MOOCs vs Lecture Capture = “Prime time TV” vs. “Daytime TV”. So Where is YouTube?

Mainstream MOOCs are becoming the prime time TV shows of college – courses presented to a digital audience with high production values that don’t change very often. The dream of MOOC producers is to create a course that is good enough and compelling enough that it will be viewed by tens of millions that will watch it over time (years) – like a syndicated TV show. This of course means that MOOCs are becoming quite expensive to produce – so to be cost effective MOOCs need to reach a very large audience, and need to have a very long shelf life.

Lecture capture produces the “Daytime TV” shows of college – less expensive to produce, a much shorter shelf life (though I know schools where students use recordings that are 10 years old) and lots more content. Even though they are cheaper to produce, they are far from being free. It costs about $10,000 a room for set up, and then the same costs yearly for the maintenance and management costs of the recorded courses over their lifetime. For example,a video recording of lecture takes up somewhere between 2 and 10 GB of storage (depending on how it was recorded) and is made up of presentation slides, whiteboard and a talking head. I can’t find any hard numbers – by my guess is that there a few thousand courses captured yearly using lecture capture – out of the 3.5M lectures given a year in the US.

And then there is YouTube – its model seems more in line with the amount of content that colleges produce. It uses crowd sourcing of video content and users upload 52,000,000 hours of video yearly (less than the 100,000,000 lecture hours given yearly – but at least comparable). Everyone can upload a short video – some are great and have huge audiences. Most are just OK and have a few viewers –  but that is OK, they serve an important purpose for the small group of people interested in them.  Here are some of the numbers from Techcrunchies (< 100 : 29.59%, 100-500 : 23.03%, 500-1,000 : 9.43%, 1,000-2,500 : 11.43%, 2,500-5,000 : 7.35%, 5,000-10,000 : 6.03%, 10,000-100,000 : 2.69%, 100,000-500,000 : 1.73%, > 1,000,000 : 0.33%). Getting a video up on YouTube is easy – and free. So is the sharing and viewing.

YouTube’s model has a number of problems with respect to lecture capture. In my next posts I’ll talk about what those are and why LectureMonkey will become the YouTube of lectures.


About Jacob Ukelson

blog (mostly) about my work and technology. So far I have been lucky enough to have been working on things I consider fun and with really top notch people. I have worked in both large companies (IBM) and small companies (ActionBase, ConicIT, Dapper, eXeedTechnologies). eXeed was establish to remedy a failure of the VC model in Israel – most VCs were monetary investors, but most companies needed not just money – they needed operational and business guidance. That is what we provide at eXeed – not just an investment but also our time and skills as seasoned software executives. I have taken on various titles – CTO, VP Products, VP BizDev – but throughout my career a constant focus has been on technologymarket fit, aka customer development. Unique breakthrough technology is a start, but the product must solve real business problems. It needs to be something customers can understand, relate to and will want to buy. I have been doing this for 20 years for software products in companies both large and small.
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