The MIT initiative called “OpenCourseWare” that makes all the school’s courses available online for free –lecture notes, readings, and tests- is expanding heavily its video lectures offering.
And some professors have gained their momentum. Like Walter Lewin, a Physics professor who is right now a web and iTunes star, due to his spectacular performance. Don’t miss how he puts his life on the line to demonstrate his faith in the Conservation of Mechanical Energy. That clip (#11) has been a hit.
MIT’s initiative is the largest, but the trend of putting online video is spreading among universities. More than 100 universities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame, have joined MIT in a consortium of schools promoting their own open courseware.
OPEN YALE COURSES
Yale started in December to make material from seven popular courses available online, with 30 more to follow. The initiative is called Open Yale Courses, and it provides free and open access to courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. It has even its own widget intender to make the contents shareable. “The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn”, they say. “We hope these courses will be a resource for critical thinking, creative imagination, and intellectual exploration”.
The University of California, Berkeley recently announced it would be the first to make full course lectures available on YouTube. Berkeley’s offering include 48 classes, from Engineering Thermodynamics to Human Emotion. Berkeley’s eight YouTube courses drew 1.5 million downloads in the first month, said co-manager of the webcast.berkeley program, and the school is being inundated with request to post more.
On iTunes, popular recent downloads include a climate change panel at Stanford, lectures on existentialism by a Cal-Berkeley professor, and a performance of Mozart’s requiem by the Duke Chapel Choir.
iTunes U, a section of Apple’s music and video downloading service that was inaugurated last spring hosts free material from 28 colleges.
MIT estimates OpenCourseWear costs a hefty $20,000 per course. Money from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation started the project; now it relies mostly on contribution from MIT’s budget and endowment, and on visitor donations.
And what are the benefits? MIT and other schools emphasize the services benefit the students, especially for reviewing lectures. Fears that technology would hurt class attendance have proved unfounded, at least at MIT, where 96 percent of instructors reported no decline.
This free offering hasn’t reduced demand for MIT. “Networking, late-night arguments over pizza, back-and-fort with professors –that is where the real value lies”, says MIT.
WORLDWIDE REACH THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
In terms of partnerships, Yale also has developed partnerships to enable these resources to be widely utilized in academic settings around the world.
For example, in India, Amrita satellite network is broadcasting courses to universities throughout India. In China, China Education Television (CETV) is broadcasting individual lectures that are being viewed by millions of Chinese.
Yale Vice President Linda K. Lorimer, who is responsible for the University’s Office of Digital Content, commented, “Open Yale Courses gives us a new opportunity to share our intellectual treasury with everyone and for free. We welcome other universities, high schools and non-governmental organizations to use these and future course we will post on the Internet.”
In addition to Open Yale Courses, Yale provides a growing library of free video and audio offerings on the Internet featuring Yale faculty and distinguished visitors to campus. This free resource includes a large variety of public talks, interviews and musical performances.
Lunchtime is video web time
Lunchtime is video web time. There is a new trend in the U.S. based on the idea that workers like watching videos on YouTube or elsewhere during their lunchtime.
And knowing so, a growing number of news media, including local television and newspapers have started posting videos at lunchtime that have young journalists as hosts and are meant to appeal to 18 to 34 year-old audiences.
The trend has swept also across sites. Yahoo’s daily best-of-the-Web segment, called The 9 and sponsored by Pepsi, is produced every morning in time for lunch. At MyDamnChannel.com, a showcase for offbeat videos, programmers are instructed to promote new videos around noon. Also, at Blip.TV, a video-sharing site, producers are encouraged to post videos at the same time.
At Macworld, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed new iTunes movie rental service with 1,000 movies from all major studios. After download, user can watch it for 30 days. Pricing is $2.99 for older movies, $3.99 for new releases and $4.99 for new HD movies. The movies began playing 30 seconds after the download is initiated. The service will go live by the end of February.
(One day before this announcement, Netflix revealed that all of their subscriber would be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles.)
At the same Macworld event, Steve Jobs announced a cheaper version of AppleTV ($229) that will allow to downloading movies to the TV set, and the amazing ultralight laptop MacBook Air, which measures .76 inch think with the standard 80-gig hard drive, and only .16 inch thick with an optional flash memory drive. Here’s the demo.
In the same time another breakthrough at CES Computer Show in Las Vegas. A company called Eye-Fi has embedded WiFi functionality into a camera memory card, prized at $99.9. As you snap photos, this Eye-Fi card automatically uploads them to any of the 17 different photo and selected social networking site, including Flick and Faceboox.
CNNMoney launches its new video venture
CNNMoney.com has launched a new design with a big emphasis on original video, and aiming to create “a new way of digital journalism.” For that, they have hired a dozen people to produce an average of 15 clips a day to start. People of this video team can shoot, edit, publish, create graphics, and write scripts.
The goal of CNNMoney.com is to produce as many 35 clips a day with half of them related to content from CNNMoney’s magazine partners as Fortune and Money.
Comcast debuts Fancast.com
Comcast has launched, in beta, its online video service, Fancast.com, powered by Comcast-owned ThePlatform. Fancast.com looks similar to Hulu, with full shows available from NBC, CBS, Fox, Bravo, FX and more. Over 3,000 hours of streaming free, full-length content are offered.
”Fancast.com enables user to watch, manage and find entertainment content wherever it is available –on Fancast, on television online, on DVD or in theaters. On Fancast, users can view an expanding free library of full episodes and clips from top networks and movie partners, find the content they are looking for across multiple platforms and create a personalized entertainment experience,” Comcast says.
