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Faculty Resources


In order to meet increasing consumer appetite for on-demand videos - both educational and mass media - as well as to increase organizations' visibility online, the number of internet-based video sites has increased exponentially over the past few years.

This research guide aims to help students and teachers find and use these resources.

Licensing vs. "Buying"

Online books and videos are made available through a variety of different payment models. Some more closely exemplify a 'buying' model, others a 'renting' model.  

However, it is important to keep in mind that in reality most online video is offered via a 'licensing' model, since it is always contingent on maintaining an account with the player software provider and may not be used if the account is discontinued or the software ceases production.

Streaming vs. Downloading

Streaming videos may be viewed on any computer with an internet connection, although the bandwidth and speed of the connection will significantly effect the quality of the viewing.

In this scenario the video remains on the provider's server.  It is not, and usually cannot, be downloaded to the viewer's computer for offline viewing.  The video reaches the viewer as discreet, and constantly changing, packets of information; essentially, being 'shown' to the computer a few 'frames' at a time.  Streaming videos must be played within a web browser, using whichever plugins the provider requires.

In contrast, downloading videos must be saved to the viewer's computer before they can be watched.  Such a downloaded file can then be played offline, using software such as Quicktime and Windows Media Player.  Downloading videos can be transferred to a computer over the internet, via a data disc (DVD), a thumb drive, etc.  The video may be played offline, at any time, for as long as the file is retained.  Use of such a video is not contingent upon provider subscription or access (unless a rental DRM is applied which specifies that the file will disapear after a certain time period).

In terms of the major platforms, be aware that YouTube is a streaming video site - content on this site cannot be downloaded or burned to disc for replay offline - while iTunes is a downloading video site - content can be played offline, on any device which runs Apple-compliant software.