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Andrew Gemino (left) and Drew Parker

Andrew Gemino (left) and Drew Parker film the final installment of  their YouTube video series.

Profs bolster course enrolment using YouTube

July 24, 2008

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By Terry Lavender

YouTube isn’t just about dancing hamsters and cute kittens anymore.

Two SFU Surrey-based business professors are using the popular video website to attract students to their management courses.

And their friendly rivalry has attracted hundreds of viewers and a flurry of new enrolments, they say.

Andrew Gemino, who teaches Business 462, Management Support Systems, dresses as Zorro in his videos, and plays a guitar accompaniment to a song with lyrics like “Iy, yi, yi, yi, I want to take Biz 4-6-2”.

Drew Parker, who teaches Business 466, Managing Data Communications, rides up on a Harley in his video. “Business Intelligence? From a guy who brings a sword to a gunfight? Take 466,” he says in the video, brandishing a Disney “Pirates of the Caribbean” souvenir flintlock rifle.

Is this the future of promoting university courses? Definitely, says Parker.

“This is the future of promoting everything,” he says. “It didn't make a lot of sense to send a paper course outline out describing a dynamic new course that examines how Web 2.0 works for business.”

Gemino and Parker aren’t the only SFU faculty members posting videos on YouTube. For example, criminology professor Liz Elliott has posted videos from her Criminology 315 course. Interactive arts assistant professor Steve DiPaola has a 57-minute talk on animation that he gave at Google on the site. And the Imaginative Education Research Group headed by Donald McCleod has eight videos posted.

But Gemino and Parker may be the first to recruit for their classes on YouTube.

“I looked extensively on the web, but I couldn’t find anyone else who had done this,“ Parker says.

Gemino came up with the original idea, he recalls. “Andrew and I were discussing how hot the job market is, and will be, for IT today, and how enrolments across North America are way down.

“There are lots of theories about this, but it is difficult to nail down the true cause. The bottom line is we were having trouble getting decent enrolments in our courses.

“The Management Information Systems area collectively updated and rethought all of our upper division courses, and we needed to get the word out. Andrew and I were discussing how to do this, and we thought about Web 2.0.

“Andrew suggested we should start with a YouTube intro, and one thing led to another. I started the adventure rather straight, but Andrew decided to be more playful and take it to another level.

Parker says that the use of YouTube, Facebook and other so-called Web 2.0 technologies is important for academics.

“I think we need to embrace this technology in the way we do business, including engaging students, attracting them, and even delivering education. Frankly, I think this is just a toe in the proverbial water.”

The Business 462 and 466 videos can be found on YouTube by going to www.youtube.com and typing either “Bus 462” or Bus 466” in the search box.
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