Inviting the World into the Online Classroom: Teaching a Gaming in Libraries Course Via YouTube

Article excerpt

This article discusses an online graduate-level course that was taught primarily using videos posted publicly to YouTube and the Internet Archive. Videos were created specifically for this course by the instructor and by library professionals and posted each day for a 30-day period. All videos were posted publicly, and the American Library Association hosted an open discussion forum about each video. Formal enrollment in the course was low, but hundreds of people watched the videos. Post-course surveys indicate that viewers were a mix of librarians and library students along with hobby gamers and members of the gaming industry. This case study demonstrates the impact that a library school course can have on the field when the content is made freely available and distributed through social media networks.

Keywords: online education, video, open educational resources, assessment, continuing education, case study

Introduction

The model of the traditional classroom has been challenged. A Webcast discussion between well-known technology pundits, led by Leo Laporte, focused on the point that other service fields have drastically changed the way they interact with users in the last hundred years, but traditional lecture-based instruction has stayed the same. They challenged the way that students currently interact with information, and encouraged faculty members to explore new ways of delivering content (Laporte, 2009). Video-based social media networks like YouTube are ideal for delivering media content for free to a wide variety of audiences.

During the summer of 2009, I taught an asynchronous online course on my research area, Gaming in Libraries, using YouTube as the primary platform for the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. This course was a graduate one-credit distance course and was made available to a number of library programs through the WISE+ program. The course was taught in partnership with the American Library Association with additional funding for the course provided by the Kauffman Enitiative project. The entire course is still available through http://www.gamesinlibraries.org/course/ ?page_id=l 17. This paper presents the structure of the course, data about participation in the course, impact that the course had, and recommendations for others interested in similar ventures.

Related Literature

The concept of providing high-quality content for free is at the baseline of the Open Educational Resources movement. According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Web site (2010, ¶1), "Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality, openly licensed educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge." In the United States, the Hewlett Foundation has been the primary funder of development of the OER movement (Wiley and Gurrell, 2009). The first reference to the term OER was at a UNESCO conference in 2002, and the concept has continued to grow since that time (Center for Educational Research and Innovation, 2007). One of the best-known implementations of the OER model is the Open Courseware consortium. While MIT is the best known contributor to the Open Courseware project, with over 1900 available courses (MIT Open Courseware, 2009), participants include more than 200 different institutions, each with materials from at least 10 courses made freely available (Open Courseware Consortium, 2010).

One of the conceptual frameworks behind the funding of the OER movement is shown in Figure 1 . This model presents the relationships between the creation of freely available educational content online, the removal of barriers to access of high-quality resources, and the resulting motivation in the recipients of this content to better understand a topic and pursue additional resources. The end result is that access to high-quality materials is provided to a greater number of individuals. …