Yale has always been committed to the open dissemination of knowledge, and the university has used begun to use recent advances in technology to distribute information easily and efficiently — for example, through open courses Yale is freely making many of its classes available online. However, as it stands professors are the primary benefactors of this technology, and students don’t have similar institutional support to share their own important work with the world. To further the goal of dissemination of knowledge as well as to allow students to participate in this global forum, we started a project to record videos of senior presentations in the twelve college’s Mellon Forums and then make them freely available online.
The Mellon Forums provide seniors with an intimate setting to present their thesis work to a group of their peers over dinner and dessert. These forums are already an important platform for seniors to present their thesis research by giving them time to present and openly share their work with their classmates — otherwise most seniors’ research would be mostly hidden from view. One limitation of this, however, is that by their nature the forums must be small and presentations are given to a very restricted audience despite the fact that many people (friends from other colleges and years, family, and curious outsiders) are particularly interested in the work these students are doing. Putting videos of these presentations online would not only make this knowledge available not only to other students, but also to all the world. Taping a presentation might make it slightly more formal, but it also heightens the energy and impact of the presentation. And further, recording these presentations sends the message to students that yes, their research really is important enough that the university believes it is worth showing to the world.
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-Evin, Paul, & Paulo