The Crash Course logo is positioned in a white pentagon at the top of the screen against a blue background that covers the rest of the image. The Crash Course logo consists of the text "Crash Course" over a blue banner, with a cartoon green worm coming out of a green apple in the foreground and two faces peeking over the banner in the background. Both faces are wearing glasses and have brown-blond hair. One is saying "DFTBA!" ["Don't Forget to Be Awesome"]. In the lower right of the image, the LabXchange Collaborator Spotlight logo appears. It is an overhead view of three differently colored people joining arms in a circle.

Collaborator Spotlight: Combining Education and Entertainment with Crash Course

Offering highly engaging and entertaining educational videos across a range of subjects, Crash Course boasts an incredible catalogue of learning resources that are freely available to educators and learners around the world. Created by YouTubers (and brothers) John and Hank Green over a decade ago, Crash Course has produced over 50 courses made up of hundreds of high-quality animated videos. Over 370 of these amazing videos are now available on the LabXchange platform!

To learn more about Crash Course's work and philosophy, we spoke to Heather Di Diego, executive producer of Crash Course. Read the interview below!

What does your organization do?

At Crash Course, we believe that high-quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 50 courses to date, and our videos have surpassed 2 billion views. Crash Course videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences, and beyond.

While Crash Course is an immensely helpful tool for students and teachers in and outside the classroom, it also has a large viewership of casual learners who seek out online educational content independently. It has changed attitudes towards education by creating a community of learners who are looking for more than just help passing a test.

What's one fun fact that LabXchange users should know about your organization?

Crash Course videos have helped educate millions of learners over the past 12 years, and that never would have been possible without the support from our audience. We are very proud that today, more than a third of Crash Course’s operating budget comes from financial contributions from our audience. And in addition to this generous financial support, educators, and lifelong learners support us every time they watch or share a video. The impact of Crash Course continues to grow because of the community that supports it!

Which Crash Course content are you most excited by?

This is a difficult question, because I was a fan of Crash Course since it launched in 2012 and I admired the brand for many years before I had the incredible opportunity to work on it. I’m proud of everything the Crash Course team does, the challenges we accept, the sheer density of information and fun packed into every minute, and the hundreds of decisions that go into making each episode.

For the past two years our team has been working on a new Biology series (available in English and adapted into Spanish too) which covers the foundations of Biology. Just this week our team was discussing one of the fascinating facts featured in an upcoming episode: the Splitgill mushroom has over twenty thousand sexes! Doesn’t that make you think of at least five more questions? The whole Biology series is full of wonder and awe alongside important foundational lessons, we hope that students and educators can use it to spark curiosity, and inspire further learning.

How can learners and educators best use your content?

We hope that learners can lean back and enjoy the journey, but if they have a specific need, or topic to study, they can use the Chapter function on YouTube to quickly scan major topics of each episode. We also know that more than half of our audience turns on closed captions when they watch Crash Course videos to read and follow along.

Through audience surveys and some in person focus groups, we have learned a lot from educators about how they utilize Crash Course. Sometimes they use videos as hooks to kick off a new unit, as a unit review, or as homework assignments. Others have shared that they use Crash Course to review or refresh on topics they are about to teach about. And we are humbled that there are over 10,000 resources created by educators on the Teachers Pay Teachers platform, which accompany Crash Course videos or series.

It is incredible how much educators have embraced Crash Course through the years and we love hearing their stories. We also recently created a dedicated newsletter for educators who are interested in using Crash Course, you can sign up for it here.

What motivates you to work in science education?

There is so much creativity and required exploration in science education. When I think back to my favorite learning moments, they were times when I heard something fascinating that made my jaw drop…and then made me ask more questions. Those lessons shaped me into the person I am and the way that I observe, experience and explore life. I am so grateful to work with an incredible team of folks who are dedicated to helping to support inspired learning in others.

Finally, what's your favorite science joke?

What did the microbiology student get for being late to class?

A tardigrade!

Enjoy a handful of selected learning resources from Crash Course:

Written by
LabXchange team

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