AUSTRALIA: First university YouTube channel

The University of New South Wales in Sydney became the first Australian university to officially launch a channel on YouTube last week. Among the first three universities in the world to link with YouTube, the UNSW channel has become one of the most watched local online sites, scoring more hits than television competitors such as Channel Ten, Beat TV and SkyNewsShowbiz.

Executive producer of UNSWTV, Mary O'Malley, said the presence on YouTube had attracted more than 30,000 channel views, ranking it as one of the most popular local sites on the video sharing website, according to the latest calculations. It now routinely ranks among the most viewed in Australia each day and each week.

"This is a vehicle for communicating research and selected teaching material and is part of an overall strategy of publishing content where it can be most easily accessed," O'Malley said.

She said the university had added two additional services - a community channel and an eLearning channel. These were designed to host learning and teaching material as well as student-generated content so students could communicate with each other, articulating their ideas and experiences. Recent videos from the YouTube channels were uploaded to China's number one education site, Tigtag, which has 1.5 million page impressions per day, and were featured on Pakistan's premier education website Ilmkidunya.

"Video has become a mainstream form of communication and we can no longer afford to ignore the potential offered by rich media," O'Malley said. "It is an excellent way for us to communicate with an international audience and potential students and researchers."

Heading the list of most watched UNSW videos is a series on the Robocup robotics finals held in China, a mini documentary on Muslim Life on Campus and a research snapshot about UNSW's 'green' steelmaking technology - From Shopping Bags to Steel.

O'Malley said the YouTube initiative was a precursor to a high-resolution online channel, UNSWTV, that would offer academics, staff and students "a complete solution to the management of digital material".