It all started with a discussion in the mechanical engineering department back in 2012. Faculty wanted to find a way to easily share videos with colleagues and students who might be interested in them. Then, with YouTube gaining popularity and the fact that the platform is free to use, the machinal engineering department decided to start its own channel—CPPMechEngTutorials.
Now the department has something to celebrate, 10 million views.
“I could have never expected that this would happen,” said Paul Nissenson, professor of mechanical engineering. “It’s an amazing feeling to have these videos that have been watched by people all around the world and that I had some part in that.”
Although the channel was not an instant success. It started to gain a following in 2015 when they uploaded an entire lecture series on fluid mechanics. Now the channel has over 92,000 subscribers and 571 videos for viewers to stream on topics such as vector statistics, thermodynamics, numerical modeling, plus laboratory demonstrations.
As the library grew, the department worked with CAFE staff and the IT web development team to create ME Online , which organizes the videos by course title and makes it easier for students to find the content they need. They also partnered with MediaVision to help produce several lecture series.
Roughly half of the mechanical engineering (ME) department’s faculty has contributed to library, filming the videos in a variety of formats. Some prefer using the white board, while others use animated PowerPoint presentations to explain concepts. There are also other helpful videos for students to watch such as, ME senior project information and the ME department’s podcast videos on topics like “What’s it like being a freshman engineering student?”
The videos also have been used for Cal Poly Pomona’s first massive open online courses in 2014 and 2015, which helped 13,000 people from around the world learn computer programming. While the ME Online website can benefit current students, it can also help both future and past students.
“This was one of the things that the internet was supposed to be about, sharing information,” said Nissenson.
At this time the ME department does not have any grand plans for the future, according to Nissenson, but it will continue to create content as the opportunity arises.
Early in spring of 2020 the ME department started to assist other departments to create their own video libraries as well. The CPP video tutorials website has video resource content from the library, civil engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, as well as the English and modern languages department.
According to Nissenson, the grand vision for the future ideally is to have a university level site with videos for every course.
“Over the years, the successfulness of the website has really been a team effort,” said Nissenson.