Learn to Write on YouTube

Last week, it was all YouTube, all the time, given my blast of interest in teacher videos on the site. It crossed my mind to map out an article about the films, contextualizing them with other forms of student review and a jag about the video documentation of labor, but other writing calls. This week, the focus shifts ... to films about writing on YouTube!

This video, "9 Steps To A Good Essay," receives metaspencer's high-larious rating—and it's as smart as it is funny. The video is a general overview on writing an essay from a very pragmatic, fairly disinterested student perspective. If you have time, the last minute of the film is completely worth waiting for.

Video essays on essay writing like this next one are equally terrific, with the film's creator putting together an inventive sound track. In fact, the sound track is the best part of this film. "Punctuation by the layers, true grammar playahs." If I received a student project like this one, I'd question ever assigning another written essay.

Of course, you can see the footprints of clever pedagogy in all of these videos, evidence of creative assignments taken up by students in imaginative ways. Really, I can't think of a niftier assignment. Who's teaching these?

Videos like this one are a little different, not overtly about essay writing, but in a sense, entirely about essay writing. This vid's caption reads:
I was killing time while writing an english essay, and I found the SuperMan theme on a John Williams myspace fan site.

Several other videos on the site document writers not writing, perhaps one of the most understudied practices in composition/rhetoric.

The assigned topic of this essay, which the filmmaker reads aloud on YouTube, is "The Differences Between Humans and Animals." I didn't find too many other essays read aloud, though it's nice to see the site prompting/enabling writers to bring their words to voice through this kind of insta-publication.

And as you may already know, there are other much more polished videos about writing up on YouTube. These are generally produced by campus units of one kind or another, but the life is in no way sucked out of them simply because of the institutional affiliation. This one, for instance, receives the high-larious rating while covering the basics (peer review, drafting, etc.) of college writing.

Check IHE in a few days if you want to read about this again.


  1. I now have a new title for my lesson plan on coherence: "Transitions muthafucka!"

  2. The best line by far!

    I love it when I write a good es-say.

  3. hm, I vote for "true grammar playas."

  4. Okay, okay: you're right, it's much less obvious. How can you go wrong with layahs and playahs? :)