College too expensive? Try YouTube. 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.
YouTube 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 (www.youtube.com/edu). Over 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 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the MIT OpenCourse Ware 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 professor 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.