Well, not really. But……
According to a Washington Post article Monday, December 31, 2007, more and more educators are using YouTube to reach people. The list of universities doing this reads like a Who’s Who: Berkeley, MIT, Johns Hopkins, George Mason, American University, to name only a few from the Post article.
The trick here is that anything posted to YouTube is free. So why are these institutions doing something that does not get into students’ pockets? The altruistic reason cited is in keeping with the mission of higher education — to offer knowledge to everyone.
But for free? A university? What sinister and deceptive motive lies at the heart of this?
The Post says they do it to lure applicants, spread the university’s name, impress donors, and to keep alumni engaged.
Institutions have offered distance education courses for years now, at a price. I am studying how to develop and administer distance education courses as part of my doctoral studies at Towson.
Distance education is institution-based, formal education in which the learning group is separated from the instructor and a traditional classroom and in many cases, each other. Interactive telecommunication systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors. You can typically do the course work any time, 24/7, without having to meet in a regular classroom setting. It is great for working professionals seeking to gain knowledge and/or degrees within career time constraints.
But YouTube? Yea, why not. It gives a university the opportunity to post for free a popular or provocative lecture or lecturer to generate awareness and interest in its programs. There is so much of value that universities can share with the world — research, timely and relevant information on many wide-ranging topics, news people can use — and the greater good is served by offering it up for free.