Ruijie Zhao — Parkland College —

Officially launched in June 2005, YouTube was a service aiming to “remove the technical barriers to the widespread sharing of video online” (Burgess & Green, 2009, p.1). Burgess and Green accentuate the user-friendliness of the YouTube site, claiming that it “provided a very simple, integrated interface within which users could upload, publish, and view streaming videos without high levels of technical knowledge, and within the technological constraints of standard browser software and relatively modest bandwidth” (p. 1). YouTube has fascinated many users and its increasing popularity was recognized by the Nielsen Company, a global information and media company, which listed YouTube among the top ten most visited websites globally (“Nielsen News Release,” 2007).

As a site for entertainment, YouTube has attracted viewers worldwide largely due to its easy access and quick sharing. Such attributes make YouTube a site of heterogeneous content, various narrative strategies, and diverse styles. Attempting to expand its service, YouTube “wants to be a venue for academe” and “web video opens a new form of public intellectualism to scholars looking to participate in an increasingly visual culture” (Young, 2008, p.7). In recent years, scholars have explored YouTube’s potential in academia and have examined its characteristic to promote participation. According to Salaway and Caruso (2008), “most first-year college students now arrive on campus with their own personal computer, digital music player, cell phone, and other digital devices." Facing a student population that has grown up in this digital environment, instructors need to implement innovative teaching that incorporates technology to cater to what students know and need. This webtext attempts to demonstrate ways YouTube potentially encourage collaborative, democratic, and interactive learning in the prewriting stage in college composition classes.