Taught by College second-year Diana Montero.
What sparked your interest in YouTube? What was the process of gathering material for this class?
Diana Montero: I’ve been on YouTube since I was arguably too young to be on YouTube. The platform has grown up with me in some ways, so it’s always been there for me to learn new things. The process of gathering materials was pretty seamless since I’m on the website so much already just for my own enjoyment. In having conversations with other friends, I found that we could have some very evocative and intense discussions about what the platform can say about our modern society. So I sought out to look back at events and particular videos on the website that I felt could be used to encapsulate the culture of YouTube, and I plopped all those in a series of presentations. It was kind of a fever dream, I put it all together pretty quick. I always want to talk about YouTube so this is a special opportunity for me.
What does a class look like?
DM: The class is mostly discussion-based with seven students socially-distanced in a classroom. I use Google Slides as my main lecture aid, and we watch many videos on the projector. Each week we dig into a particular topic as it relates to YouTube, watch some videos about it, and then discuss as a class and in small groups. Some examples of topics we will or already have talked about in class are copyright, cancel culture, apology videos, and advertisements.
What was your process of reconfiguring your in-person class for COVID-19?
DM: It wasn’t too difficult to set up the class under COVID-19 just because my students have been very well-prepared; it’s basically the same as any in-person academic class. The biggest challenge has been distancing since sometimes it means we can’t have small group discussions or interactions in the way that I would prefer, but that hasn’t stopped us.
How have meetings gone so far, what have been your challenges and successes?
DM: So far, we’ve met once on Zoom and once in person. It has gone surprisingly well, and I am very grateful to my students for being so open and engaged with the class topics. I think the biggest challenge for me as an instructor is keeping my presentation of the topics neutral since I have so many opinions about everything we discuss — but that’s just because I’m extremely passionate, so maybe it’s not too bad.
Teach us something!