UC Berkeley Posting Class Lectures on YouTube

Move over "Leave Britney Alone Guy." And all those cute kitten videos, too.

The University of California, Berkeley, is posting course lectures and other campus happenings on YouTube.

"To a teacher who has a passion for teaching, this is enormously exciting," said physics professor Richard A. Muller, whose "Physics for Future Presidents," is among courses available online. "My students are everywhere and I don't have to give them exams."

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Berkeley and other universities have been broadcasting a variety of courses on the Web for some time, including an arrangement Berkeley started in 2006 with YouTube's parent company Google Inc.

The agreement with YouTube was formally announced Wednesday.

Watching the videos is free and for the joy of information only. You won't get course credit.

"It's not meant as a substitute for going to class. You can't interact; you can't be part of that dialogue," said Ben Hubbard, co-manager of webcast.berkeley, a local site delivering course and event content as podcasts and streaming video.

But Muller gets e-mail from all over the world — "Even Timbuktu!" — and Hubbard said course videos previously distributed online through Google scored more than a million hits and about 700,000 downloads.

UC Berkeley launched an audio podcast program with more than 25 courses in 2006. In 2007, the campus is to deliver audio or video for 86 full courses and more than 100 other events — 3,500 hours of content.

More than 300 hours of videotaped courses and events already are available at http://www.youtube.com/ucberkeley.

Berkeley's offerings join an eclectic mix of content on YouTube, including the breakout rant from the young man known as "Leave Britney Alone Guy" for his tearful defense of singer Britney Spears's performance on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Muller, known for presenting physics with innovation and relative simplicity, has found his audience is as diverse as it is far-flung.

"I get e-mails from high school students, I get e-mail from college students, people who graduated and never learned this stuff. People listen to this because they enjoy learning," said Muller, who is at work on a book under the same title as his course that he plans to have ready before Election Day.