Thing 13 & 14 : Video and Audio

Thing 13: Video – YouTube, Vimeo, and Media Hopper

There are many options for watching, downloading, and sharing video online. For Thing 13 we’re looking at three video platforms to compare their usability, licensing options, and accessibility.


YouTube was created in 2005 as a website for users to share original video content. Since then it has become a repository for video, film, animation, art, and advertising. It’s now common for broadcasting and film companies to have their own accounts and share video content on YouTube.

Anyone can view content on YouTube, and can also choose to sign up and share their own content, or curate lists of other content on the website. YouTube videos can also be shared and embedded within other webpages and platforms such as Twitter.

YouTube provides its users with two licensing options for content uploaded to its site. The first is a Standard YouTube licence which allows for the embedding and sharing of YouTube video on other websites using the YouTube platform.

The second is a Creative Commons CC BY Attribution licence allowing anyone to re-purpose and re-use the video so long as attribution is provided to the creator of the video.

The YouTube Help Centre provides excellent advice and support on how to use, create, and share with YouTube.


Vimeo was founded in 2004, and in 2007 became the first video sharing site to support high-definition video.

Anyone can view content on Vimeo, and can also choose to sign up and share their own content or curate lists of other content on the website. Users can also choose to allow others to download their content for re-use outside of Vimeo.

Vimeo videos can also be re-shared and embedded within other websites by using the Vimeo platform. However, Vimeo also offers the full suite of Creative Commons and Public Domain licensing options. For this reason, the platform is often preferred by artists and film creators.

The Vimeo Help Centre provides excellent guidance and support if you are interested in creating and sharing media on Vimeo.

Media Hopper Create

Media Hopper Create (named after Grace Hopper) is the University of Edinburgh’s media service. Anyone can view content on the website (unless specific content has been restricted for privacy purposes), and all 35,000 students and 10,000 staff – including distance learners – at the University are provided with access to its tools to create, edit, share, view, re-use and centrally store audio and video content.

Staff and students can create, edit, share, and curate content on Media Hopper. Content can be re-shared and embedded within other websites including the University’s Virtual Learning Environments (VLE), Moodle and Blackboard.

A full suite of Creative Commons, and other, licensing options are provided so that users can choose the level of licence that suits their work. Users can also choose to allow others to download their content for re-use outside of Media Hopper.

The Digital Skills team have created a series of training videos, ‘Getting started with Media Hopper‘ and run Media Hopper Introduction training sessions for University of Edinburgh staff and students. Learn more on the Digital Skills Training website.

Media Hopper also has channels that are particularly useful for finding openly licensed content:

  • Open Media Bank –  a collection of licensed media originally created for MOOCs, for sharing, reuse and remixing.
  • Open Media Snippets –  a collection of openly licensed media snippets for sharing, remixing and reuse.

How to complete Thing 13

Step 1

Choose one of YouTube, Vimeo, or Media Hopper.

Step 2

Use the search functions to find some videos in your field/hobby of interest. Have a look at the features available on the video platform, can you create a playlist, or download a video? Make use of skills from previous Things:  can you locate where licence information is displayed for the video? How usable do you find the video platform? Can you see if it offers any accessibility options?

Step 3

Write a short reflective blog post on what you have learned about your platform of choice. Was there anything that surprised you?

Additional Resources

Ted Talk: Chris Anderson on How web video powers global innovation – “What Gutenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face-to-face communication.”.

Social Impact of YouTube – This Wikipedia article explores YouTube/online video sharing impact across culture, education, journalism, politics, and world events. I’d definitely recommend exploring the references on this article, the videos, news articles, and academic papers are broad and fascinating.

Thing 14: Audio – Podcasts and SoundCloud

What are Podcasts?

Podcasts are digital audio files that are available on the internet. Unlike radio, podcasts are episodes or series which can be subscribed to and downloaded either automatically or manually when new episodes become available.

Once downloaded podcasts can be listened to on your pc, laptop, mobile phone, or device.

There are a huge variety of podcast apps available.

One of the most popular for Apple iOS devices is the Overcast app.

One of the most popular for Android devices is the Podcast Addict app.

iTunes is one of the easiest ways to start using podcasts. The latest version is available here if you want to install it on your device:

Open up iTunes, go to the iTunes store and click on the ‘podcasts’ menu option on the left.

This will take you to iTunes podcasts home page, where you can search for podcasts by category, genre, top shows, and provider.

To listen to an episode in iTunes, click on a show and then click on an episode. If you want to download a single episode, just click “get”.

To subscribe to all new episodes of a podcast, click the “subscribe” button under the show image/logo on the left of the screen.

You can also choose to sync podcasts to your device.

If you’re unsure where to start here’s a couple of lists of top podcasts:

The 20 best podcasts of 2021, The Guardian, Dec 2021

WIRED UK’s 53 of the Best Podcasts For Curious Minds, Dec 2021


SoundCloud is a global online audio platform based in Germany, that enables users to upload, record, and share their originally-created sounds such as music and spoken word. SoundCloud is used by a broad range of amateur and professional artists, societies, and broadcasters. Just like YouTube and Vimeo, SoundCloud tracks can also be shared and embedded within other webpages and platforms such as Twitter.

Anyone can listen to music and tracks on the platform, but if you choose to sign-up you can also create playlists, comment on other tracks, create and upload your own sounds. Users can sign up through a Facebook or Google account, or an email address. Once signed-up you can can “like” tracks just as you would like a post on Facebook. You can also “repost” tracks, similar to a retweet on Twitter. Another neat feature in SoundCloud is the ability to comment on a certain point in a track.

SoundCloud is not just music. Poetry, spoken word, interviews, readings, and sports broadcasting can all be found on the platform.

The Poetry Foundation on SoundCloud – The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organisation in Chicago. They use SoundCloud to post audio poems, podcasts, and readings of poems by participants in the Record-a-Poem project.

BrainPicker – Is Maria Popovers SoundCloud account for her BrainPicker website where she collects and curates a range of interesting material from across the web.

If you want to set up your own account on SoundCloud then their Getting Started on SoundCloud guide is a good place to start. Mashable also provides an excellent Beginners Guide to SoundCloud.

How to Complete Thing 14

Find a podcast or a SoundCloud track (which could be music, a podcast, an interview, a reading, etc.) and share this on your blog with a short post about how podcasts or SoundCloud could be useful to you.

Additional Resources

How SoundCloud Changed Music Forever – by Leslie Horn, June 2014

SoundCloud regroups following criticism of its copyright takedown policy – by  March 2016

If you’re interested in podcasting for yourself, here’s a great article on academic podcasting from Mark Carrigan on the LSE Impact Blog: Podcasts are a natural fit for communication of academic ideas