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YouTube And You: College Credit For YouTube?

Dec 6, 2007
In a classroom at Pfizer College in Claremont, Calif, students sit watching Media Studies professor Alexandra Juhasz. Some of the students have their heads down, others are covertly eating or drinking, but most are paying close attention, their eyes leaving Juhaszs face only momentarily to glance at the camera that is recording the class session for later posting on YouTube.

This is the Internet age, and these students are enrolled in Learning From YouTube, a semester long class designed to explore what Prof. Juhasz describes as the role of corporate sponsored democratic media expression.

Students communicate with each other online, posting videos and comments, and encouraging YouTube users from around the world to post comments. Among the postings, in addition to excerpts from each class section, is a look at the class syllabus, accompanied by the theme song from Futurama, a student juggling roles of toilet paper, and several students explaining their take on one of their posting assignments What Is YouTube?

Students can also post their comments on classmates, other YouTube users videos, which means that the topics of discussion are virtually limitless in scope. In most of these response posts, the students express their opinions as to why the video posting site has grown so rapidly in popularity in just a few years.

YouTube is, explains an unnamed student in his video class assignment, is a place for people to express themselves. Some of these people would never have an audience, but with YouTube, they can share their views and get responses from people around the world. In a YouTube video entitled Pitzer College Public Press Release, Learning From YouTube Professor Juhasz is described as a YouTube skeptic and champion of democratic media, and Juhasz herself says that she was under whelmed by the site, but recognized its cultural relevancy and the impact that it is having on global communications in general.

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has been the go-to site for users looking to view, and post, clips of music videos, television shows, news outtakes, confessionals, and, most notably, Presidential addresses and debates. The site has been awarded Best Invention of The Year, by Time magazine, and was the first website to receive an Entertainer of the Year award from Entertainment Weekly.

YouTube, says student Darren Grose, who is responsible for filming many of the class sessions, is a phenomenon that should be studied very closely.
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