Posts Tagged 'YouTube'

Michael Wesch Receives Awards for Research

In an earlier post (9/24/08) I wrote about Michael Wesch, cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, and the cutting-edge research he is doing with his students on YouTube.  This week I noticed that he received well-deserved acclaim for that work.   For one, he received an award as one of the top four U.S. Professors of the Year for 2008 from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education which is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The award recognizes excellent teaching and dedication to students at the undergraduate level.

In another realm Michael Wesch’s YouTube about research on YouTube was cited in an article by Emily Gould in the New York Times (Sunday, 11/23/08) .  In that piece entitled “Moments That Mattered,” twelve people wrote about the year’s most memorable media. In one selection by David Byrne he commented on what he gained from watching and listening to Wesch’s hour-long video about YouTube.

Both of these citations attest to the growing prominence of digital media in our lives – and, yes, even in academia. Congratulations to Michael and to all his students who worked with him!

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More ‘tubes’ for learning

I have mentioned to colleagues and written in prior posts that YouTube has been instrumental in my learning about web 2.0.  Video how-tos about web-based tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, etc. are often engaging and easy to understand (especially those produced by Common Craft), and many video tutorials exist that offer a step-by-step approach to signing up for using some of the hosted applications.  And apparently there are many people using available videos to learn all kinds of new things.  But is YouTube is not alone in offering these videos for learning. I read about the variety of video-based lecture sites in the Boston Sunday Globe on November 2, 2008 in an article by Jeffrey MacIntyre entitled “U Tube: Want a free education? A brief guide to the burgeoning world of online video lectures.” Some of these new video sites which he describes and rates according to a number of factors include Fora.tv, Bigtihnk.com, Edge.org, and Technology Entertainment Design (TED).  Even iTunes has a site called iTunes U. I did visit each of these briefly to see what they are all about, and the content does seem somewhat more “academic” as MacIntyre suggests.  But then again, some of YouTube videos are too.  Overall, though, there seems to be more notable people speaking and fewer unknown types on these sites that serve, as MacIntyre claims, as a “thinking person’s YouTube.” But what caught my attention was not the quality or content on the sites, but the fact that they exist.  And the fact that people are listening to and gaining knowledge from them illustrates to me anyway that these e-learning venues are more prolific than I thought just a few short months ago.

A history of YouTube on YouTube

I have been reading Michael Wesch’s netvibes website.  It has tons of stuff.  Although I’m a bit overwhelmed trying to navigate netvibes and learn how to make my own page, I can appreciate all the information that is present on this site. Wesch is a professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University, and he teaches a course in Digital Ethnography. Among other endeavors, he and his students are conducting research about YouTube.  The site contains course information as well as descriptions about the studies he is conducting and many video clips from YouTube. One particular useful one (although they are all informative) is the talk Wesch gave at the Library of Congress in April 2008 about YouTube and its history called “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.” It is fascinating. If you are novice or veteran YouTuber and have always wanted to know the how, what, where, and when, this is the video for you!  It is over 50 minutes long but to totally engaging: Wesch is a terrific speaker and he has an abundance of video clips to exemplify the points he is making.  I was mesmerized and learned a great deal.  I can see how YouTube can be a terrific learning tool – at least it is for this learner.  So follow the link and enjoy – you won’t be disappointed.


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