Academic lectures and discussions available online

by Eszter Hargittai on July 28, 2005

The Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton has launched a new initiative to make available audio and video recordings of academic lectures and events. For now, the University Channel is focusing on public and international affairs, because, as the site claims, “this is an area which lends itself most naturally to a many-sided discussion”. Perhaps the idea is to have people link to the material on the site and then host discussions on their own blogs or classrooms as I do not see a place for the suggested “many-sided discussion” on the UC site itself. The scope of materials that will be included seems quite broad judging from what is already available (IT, religion, politics, etc.).

It is certainly nice to have one central repository of such materials. If the project succeeds in getting lots of places on board and hosting material from all over then it has the potential to be a great service. In fact, the collaborators it already has lined up are already a good sign of its potential. (Then again, some people have suggested [see first comment] that “text is the only useful information on the Internet”.;)



Donna Liu 07.28.05 at 10:12 am

The University Channel is hoping to enable virtual and live discussions in the future, but for the moment we are starting with the basics: giving wider distribution to lectures and events that have already been recorded by participating universities. Once we have the critical mass of participants, there’s nothing to stop us from organizing our own discussions.

Having said that, we do hope that faculty will take advantage of the material on the University Channel site to enrich the classroom discussion. Think of it as having a guest lecturer, or even assigned viewing.

We welcome all feedback on the project, which after all is still in the formative stage. Please feel free to contact me directly at:


Dirk 07.28.05 at 10:26 am


I’ll believe the “many-sided discussions” thing when I see it, but even this is great. I’ve had Princeton’s Web Media archived lectures page, bookmarked for months. Good to have a place with videos from even more schools.


David Velleman 07.28.05 at 12:21 pm

Question: Will presenters at the Wilson School have an opportunity to opt out of this arrangement? Or will consent to be broadcast on the Web be a condition for speaking at the Wilson School’s events?


Donna Liu 07.28.05 at 2:29 pm

To answer your question, David: a speaker can opt not to be recorded at all, in which case they simply decline to sign a broadcast release agreement. In that case they will be heard only by those physically present in the room. The host institutions take responsibility for clearing recording rights with the speaker before contributing their tapes.


François 07.28.05 at 8:20 pm

As a student from the other side of the Atlantic Pond, I’d like to thank the Princeton people for that excellent opportunity for me and others to watch some US lectures. Both thumbs up.


Ray Davis 07.29.05 at 9:19 am

Gotta give a shout out to Berkeley’s own:

And UCTV’s “Conversations with History”:


Eszter 07.30.05 at 10:17 am

Ray, Berkeley is signed up as a Contributor to UC so wouldn’t it mean that those broadcasts would now be available there as well? I thought the point here was to consolidate so viewers/listeners could just go to one site to find all the goodies.

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