Campus creates UC Davis Academics channel on YouTube

The campus has created a new YouTube channel focused on academic videos, UC Davis Academics. Dijkstra's  shortest  path  algorithm It contains about 650 videos so far, ranging from small class presentations to a 2011 lecture by Computer Science Professor Dan Gusfield that has logged more than 66,000 views.

Until late 2014, the campus posted public videos of lectures and seminars by UC Davis faculty to its main YouTube channel, UCDavis. However, this channel will now focus on news and information that promotes the campus--through videos that show student life at UC Davis, for example, or interview faculty about their work.

Separating the two content types will allow each channel to more effectively connect with its intended audience, said Zak Edson, director of web and interactive communications for Strategic Communications.

Information and Educational Technology (IET) is managing the new site. Generally, the new channel is for learners, while the main channel presents news and information that helps market the campus, said David Levin, director of Academic Technology Services for IET.

Chefs and complexity

The titles illustrate his point. The academic channel videos include "Complexity: Rules of the Game," "Timeflow Analysis for the Preflow-Push Algorithm," and "Phil Isenberg: California Water History and Today's Debate."

Recent UCDavis channel videos include "UC Davis Student Chefs Compete to Put Dish on Dining Hall Menu" and "One California: The Future of Farming," which includes a link to the "One UC Davis" campaign.

All academic videos already in the main channel will remain there, to preserve existing links. But all new academic videos, and copies of the existing o nes, will be presented on UC Davis Academics (assuming the instructor wants the video available to the public).

Audience sizes vary

The One California farming video has attracted 86,000 views; the student chef video has drawn 2,300. Lecture videos are often watched only by the students taking the class, although Prof. Gusfield's "Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm" is averaging more than 1,500 views per month (Edsger Dijkstra is one of the fathers of computer science).

Why is that one popular? First, the information is essential. Gusfield said Dijkstra's algorithm is taught in nearly every undergraduate and graduate course on "Design and Analysis of Efficient Computer Algorithms," which is required for almost every student in Computer Science.

Also, people recognize Gusfield, who has posted videos for three courses on YouTube and ItunesU, as well as videos from other courses on his website. And he has written three books. "Many students are familiar with my videos and my name, and like the way I explain things," he said.