I often hear students say that they didn’t understand a topic, so they found a video on YouTube for it. Of course they did: YouTube is a fabulous resource that’s available in the middle of the night when they are taking a break at work, or at any other time they need. However, the problem I see with this is two-fold. First, students get sucked into a YouTube rabbit hole where they watch videos for hours and hours once they find what they were looking for. Second, the videos are not equal in quality or correctness.
As part of my sabbatical project, I decided to create a curated video library for a few of my courses. People asked me why I didn’t make my own videos, but my students already get my point of view, so this way, they can still get mine in class and then get others’ via YouTube.
Below are the tips I figured out after being sucked into my own rabbit holes of ballet techniques and Disney tips and tricks:
- You have to watch every video—the whole thing. I had a few videos that were great for the first 75%, but then something was said towards the end that would be confusing to students. For example, a video from one of my favorite sources gave the volume of a buret to the incorrect precision. Ugh, can’t use it!
- Turn off autoplay (highlighted below). You will be less likely to get off-topic. Recommend your students to do the same.
- Watch all videos at 1.5 speed. You don’t need to learn the content; you just need to make sure that you are OK with everything in the video. Click on the gear to change the settings, including the playback speed.
- You will have your favorites, but remember that you are not your students. Use videos from a variety of sources.
- Learn from others! Pick up a new way to explain something or a great new example.
- Subscribe to your favorite channels and like their videos. That’s how they get paid!
- Double-check that videos are closed-captioned.
- Save the videos to a playlist and share the link on your course’s LMS. I have found the playlist helpful when I want to find the videos again, but I’m giving students the links in the section of the LMS related to the content. I don’t want them just going through the playlist. They should think that they are just there to watch one video.
And now, here are some of my favorites!
These two have a lot of videos on a lot of things, in addition to solid Organic Chemistry videos:
Professor Dave Explains: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0cd_-e49hZpWLH3UIwoWRA.
The Organic Chemistry Tutor: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEWpbFLzoYGPfuWUMFPSaoA.
If you are looking for General Chemistry, Science History, Study Skills, or pretty much anything else, these videos are the best. They are interesting and entertaining (especially on 1.5 speed):
Crash Course: https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse/featured.
There are plenty of other channels that I have added to my lists, but these are a great place to start.
Stay out of the rabbit hole!
-Heather Sklenicka, Rochester Community and Technical College
Feel free to share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below!