Functional Analysis on YouTube

Hello. My name is Sergey Lupuleac. I represent ECMI in Russia. I give lectures on functional analysis at St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. The main course for two semesters is in Russian, and a simplified and shortened version is in English.

I was always very skeptical about the idea of recording lectures on video. When others said that this was the future, I really hoped that I would not live to see this future. Couple of years ago students asked my permission for recording my lectures, and I said that I don’t care.

But last spring everything changed, and the future came instantly. Alas, it was not quite the future that we have been waiting for. It was necessary to do something urgently. I asked the students what they were doing with my recorded lectures. It turns out that they upload them on YouTube in the public domain. I’ve watched a few of these videos. The quality was very poor. It was very difficult to understand something. But my lectures already were on YouTube. Then I decided that I need to do the same, but in better. Quality. I have a whiteboard in my office. I also have a good video camera and a tripod. It turned out that this is all it takes to become a video blogger. I recorded a pilot video with the Riesz theorem about the general form of functional in Hilbert space and uploaded it on my YouTube channel, which I just created. The students really liked it. Then I arranged with the management to be allowed to work during the lockdown so that I could record the lectures. Thus, my YouTube channel grew rapidly. The audience also began to grow. My former students and even complete strangers joined in. It was a new and unfamiliar experience for me.

The big surprise awaited me at the exam session. It turned out that the performance of students has improved significantly. The YouTube recording can be paused or watched again, but the live lecturer is not so accommodating. As a result, “blank spots” may appear in the notes.

So, I decided to continue this activity and have recorded both Russian and English courses entirely. One video corresponds to one exam question.

The biggest award awaited me in the winter exam session of the 2020-2021 academic year. Student performance has increased by about three times compared to the average. Students became more interested in the subject and solved additional advanced problems. Young people are used to receiving and assimilating information from YouTube. So it turned out to be working. And it works really well.

I don’t know yet what I will be doing next academic year. But my YouTube channel will definitely help me in my work.