Creating YouTube Channels For Your School

I was talking to some people from another college here in New Jersey last week about posting their videos to YouTube. In the course of the conversation, it became evident that there was a some basic confusion about what having your own "channel" on YouTube really means.

Back in 2006, while I was working at NJIT, I wanted to create a YouTube account for the university where we could post some of our videos. I knew that students were already posting videos with the tag "njit" and that most of those were not exactly what you would call good "promotional" video for the school. Unfortunately, someone had already taken the user name we would want although they were not doing anything with the account. (The university has tried to contact the owner and get the account, but has been unsuccessful - not because they want money, but because they don't respond.)

So, I took the user name highlandertech and starting uploading, and the university continues to use that account. The next year, I created an account called MSPTC in the name of the Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication program that I continue to teach in at NJIT. Though it has the program's "brand" on it, so far I am the only user and the videos there are primarily selected so that I can send my own students to a playlist of videos I have selected for assignments. My course in in visual design, so, as an example, I might have them look at the videos in the "typography" playlist. NJIT has done the same sort of thing - an example is a playlist of Dr. Bruce Bukiet's calculus videos.

Here's the confusion. None of those examples are actual university channels.

You need to go beyond what I did for that. The college would need to actually apply to YouTube for a non-profit status channel.

I don't plan to create an unofficial list of all the college YouTube sites (as I had done for iTunes U sites earlier), but here are 15 that I have visited that will give you an idea of the presence some schools have in YouTube. Which ones are "official" channels? One way to tell is by the amount of customization the school has been able to do.For example, you can see that UB Berkeley has created a banner image with a clickable image map. You can't do that with a regular user account.

  1. NJIT
  2. Duke University
  3. UC Berkeley
  4. University of Oregon
  5. U Penn
  6. Vanderbilt
  7. SMU,
  8. Seton Hall University
  9. Carnegie Mellon
  10. U of Houston
  11. U of Phoenix
  12. Ohio State
  13. U of Chicago
  14. U of Leicester  
  15. Stanford

Why would a school apply to YouTube’s non-profit program? I would start by telling you to search on your school at YouTube  by your full name, abbreviation and variations and see what is out there already. There's a good chance that someone has already taken your name. That is true for several local New Jersey schools. You should claim your online turf. Joining YouTube also gives you some additional branding options - using a banner image, page customization for layout, and the removal of advertising.

The Terms and Conditions for non-profits are what you would expect:

  • Must be a U.S.-based nonprofit with IRS 501(c)(3) tax status
  • May not be religious or political in nature
  • May not be focused primarily on lobbying for political or policy change
  • Commercial organizations, credit-counseling services, donation middleman services, fee-based organizations, and nonprofit portals are not eligible for the program

YouTube is way beyond the fad phase, and any institution that continues to ignore its impact on the public image of your school to potential students, current students and the global public is being foolish.


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