Monday, March 04, 2013

Eight Percent: Not Too Shabby!

When it comes to estimation, being off by an order of magnitude is.. not too shabby. You might not be in the in-field, but at least you're in the ballpark. And that's where my estimate landed on the year anniversary of my first Teach Me video.

My estimation? One million views. The reality: eighty thousand. Not quite packing the Big House (I grew up near the University of Michigan Football Stadium) but filling all other local sports stadiums to capacity and then some. (Accurate or not, that's how I visualize these statistics: sports stadia brimming with curious minds, eyes fixed on a giant YouTube screen above the field.)

Anyway, I've learned a diverse amount of information from this project so far. First, some topics are more popular than others. Yeah, it sounds obvious in hindsight but the results are quite opposite the prediction. I had no idea that Kirchoff's Rules (a second semester topic) would be one hundred times as popular as Impact Speed (a first semester topic, also covered in intro courses). I've guessed at the reasoning for these stats but only further experimentation will confirm my suspicions: you've gotta suffer for a while before you admit that you really need help.

Regarding production, the quality of video I'm producing now makes me blush at my first couple videos. (Which is how it should be with any entrepreneurial endeavor, I think.) It's still not perfect but I'm hoping that the addition of a second soft box and the use of a more sophisticated editting program (I'm using Apple's iMovie at the moment) will leave little for want in the production area.

Most importantly, I've seriously leveled up as a teacher. Some of this was through effort and research but most of it was the emulation and innovation. I happen to work with one of the most talented teachers in physics education (Dave Stoddard, Oakland Community College) and he has been very generous with his time and advice. His lectures have completely revolutionized my approach to teaching. And his suggestions regarding my videos are so useful and pertinent that sometimes I'm nervous to show him my work lest I need to scrap it and return to the drawing board. Scarcely a day goes by that I don't wonder where I would be as a teacher had I not been hired to work with him.

So... Quo vadimus? Well at risk of sounding repetitive, I predict again that (armed with the insights of a year of testing and tweaking) at this time next year the Teach Me videos will exceed one million views. As to which videos I'll produce, I'm torn between catering to the hungry crowd (making videos for upper level students looking for help) and building the foundation for the series (starting with lower level material). And though it may sound childish after all this technical analysis and post-game wrap-up, I will likely choose to make whichever videos are... the most fun to make.

Follow your bliss, right?


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