YouTube, the popular video portal, has uploaded, for the first time, video recordings of course lectures from the University of California Berkeley. The University has definitely made a bold step in educating the general public through one of the most accessible means on the net. YouTube, on the other hand, has provided a means for that and may attract to its bandwaggon, scholars and learners everywhere. However, as this is an initial step, more videos are yet to arrive on more subjects and lectures. So, time will have to test the fate of content that is not so easily understood as most YouTube videos.
The subjects available on site include Bio Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, and Non-Violence and so on. The numerous videos pertaining to the subject matter are of reasonable quality, but following through on the lectures might be a bit of a struggle for some. In addition, the voice quality of the lecture should be taken into account by YouTube as this is the most important component as visuals may not always be as pleasing unless ofcourse we have labs and other visual treats.
Nevertheless, we will just wait and see if people participate in thought provoking and quality discussions on the subject matter through commenting and other means. Personally, I hope that other universities and colleges follow suit with a similar web launch, not necessarily in YouTube, but anywhere on the web where reasonable video quality and excellent audio is available. This definitely will make a difference to time starved individuals who have to balance work, family and social responsibilities. Perhaps people might be drawn to the lectures just to learn and grow. This might very well be the next stage in integrating the knowledge base with the internet. However, let us ensure that education is not made into a web gimmick and really reflect the professionalism and integrity of a quality education in the videos as well. Regardless, this is a modest step in the right direction as long as suitable individuals are steering the wheel.
Click here for a full YouTube listing of courses at Berkeley