October 29, 2010
I have been teaching from three scholarly books (Burgess and Green, Snickars and Vonderau, Strangelove) devoted to YouTube for this year’s go at Learning from YouTube, a huge difference. First, the books provide a pedagogic structure, both in that they themselves are structured, and also that they give us somewhere serious to go each week. For the first two years, we were as aimless as is YouTube: useful as a mirror, useless for a semester. Secondly, the books are written by experts and in previous years we turned to the amateurs who populate YouTube’s pages. Again, books are a much better way to learn structured, coherent, and disciplined information, while a step away from a course that mirrored what it studied as method.
Finally, Dr. Strangelove, like me, is currently teaching his book, is, and like me, is live and present and available on YouTube, where we both hunker down, re-thinking modes of pedagogy, audience, performance, qualities of academic writing, and the like. My students were asked to create “tours” of YouTube videos (playlists), to make an argument about Strangelove’s findings. They did some great work given the irregularity of the assignment. And then, Strangelove spoke!