From EduResources Weblog–Higher Education Resources Online Thu, Oct 4 2007 by JH:

Inside Higher Ed reports on the new full-format course lectures from UC Berkeley: “Berkeley has always been on the leading edge of what it calls the ‘open-source video movement,’ launching a video streaming portal in 2001 and
participating in the initial launch this year of Apple’s iTunes U, which offers free downloadable audio and video podcasts of lectures. The university announced on Wednesday that select courses, as well as some special events and lectures, would now be posted on Berkeley’s YouTube portal, free of charge and available to anyone with an Internet connection.”

“While other universities have pages set up on YouTube, Berkeley says it is the first to upload full courses for public consumption. But the main change is the method of delivery, since many institutions already offer course materials and some access to lectures online. The move to streaming video echoes the trend of universities embracing as many online platforms as possible in order to connect with students or potential students, including iTunes, social networking, blogs, YouTube and in-house portals. Each has its strengths. Podcasts can be stored on a computer and downloaded to an iPod, while YouTube videos can be viewed on any platform and shared with friends.”

I sampled lectures from six of the courses and found them to vary greatly in their video quality. Some lectures spend a lot of time on local questions about homework, projects, scheduling and other workaday topics that will be of no interest to outside viewers. The lectures will be of most use, I expect, for teachers from other institutions who want to compare their coverage of a course topic with that of their Berkeley counterparts. Also, the lectures will be of use to students who are enrolled in courses at other institutions who want to compare the Berkeley lectures with local lectures. The courses would be very heavy slogging for independent learners, but that is as it should be, because these course offerings are not edited, simplified condensations but lecture-by-lecture coverage of complete courses.