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Why don’t (most) unis recognise their staff’s youtube channels?

by Sayraphim on January 31, 2020

I was talking to Zoe Glatt, an academic doing her phd on youtubers at LSE, a while ago, and she pointed out that most academics studying youtube don’t actually have a youtube channel. This was a surprise to me, cause I think it’s really valuable to have hands-on experience with the thing I’m studying. And I asked her why so many of them don’t have a youtube channel.

She replied that because it’s such a time consuming activity and because it’s not recognised as an acceptable output for research, most academics don’t bother.

As primary/high school teachers, having any kind of public social media is often considered problematic by the school/education department. You can read more about that in a blog post I wrote a little bit ago titled Why Arnt We Teaching our Teachers To Navigate Social Media?  Although I think that many academics are encouraged to use at least twitter to network and chat about their research.

So I’ve been thinking about edutubers who are also actually teachers, and I wondered how they get around the (often unofficial) ‘don’t be on social media’ rule. As a general rule, teachers on youtube don’t mention they are teachers, very few mention the school they work at and most don’t tell their school they are on youtube and some teachers say their school knows they’re on youtube but are not really interested in that fact (these assertions are gathered from a private poll on our edutube facebook page).

So I was delighted to be tagged in this tweet from Amanda Loves to Audit

How great is that? That a university is not only acknowledging the time and energy that some of their staff are doing a youtube channel, but actively recognising them officially on their website: https://www.maths.unsw.edu.au/about/mathematics-statistics-youtube

I have excitedly subscribed to all the academics listed.

I searched the UNSW (University of New South Wales if you’re not in Aus) website to see if other faculties are doing it or just the Maths one, I did find a link to a Arts and Social Sciences faculty page that looked similar but when I followed the link the page was missing. So I’ve tweeted at UNSW  to ask if all their faculties do this or just the maths one. I’m super curious about their reply!

FUTURE EDIT: and I’ve just realised that this can be seen as another tally mark for the arguement that sci-comm is winning at youtube. The UNSW Maths faculty has put their youtube academics up, but the Arts and Social Sciences page has at some stage been created but has now been taken down/removed.

Also, the UNSW twitter account has just replied, it’s a faculty decision not a university wide decision, so clearly someone at the maths faculty has decided it’s important. Thats an interesting thing. And they’re going to fix the Arts and Social Sciences page. I am looking forward to seeing and subscribing to humanties lecturers too!

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