BYU offers YouTube class


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We live in a digital world and if one isn’t familiar with the terms and technology, it would be easy to get left behind. To stay ahead of the curve, the Department of Theatre and Media Arts at BYU is now offering a class that teaches students the inner workings of YouTube.

TMA 315R Special Projects is a second-block class that focuses on helping students interested in media to optimize their viewership on YouTube. The class was offered for the first time Fall 2011 and has already gained a great reputation with its alumni.

Jake Justice, a media music major from Thousand Oaks, Calif., was one of the first students to take the class. Justice said the class has been helpful because it better prepares people for a future in digital media.

“Basically everything good in my life right now, with my music career, is because of this class,” Justice said. “For anybody that has something they want to promote it is a life changing class.”

TMA 315R instructors Devin Graham and Jacob Shwarz are BYU’s YouTube Yodas. Graham, who taught the class last semester, has been successful in his YouTube endeavors. His channel, DevinSuperTramp, has more than 260,000 subscribers and nearly 50 million video views and Graham accomplished this without any formal YouTube training. Justice said one thing that made the class unique is the curriculum is based on the real world experience of individuals who have had success with YouTube.

The digital world we live in is still in its early stages of development, but Schwarz, the current instructor of the class, is confident YouTube has a solid stake in the future.

“It’s changing the game and changing the distribution model everyone is used to,” Schwarz said.

BYU’s YouTube class is designed to help students learn this new distribution model. Schwarz said the course empowers students with a variety of tools to help them find success, and that the main purpose is to help students get their name out there.

“More than anything it’s to gain an audience,” Schwarz said, adding that students are taught how to use social media, like Twitter and Facebook, to interact with their audience.

They are also taught the importance of consistency in generating new content. Schwarz said in order to have a YouTube channel, you have to treat it much like having a television show.

“When you have a TV show you have people who care about your content and want to see new things each week,” Schwarz said.

Joel Roberts, a senior from Logan studying media music, said he has been impressed with the way the class encourages artists from different fields to work together to market their work.

“For what I’m doing, it promotes collaboration between different media because that’s the future,” Roberts said. “I think there should be more classes like that at BYU.”


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