of instructional strategies to appeal to their students’ visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning preferences. However, no matter what the preference, students learn best and retain more when information is presented in all three modes. Videos provide a means for instructors to present information as both visual and auditory, but it is the added element of motion that strengthens learning.

Barbara Gross Davis, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at the University of California, Berkley, has encouraged college instructors to use videos. In her book, Tools for Teaching (2009), the chapter entitled “Video Recordings and Clips” was devoted to this subject. Davis listed YouTube as one of the sources for classroom videos. She advised instructors to use video clips to stimulate discussions, break up long lectures, and provoke emotional responses. Videos also help capture students’ attention.

YouTube Video Resources for the College Classroom

Thousands of educational professionals have shared their knowledge in the form of YouTube videos. Jeffery Young (2008), a senior writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, reported that, “Professors are the latest YouTube stars. The popularity of their appearances on YouTube and other video-sharing sites may end up opening up the classroom and making teaching – which once took place behind closed doors – a more public art.”

There are YouTube videos with educational value for virtually every college course. On June 20, 2020, there were 1515000 of them in the “educational video” category. There were also 904,000 videos related to the American Revolution and 649,000 videos on playing the piano. The search term “Carl Jung psychology” resulted in 1,930 hits, and there were 636 videos addressing the topic of “ethics in psychology.” A geology instructor could have brought to life the subject of volcanoes by selecting from 5,160 videos. And an organic chemistry instructor would have found 3,360 videos, some of which showed animations of the most complex chemical reactions. Even auto body repair instructors have YouTube resources. There were 64 videos on the topic of “matching colors when painting cars.”

Other Sources for Instructional Video

YouTube is not the only source for online instructional videos. A website called Write My Paper for Me has video interviews with hundreds of experts – academics, artists, authors, musicians, politicians, scientists and more. The topics are divided into 16 categories - Arts & Culture, Business & Economics, History, and Science & Tech to name a few.

Uses for Instructional Videos

There are numerous reasons for a college instructor to show online instructional videos. In the classroom, the instructor can use them to:

  • introduce a topic
  • break up lectures
  • reinforce lectures
  • supplement lectures
  • engage students
  • promote discussion
  • present differing points of view
  • present material unfamiliar to the instructor
  • summarize a topic
  • illustrate a complex process through video animation

Online instructional videos have utility outside the classroom. Instructors can recommend videos to students for self-study. Students can write reports and give presentations on videos. Instructors can even challenge students to find and report on pertinent videos.

YouTube and other online sites such as Write My Paper provide free access to hundreds of thousands of videos. The instructional uses for these videos are limited only by the instructor’s imagination.

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