Unless someone in the Western world makes an intentional decision to go “off grid”, they are likely to encounter daily exposure to an abundance of audiovisual content. Television availability blossomed from three or four terrestrial channels in my youth, to hundreds of satellite stations. Thereafter we have streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon offering further diversity. The online world brings forth YouTube, Facebook videos, plus a plethora of subscription services and more niche learning opportunities.
It is less than a decade since publication of the influential Intelligent Television report Video Use and Higher Education: Options for the future (Kaufman and Mohan, 2009) yet already the technology describes in their report has a nostalgic air. Problems identified with educational use of AV included insufficient copies [of the VHS tape or DVD] in the library, not enough screening rooms and a shortage of foreign formal PAL players. There are hints at the potential relevance of an emerging tool known as the iPod, and a sense of wonder that thirteen hours of material were being uploaded every minute to something called YouTube (which had started in early 2005). It is currently estimated that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (Merchdope, 2019).
Kaufman and Mohan correctly predicted growth in the importance of online content as a resource for education, and the potential development of dedicated archives and repositories of university-relevant AV materials. Many such services now exist, including BoB (“Box of Broadcasts”), an on demand streaming platform offering broadcast media for use in UK Universities, and similar collections in some other countries. These are clearly a boon for courses whose raison d’être is media studies, but can also offer much to the study of other academic disciplines.
It is my contention, however, that Higher Education has been slow to exploit this potential (Willmott, 2014). Do you agree? Maybe you disagree, and have evidence to prove that I’m wrong. Either way, we’d love you to take part in #LTHEchat on Wednesday 3rd April as we reflect on the use of broadcast media and other AV resources across the disciplines.
Kaufman P.B. and Mohan J (2009) Video Use and Higher Education: Option for the future. NY, USA: Intelligent Television. Available at http://intelligenttelevision.com/files/42-intcccnyuvideo_and_higher_edjune_2009_2.pdf (last accessed 30th March 2019).
Merchdope (2019) 37 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics. Available at https://merchdope.com/youtube-stats (last accessed 30th March 2019).
Willmott C (2014) Boxing clever – television as a teaching tool Times Higher Education (28th August 2014, p26). Available at https://tinyurl.com/BoxingClever14 (last accessed 30th March 2019).
Chris Willmott is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) and National Teaching Fellow (2005) in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester. Chris’ interests include bioethics, antibiotics and representations of science in broadcast media. He is especially delighted when all three coincide.
Conflict of Interest notification: Chris is a Trustee for Learning on Screen, the British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council. BoB is one of the services provided by Learning on Screen.
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