Idowu Adegbilero-Iwari on ResearchGate


Monday, November 6, 2017

This Unnecessary "War" Against YouTube by Academics

Adegbilero-Iwari, Idowu
As a library and information science (LIS) professional, I felt so embarrassed last Friday emerging from an academic parley, staff training sort of , where some of the scholars (mid-old) condemned the contents of YouTube tagging it as "nonacademic", can not be used to teach students, or should not be recommended to students. This tongue-lash was a response to a lecturer (vibrant) who narrated how he used YouTube to teach his classes. I felt like this is a huge step backward to the early days when Google itself was discountenanced in academic arena. Even, without thanks to Google Scholar, the story has changed. Everybody wants to look for his missing bedspread on Google.

To safe your useful time, suffice it to say that, YouTube is the real deal even for academic learning! YouTube is described to offer wide range of user-generated and corporate media videos. Its content includes "video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers, live streams, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos" (Wikipedia).
There is hardly anything in the world today you can not learn on YouTube. From artisans to artists, well-meaning professors to renowned universities, just anybody or any body, have YouTube channels through which they perform, teach and share vital information.  Just like any information source, it behoves the user to verify facts where doubts arise. But to say the least, YouTube is a great learning media, fantastic aid to teaching and a complete platform to master just anything that appeals to You (YouAnkara, YouFashion, YouLecture, YouSongs, YouWorship,... YouAnything).
For instance, Stanford University, one of top 5 universities in the world, has near 700,000 subscribers to its YouTube channel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare has over 1.3 million subscribers; while Yale University's channel is subscribed to by near 100,000, its online learning platform, YaleCourses has over 500,000 subscribers which is in close relation to Harvard University's. These are the universities that rank highest at any time by any ranking system. So, it is extremely strange and absolutely unnecessary to hurl such reprimand on the academic capability of an iconic Web creation. Whereas I seek not to defend the self-defending YouTube, because it will be a baseless effort, the learners of this generation know where their information lay and the rich sources like YouTube to explore in order to get them.
My admonition to those of us in the LIS profession is that we should focus on information literacy and/or digital literacy to prevent being unwittingly awakened to unnecessarily bickering on whether the Web and its search engines (Google, YouTube, etc.) have taken the place of libraries or not.

1. American Library Association 
2. Wkikpedia
3. YouTube

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