Business professor goes viral on YouTube

Videos by a professor at ASU have received over 3 million views on YouTube and his 12-part online lecture series is being used in classrooms all over the world. 

Eddie Davila is a supply-chain management professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business. Although he teaches global supply operations in person, Davila was approached in 2007 by Philip Regier, Ph.D, former dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business, to work on an online business course at ASU.

Davila created an online lecture series for students in the supply chain management field. He intended to use the videos only as introductory knowledge to his courses at first, but they later found a wider audience on YouTube. 

The idea started in 2007, but the series was completed in 2010.

Davila and his team were given creative control of the process, as he was able to script a lecture and create videos with a team of producers and animators.

“I tell people that if I can do anything, one of the jobs I would love to do is write for a television show,” Davila said. “Those videos were the closest I ever got to working on a television show.”

Davila said the instructional video explaining how to use Twitter inspired his initial videos. The first script he drafted for a lecture was too long because he had never written a script before.

“I went home and wrote a script, and when the video guy looked at it, he knew it was way too long,” Davila said. “It was 1,500 words.”

Davila said the videos have opened doors for him as a professor, and on multiple occasions, strangers will approach him because of his lectures.

“It’s all about serving the topic, and we are giving something away to people,” Davila said.

Davila said a student from India approached him at one of Davila’s supply chain bootcamps, and the student said he came to ASU because of what he saw in Davila’s videos.

Davila also said more people should embrace the new age of technology and use it to help students in classrooms all over the world.

“Nowadays, you can make low-budget videos that can be useful in the classroom, and I think ASU should be doing that.” Davila said. “Instead of trying to make commercials, they should make videos that help teach students.”

Jeffrey Hough, the multimedia developer lead at W.P. Carey School of Business, was the video director of Davila’s online lectures and said he was glad to be a part of the team.

“It was a cool project to get involved in,” Hough said. “At least in a university environment, you don’t always get that opportunity to be creative.”

Hough said Davila’s videos are unique because not everyone is able put in the extreme amount of time that it took and for some instructors it’s not always practical.

“It’s not something that’s always sustainable,” Hough said. “As there was more online course content being made, you couldn’t go through an eight to nine month production process.”

Although not every instructor is able to copy Davila’s product, ASU is trying to create more effective online content for their students, Hough said. 

“There’s got to be something better than a narrated powerpoint,” Hough said. “We try to at least push professors to be more visually interesting and engaging. 

Miranda Magallanez, a kinesiology sophomore, has taken online classes and said that she thinks a more engaging course could help students.

“I think online classes are usually set aside, and most students don’t put much effort into them because they aren’t in person,” Magallanez said. “If they made the course more exciting I think more time would be spent on them.”

Magallanez said sometimes it’s just the matter of being physically present in a classroom that determines the engagement level of a student, and any sort of lecture video could be hard for students to focus on.

“Of course, not all students are going to be engaged in the same thing, it would be difficult,” she said. 


Reach the reporter at Victor.ren@asu.edu or follow @MrVictorRen on Twitter.

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