User generated content on YouTube

Elaine Tan and Nick Pearce gave a nice presentation yesterday at the Blackboard user conference on the ways in which they have been using YouTube videos in their teaching.



The use of video in the classroom has a long history. They showed Jean Marc Cote 1899 vision of education of the future, i.e. with books going straight into the brains of learners, transmission of knowledge. They also quoted Sneldon and Perkins (2009) and Cubin (1984) work on how technologies are used in the classroom. Back in 1951, Hoban and Van Ormer suggested that the effectiveness of films depends on how well their content is related is a specific instructional objective, i.e. it is not about the technology.

Early strategies for the use of film include using it in the following ways: process,  to provide an overview, initiating lessons, topic survey, demonstration, speeding up/slowing down, visit dangerous or remote regions, motion animation, expert lecture, micro cinema, performance and dramatization.

The questions Elaine and Nick were interested in included the following. What makes online video different? There is now a massive amount of video now available, freely and openly available.

Challenges include – the fact that there is an enormous amount of resources available how do you find appropriate content, there are also quality control issues, and a lack of control (advertising for example, where is it, how long will it be there).

Project aims:

·      To investigate the use of online vides in teaching introductory sociology.

·      To explore creating playlists as a community resource.

·      To look at the practical issues (pedagogical, technological and legal).

Exploring digital literacies – extent and presence strategies and consumption. They quoted Lea and Jones (2011) paper - Digital literacies in higher education – exploring textual and technological practice Studies in HE 36 (4) 377-393.

The research method consisted of 3 focus groups (n =24) with an external facilitator to explore the research questions. In particular they asked students about the following aspects:

·      The use of online video in the classroom

·      Quality and value for learning

·      Established playlists

·      Personal use

·      Strategies – how were they evaluating and using.


·      Thoughts: acceptable use, facilitated value and recommended viewing.

·      Issues – the role of the teacher, establishing a benchmark, diversity and democracy, social and sharing.

·      Benefits: Breaks up a lecture, keeps me interested, someone else’s views on a topic, alternative to group work, value of visualization as an aid to memory. Facilitated value of watching the video in class in a social context. Way of passing information on in this day and age, getting the opinion of others.

Nick also referenced his SCORE fellowship, which is on the topic of diversity and democracy. He described how his students were sending videos to him to include in the playlist he set up for the course, he referred to this as students as resource scavengers, finding what works for them.

A key finding was that this was about being social and sharing. They were interested to find that student use of social platforms was complex and multimodal. They used other platforms such as fb. The project gave them a rich picture of the interactions between students in informal learning environment, and how this impacted on the formal and thoughts on learning.


2 Responses to “User generated content on YouTube”

  1. Jfvernon Says:

    This is what brought me to e- learning. I produced my first professional training video as an undergraduate in the early 1980s and have produced over 150 since.

  2. Gráinne Says:

    Wow that is impressive! I got into elearning creating interactive tutorials for my students using authorware back in the late 80s, haven’t looked back since!

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