The Hottest New YouTube Video Starring: Your Professor?

Fordham Community Iffy About YouTube’s College Partnerships


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

Let’s “get some shoes,” mourn with Chris Crocker and go to class? In the near future, this may all be possible from the comfort of your dorm room, due to efforts by Web sites like YouTube to “be a venue for academe.” In the past few months, several colleges have signed agreements with the site to set up official ‘channels’,” according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. There are no costs involved; by simply signing the agreement, colleges allow YouTube to brand a section of the site with the school logo and they are able to “upload longer videos than typical users are allowed,” reported the Chronicle.  This development may take education, which for the most part is a private, intimate experience and open it up to be a more public experience. Lecture videos uploaded by professors will be available to anyone, anywhere in the world who accesses the education category on YouTube’s Web site.

As video-sharing Web sites collaborate with colleges at an impressive rate, will Fordham jump on the bandwagon of internationally broadcasted education? If it’s up to the students and professors, this won’t be happening anytime soon.  Lauren Cardon, professor of English at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), fears the YouTube broadcast poses a series of problems. “Why go to class when you can sit in your pj’s and watch the lecture at home? Or why pay attention in lecture when you can just listen to it again later?” Cardon said.  While she agrees this may be useful for “online universities or for distance learning, for colleges which still have classrooms and human interaction, it is better to be in the room with the person.”

This wasn’t the only negative response this development elicited. Father Terrance Klein, FCLC professor of theology, said this is a “technological advancement that inhibits rather than enhances education because it envisions education as simply the transference of information from professor to student, rather than an interactive dynamic.”

Brian Rose, professor of communications, however, thinks “it’s a great idea for professors to make lectures available on YouTube, because of the enormous wealth of material that would now be available to everyone.” Nonetheless, he still would rather not take part. “What I do in the classroom, stays in the classroom,” he said. “It depends very much on the chemistry of each individual class and the students who are there.”

Students are also opposed to Fordham joining the online community, but for different reasons. Danielle Page, FCLC ’10, is especially opposed to her professors being available on YouTube. “The fact that I pay $40,000 a year for professors others are accessing for free on YouTube would rub me the wrong way,” Page said.

While YouTube’s alliance with universities will be an educational benefit or hindrance is yet to be known, one thing’s for sure: Lincoln Center won’t be finding out anytime soon.