It is well known that YouTube serves as a platform for a huge variety of educational material. Most prominently, Salman Kahn (“Khan Academy“) began his career as a provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) by posting teaching videos on YouTube.
In addition to educational material on all kinds of topics provided by third parties, Google increasingly engages in the production of its own educational content to improve the quality of user-generated content published on its platform. Google’s obvious calculation: better videos means more views means more ad revenue.
Initially, however, Google’s first educational videos were in mere self-defense against countervailing accusations with relation to copyright infringement on its platform. While rights holders complained and blocked unauthorised use of their content, users protested against respective deletion of their accounts (see “Private Negotiation of Public Goods: Collateral Damage(s)“) . In this situation, Google launched its “YouTube Copyright School”, which so-called “multiple infringers” have to watch to re-open their account (see “Crazy Copyright Cartoon: The YouTube Copyright School“).
More proactively, in 2011, Google published a first version of its Creator Playbook to improve video quality. More recently, Google went even further and opened a “Creator Academy” (see also video above), which offers comprehensive courses on web publishing techniques:
Speed up your path to becoming a successful creator! The course will dive into the different parts of the new OneChannel design, explain how each can help you attract more subscribers and viewers, and give you the opportunity to freshen up your own channel while you learn!
Of course, YouTube’s educational efforts are clearly business driven and far from neutral. In the copyright school case, for example, YouTube intentionally downplays the role of fair use because this is most difficult to handle for its algorithmic Content ID system (see also “Algorithm Regulation #3: Appealing YouTube’s Content ID Claims“). Nevertheless, Creator Academy might be able to reach an audience not so easily attracted by classic educational institutions.