California college first to offer class on YouTube

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September 18, 2007

1:35 AM

__Pitzer College’s new class gains attention through popular internet site__

Pitzer College, a private, liberal arts college in California, gained national recognition this fall for being the first school to offer a class examining the internet video-sharing website YouTube.com. The class, taught by media studies Professor Alexandra Juhasz, states that its aim is to examine and investigate the effects of YouTube on various aspects of everyday life.

p. YouTube is also used as a tool within the classroom. Every session of class is taped and posted on YouTube. Juhasz said in her introductory video that the class is an “experiment,” and she hopes outside observers will critique the class after viewing the clips online.

p. “It’s a class like I’ve never taught before and a class I’m not certain has ever been taught before,” Juhasz said during the introductory video.

p.While students are required to watch certain videos and comment on the videos’ content as well as post homework assignments online, students are also encouraged to post videos of their own in order to investigate how people react to them in the form of comments. One student posted a 1.5-minute video of himself juggling.

p. Students will eventually get the chance to tape the class sessions, choosing how the camera is controlled and learning about video production.

p. “I’m interested to see where this goes afterward, if this catches on at other colleges,” one student said about the first class session video.

p. Juhasz said that she views the course as rigorous. She notes that it challenges students to ask basic questions about media and society. Topics that the class hopes to cover include the role of media expression and pedagogy, or the science of the benefits of learning subject material online versus in person. The first section of the course consists of posting homework assignments on YouTube. Later, students will choose a thesis topic and conduct research using only YouTube.

p. “That’s the whole charm of the class,” Juhasz said. “It’s about it, and on it. You are living in it.”

p. The class, which has roughly 50 students, has already become popular at Pitzer College, where the average class size is fewer than 15 students.

p. Students have already posted extensive comments under the first class session video, including requests for a clearer video image of the syllabus and a transcript of class discussions. One student posted a comment saying the class was “the bomb.”

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