Should universities be YouTubing?

17 05 2011

At our university, it’s my responsibility to make sure we’re taking advantage of those communication channels — whether they’re traditional or nontraditional — that our audiences are using. It’s no secret that young people– both high school and college student — are watching videos online.

In its E-Expectations report, Noel-Levitz tells us that 59 percent of college-bound high school students use YouTube. Interestingly, in that same report, it says 52 percent of students have watched a video about a college, but only 10 percent of them have watched a college video on YouTube.   

As for college students, an online video study conducted by the Pew Internet American Life Project indicates that they’re voracious online video users.  Ninety-one percent receive video links, 83 percent sent the links to others, and 47 percent post video links online.

At first, that seems like compelling evidence that a college or university should utilize YouTube. So, when the director of our advising center, which was established to help our students with academic issues, suggested she create some video tutorials and post them on our YouTube channel, I thought that would be a great idea.

Her video tutorials cover a wide range of topics, including how to survive finals week, how to read a syllabus, and the top 10 secrets to college success, all potentially valuable information for college students.

However, after reading more in the Pew study about the types of videos college students are watching, it’s no surprise that her tutorials have abysmally low numbers of views. After all, 86 percent of college students are watching comedy (and our tutorials aren’t funny), and 84 percent of watching music videos (our tutorials aren’t very musical.)

It’s making me start to  second guess some of our online video efforts. If someone on our campus is taking the time to create videos, but no one is watching them, it seems like a waste of resources, at a time when resources are limited.

What do you think?

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7 responses

18 05 2011
Should universities be YouTubing? (via jugglingwithnoballs) « astefanick

[…] by astefanick in Uncategorized At our university, it's my responsibility to make sure we're taking advantage of those communication channels — whether they're traditional or nontraditional — that are audiences are using. It's no secret that young people– both high school and college student – are watching videos online. In its E-Expectations report, Noel-Levitz tells us that 59 percent of college-bound high school students use YouTube. Interestingly, in that same report, i … Read More […]

20 05 2011
Kimberly Weinberg

I think you’re on to something, tutorials set to showtunes would be both funny and musical!

20 05 2011
imcpat

Oh, the possibilities are endless. Imagine a tutorial on surviving finals weeks set to “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.” Or, how about a tutorial on how to read a syllabis set to the soundtrack of “Camelot.”

“Syllabis! Syllabis! I know it freaks some students out. Syllabis! Syllabis! It’s what your class is all about.”

Sing it with me everyone. 🙂

21 05 2011
beaker

My kids are two graduating seniors, and they watch youtube every day. However, if I offered to pay them by the minute to watch professionally made videos from prospective colleges, I don’t think it would happen. I do think they would be more receptive to videos made by students, but of course, directing the content to stay “on message” might be a challenge, but not insurmountable.

15 06 2011
James

If a video is not recommended by a peer or friend, then I think students and prospective students will want to self-discover videos that appeal to them. I don’t think that the self-discovery process necessarily means browsing the institution’s YouTube page. They will just do a basic search. With that in mind, using YouTube, primarily as a marketing tool, may not not be worth the time and effort. The videos that are being designed as tools to help students succeed will probably not be viewed very often. However, YouTube makes hosting videos so much easier that trying to post them through some CMS; those kinds of videos will be assigned to specific students to watch.

15 06 2011
imcpat

I agree with you, James. The kinds of videos young people are watching are not the kinds of videos we have produced or likely will want to produce in the future.

8 07 2011
Top college videos and an escaping puppy « jugglingwithnoballs

[…] videos and an escaping puppy 8 07 2011 One of my initial blog entries posed the question: Should universities be YouTubing? Young people are watching videos like nobody’s business, but the kinds of videos they’re […]

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