RED RIVER COLLEGE YOUTUBE CHANNEL REACHES A GLOBAL AUDIENCE
BY SYDNEY SMALL
5 million views, 210 countries, 366 videos and 25,460 subscribers: a Red River College YouTube channel has gone global. They’re known as the Wise Guys.
“There’s been massive growth recently,” said Lauren Phillips, manager of the Academic Success Centre, as she looked at the channel’s analytics. “It really has a global reach.”
The Wise Guys Tutors YouTube channel, now titled Red River College – Tutoring, was funded by an innovation grant at the Notre Dame Campus in 2008. It began with a partnership between the tech centre, which helped with video production, and the tutors, who provided the content. RRC tutors Michael Reimer, Ming Xu, and Delaney Earthdancer are the original Wise Guys. Earthdancer has since retired.
Dave Rogalsky, director of Student Support Services, said a need for accessibility played a major role in the channel’s genesis. The Wise Guys videos allow students to watch as many times as they’d like to accommodate their varied needs.
“Students could go online and find it at two in the morning when they wanted it,” said Rogalsky.
The Wise Guys channel focuses on distinct subject areas to provide skills in math, physics and chemistry. Phillips said the videos take anywhere from two to eight hours to produce. They had the option to use digital pens to create the on-screen graphics, but Phillips said they chose to show the tutor’s hand and paper as they work through equations.
“We like that human element so students feel they have a relationship with the person providing the help,” said Phillips.
Phillips said there has been an increase in demand for support at the college. Phillips also said faculty use the videos as a teaching resource and refer it to students. In a “flipped classroom setting” where students do a lot of independent work, the channel is an accessible format.
“It’s just incredibly positive,” said Phillips. “I think it’s a very safe way to access help.”
Since its 2008 inception, the channel has reached 210 countries with the most views in Canada, India, the Philippines and Pakistan. Phillips said the college doesn’t advertise the channel, so many people hear about it through word-of-mouth and search engines. With a name so catchy, they aren’t surprised.
“They [the Wise Guys] were poking fun at themselves for having a reputation for being smart, and maybe nerdy,” said Rogalsky.
Phillips said the Wise Guys videos inspired the new study skills videos hosted on the Academic Success Centre website. While the Wise Guys focus on “bite-sized math skills,” Phillips said the new videos focus on ways to improve learning skills and study habits based on cognitive neuroscience research.
The Wise Guys are currently taking a break from YouTube. Phillips said the college has seen a spike in demand for support, so the tutors have been focused on face-to-face sessions.
To watch the Wise Guys videos on YouTube, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/RRCWiseguys.