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Why not just use YouTube for education?

The obvious solution to delivering video is to simply use YouTube and Facebook, putting your videos up on their site and sending students and faculty there. But if you choose to only distribute through YouTube and Facebook, not only are you losing control over your content, you’re putting your fate in someone else’s hands. What’s the problem? YouTube’s business model is more mature, so let’s use them as an illustration.

Sending students out of the system. The majority of your digital presence lives in your LMS. So why send students out to an
external site for video content? Video needs to be fully integrated into the LMS itself.

Limited user engagement. As an educator, your #1 goal is to get viewers to comprehend the content you’re pointing to. However,
YouTube’s algorithm and site design display a variety of content suggestions around and in the video player. As a result, repeated
viewing and user-engagement could be low within the YouTube environment.

Cat videos (and other competition). Yes, they’re cute, but unless your brand is cats, they’re distracting your audience…along
with all of the other content on YouTube that has nothing to do with you. The “related videos” section on YouTube is a mixture
of content based on previously viewed content and sponsored content. You can’t control if the surrounding videos contain
inaccurate information that will confuse or distract your students.

Clunky lecture capture workflows. Once you’ve captured your classroom…do you really want to have to upload to YouTube
and then come back to the LMS to add the links? Content needs to live together, not just so people can find it, but so you can
build the kind of seamless workflows that can be scaled.

Fair Use issues. The rules on how educational institutions can use content are different from what can be uploaded to YouTube. You may have videos you have rights to use on campus that violate YouTube’s policies (or that look enough like they’re violating the policies that algorithms will strip them out and require a lengthy fight to get exceptions). It’s also much harder for your library services to keep control over how that material is used once it leaves your hands.

No control over other content. Linking to others’ content on YouTube can be a great shortcut…until the original owner takes it
down. Then you‘re left with a broken link. Better to build courses around content you control.

Limited enrichment. Today’s video technologies offer powerful tools to make videos more interactive and engaging, including interactive video quizzes, branching pathways, polls, and more. These not only make videos a more powerful learning object, they allow you to turn them into assessments as well. None of these tools can be used from YouTube.

Limited security. YouTube videos are public by default. You may assign a password to them but YouTube doesn’t offer any content control tools or DRM protection. In fact, any video on YouTube is extremely easy to download using free web services. Facebook’s video strategy, on the other hand, is in its early days. While they are currently pushing content producers to upload more content, it’s still not clear how this will work in the end. This makes it hard to protect both student privacy and your intellectual property.

Accessibility. YouTube’s automated captions are notoriously inaccurate. You’ll want to control your own captioning to ensure content is actually accessible.

Limited player customization. YouTube offers a set of tools to customize the player to your brand’s look and feel. However,
these options are quite limited and require development knowledge. One the other hand, a Kaltura video player, for example,
gives you dozens of templates as well as a site dedicated to easy player customization and configuration.

Which is not to say that distributing to YouTube and Facebook is a bad plan—just that it shouldn’t be your only strategy.

Talk to a video expert