From Lecture Capture To Half Hour Hegel


My first foray into lecture capture – video-recording class sessions, uploading them into YouTube, and then making them available to students as useful resources – occurred my last semester teaching at Fayetteville State University, Spring of 2011. I started recording very low-tech videos from my Critical Thinking class, and was surprised to see so many students at other institutions, and even some professors, finding them to be very helpful.

When I relocated to New York in 2011, and started teaching as an adjunct at Marist College, I continued recording videos - now in my personal YouTube channel - in my Intro to Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion in America classes. Again, the videos provided a very helpful resource not only for my own students, but for a growing audience of students at other institutions, life-long learners, professionals, and other instructors.

As my channel grew, I began to get more and more requests for videos on thinkers, texts, and subjects not covered in those classes, and I began to produce videos on my own, outside of classes - Core Concept videos (shorter, and focused on one key idea), lecture videos on Existentialism, newer and better Critical Thinking videos (in a new channel), and then the Half-Hour Hegel videos.

Interestingly, some of the videos I've produced got incorporated by other educational institutions worldwide, ranging from the Saylor Foundation, to Porto Editora (who supply digital textbooks for the Portuguese national curriculum), to 2Enable (which provides educational resources for free in South Africa). At present, my main YouTube channel has over 2 million views, and over 23,000 subscribers.

Nearly two years ago, in order to meet the recurring requests of my philosophy-focused subscribers and viewers, I started a new, much more ambitious project - the Half Hour Hegel series, which provides a video commentary on one particularly difficult but important work of Philosophy, G.W.F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. To date, I've produced 73 installments in the series, and they've drawn a bit over 100,000 views. Even more interestingly, they've been watched worldwide for an estimated 1,093,000 minutes! That's over 18,000 hours of viewing time that has been spent using these resources.

The project is anticipated to require another 3-4 years for me to bring it to its completion, and when finished, it will provide a unique digital resource, available to anyone with an internet connection, who would like to study Hegel's notoriously difficult Phenomenology of Spirit. As far as I can tell, nothing of this kind or on this scale has ever been done with a philosophical text -- providing digital, on-demand commentary in video format free, worldwide.

I have created a blog to curate the videos, provide additional resources, and discuss Hegel-related matters. Turning to crowdsourcing for funding, I've also created a Patreon page for those who wish to support this fairly time-consuming undertaking. I hold monthly Half-Hour Hegel Q&A Google Hangouts to engage in conversation, field questions, and (as best I can) clear up confusions about the text and the thought.

We're relocating in just a few weeks back to our home state, Wisconsin, where I'll be continuing to develop still more free, open access educational video content in Philosophy and several other related fields.