Using Shared Online Video to Anchor Instruction: YouTube and Beyond

It was August 26, 2009. That evening I receive a phone call from someone in Japan looking to create free online math and science courses on mobile devices for youth in India using existing shared online video. The following day, I get an email from a colleague at a university in Canada who had just read my new book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. Many points made in the book seemed to resonate with him except for my advocacy of YouTube videos in teaching. Like most faculty members, he was very reluctant to show the YouTube homepage to his class because an offensive video might be featured.

Fortunately, the sources of videos for your classes extend far YouTube. There is BBC News: Video and Audio, CNN Video, MIT World, SciVee, Yahoo! Video, Google Video, MSNBC Video, Current TV, NASA TV, Discovery Channel Videos, National Geographic Video, Hulu, TeacherTube, Link TV, NomadsLand, and so much more! Today there is even YouTube Edu and hundreds of colleges and universities with their own channels on YouTube.

And it is not going to slow down. The use of shared online video may become the major source of your course content by the middle the next decade. The key question that comes up is how to use it effectively. Listed below are 10 ideas for integrating online video into your courses.

  1. Online Video Anchoring: Use online videos to anchor your instruction and make it come to life.
  2. Online Video Ender: Employ online videos to wrap up a class, activity, lecture, or other course event.
  3. On Demand Key Concept Reflections: Play a shared online video when appropriate to illustrate points, concepts, principles, or theories from the current unit, chapter, or lecture.
  4. Pause and Reflect: In a live class, you can play a portion of a video in YouTube or some other source and reflect on the content and then play another section and so on; continuous video, chat, and reflection.
  5. Online Class Previews and Discussion: Post useful online videos to the course management system for students to watch prior to or after class.
  6. Cool Resource Provider Handouts: Ask students to sign up to be the person who finds and presents relevant online videos (i.e., the “cool resource provider”) after which the class can discuss or debate them.
  7. Anchor Creators: Require students to create their own YouTube videos to illustrate course concepts or ideas.
  8. Video Anchor Competitions: Assign students to find relevant videos for the week and send the list to the instructor(s) for viewing and selecting (with class recognition or bonus points if used).
  9. Video Anchor Debates: Create a task where students are required to find YouTube or other online video content representing the pros and cons of a key class issue or topic which they discuss or debate.
  10. Anchor Creator Interviews: Require that students find YouTube videos relevant to course concepts and then interview the video creator or invite that person in for a class chat.

Curtis J. Bonk is Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. He has a popular blog called TravelinEdMan and is the author of The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education as well as Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Ideas, for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing.