Curious about what goes on at UCLA? How about a tour of the campus, replete with vignettes of its educational, residential and recreational life? Or a glimpse into the career of Professor Terence Tao, renowned math prodigy and winner of the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics? Or perhaps you'd like to see for yourself why one of the nation's foremost experts on presidential elections is predicting a Democratic victory in November.
All this captivating information — and much more — can now be found on YouTube, the world's most popular video-sharing website. UCLA recently entered into an agreement with Google, the premier web-based search engine that owns YouTube, to launch a channel on the site.
You'll find a UCLA presence on popular social networking sites:
The channel serves as a portal to online videos produced by the university and is aimed at helping millions of potential viewers share high-quality educational content, academic courses, lectures, special events and news.
UCLA has also launched a page on Facebook, the social networking site on which millions around the world — including President George W. Bush, presidential hopeful Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo — have profiles. Log in and you can see profiles of UCLA fans, a list of Happenings on campus, and links to the latest articles from the UCLA Newsroom and, of course, a host of UCLA's YouTube videos.
A recent UCLA study found that as many as 94 percent of first-year college students use social networking sites, and 80 percent use them weekly for more than an hour. Facebook is the most popular website among American college students, concluded a separate survey conducted by a leading Internet marketing group.
The university's YouTube and Facebook initiatives come after UCLA launched a pilot project this past April on iTunes, the digital media player application for playing and organizing songs, TV shows, movies, audio books and podcasts. Called UCLA on iTunes U, the project is part of Apple Inc.'s two-year-old collaboration with U.S. universities competing to reach prospective students around the world.
Just a handful of universities in the nation — most notably UC Berkeley and Duke — have agreements with YouTube to launch channels. UCLA already had more than 100 videos on its YouTube channel, showcasing, among other things, the high-quality education that the university offers.
Initially the top-viewed video was a short clip of UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel congratulating the Bruin football team following its Sept. 1 victory over the University of Tennessee. The #2 video showed Anderson School of Management professor Daniel J.B. Mitchell analyzing the recent California budget. Besides the Anderson School, key contributors of videos to the UCLA YouTube channel include the International Institute, the School of Theater, Film and Television, and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"More and more we're finding that current students, prospective students and alumni are getting their information and entertainment on sites like YouTube," said Lawrence Lokman, assistant vice chancellor of University Communications. "As communicators for the university, we are constantly looking for ways to give them the information they are looking for about UCLA — in the places that they are spending their time."
University Communications developed the YouTube channel with the help of a dozen students from the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, who conducted an extensive information architecture study of the project last winter. The students were instrumental in structuring the channel's video content, organizing it and offering advice on not just the kind of audience to expect but their areas of interest. They interviewed prospective users like students, UCLA alumni, and video content producers across campus.
Videos on YouTube's UCLA channel can be embedded onto websites and links to videos can be e-mailed to UCLA supporters. Further, those who join YouTube.com as members can subscribe to receive UCLA videos as they are uploaded. In addition, faculty and staff are encouraged to contribute to the channel by posting videos. This can be done by going to the site, clicking on About/Contribute and remotely accessing the channel's video uploader.
Story adapted from UCLA Today, News for Faculty and Staff, Sept. 22, 2008