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Teaching and Learning with Online Educational Videos: A Subject List of Web Resources for Educators (August 2013): Video MOOCs

By Susan Ariew

Video MOOCs

In addition to video hosting sites that are both specialized and comprehensive, a new phenomenon in higher education involves instructional/educational videos related to the Massively Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) aimed at large-scale participation via the web.  As Martin Snyder writes in a recent article, “The goal was and is laudable: to offer free, world-class education to anyone and everyone with Internet access.  The MOOC represents the ultimate democratization of education, at least in theory.”[1]  The creation of MOOCs has given rise to videos that provide educational experiences for any user who can access them.

Taylor Walsh’s book Unlocking the Gates outlines the development of MOOCs and the major universities that host high-quality educational videos for the public.  One of the first and best of the MOOCs has been Open Yale Courses, a site that offers professional quality lecture videos recorded live in the classroom with a videographer following the action.  Courses include a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  Videos attempt to capture faithfully the Yale student experience for anyone who wishes to “audit” the Yale courses virtually.[2]  Full transcripts of lectures are available for learners who do not have connectivity to view videos.

Aside from Yale and its groundbreaking Open Yale Courses, several other high-profile universities have gotten on the bandwagon and created online courses and videos to accompany them.  For the purposes of this essay, only online video channels and sites will be discussed—not all distance learning formats for MOOCs that are available on the web.

Academic Earth

 This comprehensive site includes many free lectures from scholars at institutions such as MIT, Notre Dame, Drexel, and UCLA, but it is also an advertisement to students who wish to earn online degrees in distance programs.  The site is organized around universities, instructors, subjects, and playlists.  In the Humanities section, for example, one finds lectures related to history, languages, literature, religious studies, and even communications and education from Yale, Stanford, and UCLA.  This site pulls from many sites at once, such as the Khan Academy and Yale’s Open Courses site.  If one wishes to avoid the advertisements for online classes from for-profit schools, one can visit individual MOOC sites.  Below are a few similar sites worth mentioning.


Similar to Academic Earth, this is a gateway site pulling content from hundreds of MOOCs offering video lectures in biology, engineering, medicine, management, accounting, dentistry, nursing, psychology, history, language learning, literature, law, economics, philosophy, astronomy, and political science.  Included are live timed online tests with instant feedback and explanations to help students master the materials.  Most of the content is licensed by the Creative Commons.

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT courses are organized by subject with free lecture notes, exams, and videos.  In looking through subject matter, it appears that some courses have video lectures while others do not.  While OpenCourseWare (OCW) material is freely available, MIT wants users to know that it does not grant degrees or certificates, it does not provide access to MIT faculty, and materials may not reflect the entire content of the courses posted.  Each course lists a home page, syllabus, assigned readings, and video lectures, if available.  For example, the course “Darwin and Design” includes twenty-two video lectures by professor James Paradis, along with course materials.  All items are copyrighted through Creative Commons licensing.  The site solicits donations from the public because each course published with videos costs $10,000 to $15,000 for licensing and video work.

Open Culture

Sponsored by lead editor Dan Colman, director and associate dean of Stanford’s Continuing Education program, Open Culture brings together quality cultural and educational media for the world community.  Founded in 2006, it is a comprehensive gateway video/audio site to free courses, free textbooks, audio books, free movies, free language lessons, science videos, “Smart YouTube One Channel,” “Intelligent Video Sites,” and free popular culture film classics by such greats as Alfred Hitchcock.  It is a rich cultural and educational resource.


Part of the United Kingdom’s Open University, OpenLearn allows users to connect to free courses, use subject categories to discover articles, watch videos and interactive learning objects, join debates, and learn how to plan and prepare a course of study.  The site is organized by broad topics and by disciplines.

Stanford University
 (YouTube One Channel)

The Stanford University channel on YouTube provides an archive of videos from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Medicine, Stanford Law School, Stanford School of Engineering, Stanford School of Humanities, and the Alumni Association, highlighting seminars, faculty lectures, events, news, and more.

UCLA Courses
 (YouTube One Channel)

Like OpenYale, courses at UCLA allow viewers to watch complete UCLA undergraduate course lectures.  Playlists on the channel are organized by disciplines and topics.

USC Annenberg
 (YouTube One Channel)

This channel presents video course and public lectures from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.  Content and channels cover media, economics, entrepreneurship, the Norman Lear Center lectures, the USC Annenberg Center on Communications, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and videos from Impact, a television news magazine produced by journalism students.


This is the central service of the University of California, Berkeley for online video and audio and learners around the globe.  The site includes audio and video of hundreds of courses in all disciplines.  Next to each course there are links to iTunes University hosting for audio and video, as well as to YouTube for videos.

[1] Martin Snyder, “Much Ado about MOOCs,” Academe, 98, no. 6 (November 2012): 55.  Available from Academic Search Alumni Edition, accessed December 17, 2012.

[2] Taylor Walsh, “Quality over Quantity: Open Yale Courses,” in Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses.  (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 127-129.