It has some additions, like a TiVo-like personalization feature that asks you a few questions and then suggests upcoming shows you might want to watch on you cable system. Coming soon you will be able to program your DVR via the site.
Another big announcement from Comcast is a new high-speed Internet service called “Wideband”, that promises that customers can download an entire high-definition movie in four minutes instead of as long as six hours with DSL. It will offer a huge menu of on-demand films, over 6,000, along with 1,000 clips of HDTV video –all available to consumers at the click of the remote without having to buy any additional equipment.
Super On Demand futuristic service
Comcast customers now are selecting On Demand 100 times per second, with 275 million views monthly. Comcast will support its plan, called Project Infinity, using its existing fiber network and national IP backbone. The company will create a system of library servers that will serve VOD content to consumers from several key locations across the country. This system would enable Comcast to offer exponentially more VOD content.
AP empowers their affiliate sites with a tool to upload local video
Associated Press Online Video Network has rolled out a new functionality for their affiliate news sites -1,900 newspaper, television and radio sites nationwide. This service, developed by Microsoft, will allow them to upload and monetize their own local video content.
This service is designed to attract local viewers and advertisers. Affiliates will have the option of selling local advertising against the content they upload, or allowing Microsoft to oversee the process.
Local online advertising is forecast to jump 48 % to $12.6 billion in 2008.
Time Warner and big telecom and cable corporations are nervous with the emergence of movie downloads and streaming television programs over the Internet. They are scared of people watching TV directly over the Internet.
Last week Time Warner said it would start testing a new rate plan in some locations of Texas that would limit the amount of data a customer could transmit or receive each month before additional fees kick in. It would replace the unlimited use plan with ones that have data quotas and impose fees if those limits are exceeded. A spokesman said packages would probably offer 5 gigabytes to 40 gigabytes a month.
Is this targeted at people who download high-definition movies from Apple TV? Time Warner says that the wants to crack down on a minority of customers who are heavy downloaders, people who use peer-to-peer network and download terabytes. They say that only 5 percent of customer account for half of the data traffic.
MySpace.com is now “a contemporary media platform”
MySpace.com, the world’s largest social networking, with 110 million monthly active users, has grown for being merely “a place for friends”, as its slogan states, to become very mainstream, truly focused in consuming content and discovering pop culture. It seeks to be a powerful tool for advertisers. What was seen as competitor to traditional media platforms is starting to resemble one. A New York Times article explains that phenomenon.
Last year MySpace added 15 local versions, and now is up to 24. In addition to expanding, MySpace is introducing new musicians, playing host to amateur filmmakers, and it is also signing artists to its own record label and developing online video series. Last week it introduced a content guide, MySpace Celebrity.
MySpaceTV has been the launching pad for a number of Web video series, and it is second to YouTube among Internet video sites. It also has an incubator, Slingshot Labs, intended to create disruptive technology at a given time.
As a result of all, MySpace resembles a portal like Yahoo or AOL as much as a social networking site. News Corporation parent company calls it a “contemporary media platform”, and says the site exists to “create content and connect people to one another”. “We envision it as a portal,” adds. However it is unclear if weather users want to watch TV episodes and chat with friends on the same site.
Its main competitor, Facebook, with cleaner interface and higher demographic profile, has leapt ahead in technology and has been accumulating user at a faster rate. It is also seen by some advertisers as a better bet.
CBS supports the idea that online music will be similar to radio
CBS thinks that music through the Internet can be similar to radio –free and supported by advertising- yet give users a choice of what they want to listen to. For that, it will expand its Internet music service, Last.fm, to allow users to listen to any song on their computer whenever they wanted, up to three times. Users will be able to select any of 3.5 million songs to listen on their computers. Song downloads will be offered through a link to music stores, including iTunes and Amazon.com
Last.fm, which was bought by CBS for $280 million and now has $280 million users, will offer users the change to buy a monthly subscription that will allow them to listen to songs as many times as they want.
In the online music industry, many consider free ad-supported service is the answer. Real Network’s Rhapsody and Napster have both offered free music on their Web sites for several years, but they have mainly tried to attract customer for subscription services that charge $10 or $15 a month for unlimited listening.
Plan for old-school journalist to invest in their own future
Non wired journalists need to move to the “real” Internet world. For that many news organization have bonus plan to become more digital savvy. Either out of fear, indifference or hubris, many reporters and editors resist using the Internet for anything beyond the occasional Google search. HowardOwens.com is offering a program for them.
The ideas include starting a blog, buying a digital camera, posting to Flickr, Twitter and YouTube, getting on LinkdIn, MySpace and Facebook and use RSS and SMS.
A NY local newspaper site jumps to top five with thanks to its cartoons
Pay attention to Newsday.com, a Website from a New York local newspaper who, for the second consecutive month, is ranking in the top five of the most visited newspaper sites in the U.S., with 6.45 million unique visitors in December, and with more audience than The Wall Street Journal.
The huge jump was in large part attributed to the popularity of an animated cartoon by Walt Handelsman, an editorial cartoonist at Newsday who has won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The newspaper, based in Long Island, has also been using new video, search and widgets technology.
Microjournalism thanks of microblogging services like Twitter
Microjournalism is coming of age thanks of microblogging services. You use Twitter and start distributing your text-message (no longer than 140 characters) reporting to your Facebook friends.
For example, when covering the presidential election you can twitter, going beyond the realization of the news media’s obsession with “sound bites”.