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01 Oct 2012

The Open University’s YouTube channel hits 10 million views

The Open University’s YouTube learning channel has hit 10 million views, making it the most viewed university channel in Europe.

Launched in 2008, the channel has grown rapidly through a mixture of course content from The Open University, and videos generated specifically for YouTube and promoted through various social media channels. The success of the media platform comes in the same week that The Open University celebrates topping the National Student Survey as the university with the highest student satisfaction rate in the UK, scoring 93%.

The Open University’s animated 60 second videos, narrated by David Mitchell and Clive Anderson, have been hugely successful. Topics covered by the 60 second video format include English, Philosophy, and Economics. 60 Second Adventures in Economics accompanies the current BBC Two series Masters of Money programme, a co-production with The Open University. 60 Seconds Adventures in Thought is currently the University’s most popular video, and has picked up in excess of 682,000 views.

The Open University’s YouTube channel has the most views of all academic institutions in Europe, beating second place Cambridge University by six million views. The Open University channel is also the 9th most viewed in the world. The Open University aims to continue to be a world leader in the provision of free online learning material, through further strategic placement and syndication of its Open Educational Resources.

The Open University’s YouTube learning channel is just part of a broader online presence offering free educational material worldwide. It complements both The Open University’s online resource website OpenLearn, which has received 23 million visits since its launch in 2006, and the OU’s presence on iTunes U.

“We produce hundreds of free educational resources for the public every year, as part of our mission to make education available to all,” said Laura Dewis, Head of Online Commissioning at The Open University. “By publishing our content in popular sites like YouTube, we've been able to reach a huge global audience. With our videos views having increased by 100% in the last year, it’s great to know we’ve been able to reach even more people who have an interest in learning.”

“We are impressed with the way The Open University embraces the YouTube platform. Over the past few years, we've seen significant progress in the use of specific YouTube features (e.g. playlists) and the cross-promotion between the different channels. There is still some work to be done to better optimize the channels and grow audiences,” said Gregory Dray, Head of Content Partnerships, News & Education at Google.
He added: ”Moving forward, we want to work hand in hand with The Open University to support its efforts as much as possible. We are seeing lots of willingness to learn and make progress and we think our partnership is heading into the right direction.”

Editor's Notes

The OU has four channels on YouTube offering bite-sized learning from a wide range of subjects and an insight into studying with The OU through the eyes of its staff and students. With 11.2 million views by 6.2 million visitors across all its channels, this makes it the most viewed UK university on YouTube EDU.

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 263,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.
The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2011/12 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 23 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 56 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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