In the context of a transition to lower energy consumption, one considers, among other things, the energy consumption of the Internet. Among the various uses of the Internet, it seems that the transfer and "consumption" of video takes a lion's share (and that 3d material is motivating the accelerated transition to 5g technology). Among those videos, the share of educational videos has increased during the forced lock-downs of 2020-2021 due to the covid19 pandemic.

If academics were to anticipate the maintenance of academic structures in a world with lower energy consumption,

  1. would it make sense (energy wise) to consider replacing Educational Videos by Educational Sound Podcasts as a way to reduce the storage space and bandwidth required for educational material, eventually with a synchronized set of illustration slides?

  2. Do we need a special data format for those (especially the synchronized set of slides), or will video compression algorithms do the trick?

  3. What existing examples of such teaching material (with synchronized set of slides) are there online?

  • 8
    I don't have data on that, but I would speculate that educational videos, albeit maybe growing, only represents a tiny, tiny fraction of Internet data traffic. That is to say, if you want to conserve energy on the Internet you need to look at YouTube, Netflix, or TikTok, not lecture recordings.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 12:42
  • 3
    If you're still around 40 years from now, I suspect your question will be quite amusing to read. My perspective is from reading numerous future forecasts about the use of radio and filmstrips and TV programs for grandiose visions about the future of education, written roughly in the 1930s-1940s, 1950s-1960s, and 1950s-1970s respectively (in various magazine and periodical library volumes I've looked though for various reasons during the past few decades). Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:16
  • 4
    One finding for educational videos is that "Students appear to find videos which include the instructor’s image to be more engaging, or they engage more with course content as a result of instructor presence in video". I would expect a static picture of the instructor that is updated each time the slide changes to be less effective.
    – Anyon
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:49
  • 2
    So what were your thoughts in 2000 and 2001 when, at least in the U.S., Napster was creating huge problems for universities? Recall this was not because of the illegal downloading aspect (although there was that issue), but instead it was due to a large percentage of a university's internet bandwidth being used by students downloading and sharing music files. Surely this was a far greater problem at the time, and yet here we are, storing and downloading music files without any concern about bandwidth. Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 23:42
  • 2
    A world of scarce energy will be a world of constant warfare where everyone is trying to take everyone else's remaining energy resources by force. We hardly need to worry about universities in that world. Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


The sudden increase due to the lock down, was due to the lock down. Now that is over again, there is very little interest in online education in my surroundings. That makes sense, these online courses were forced to be made in a very short time, by people who had no experience with it, and the unsurprising consequence was that for most students and teachers this was pretty awful. So when it was no longer necessary, they happily moved back to in person teaching, vowing to never ever ever get close to the internet for teaching ever again. So my guess would be that that problem will just solve itself.

  • Are you are answering the question, or rather stating that the question is meaningless? In any case, beside practicing the Flipped Classroom methodology (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipped_classroom) where students study at home and practice in class, as one currently self-isolating because of a covid19 infection which in all probability occurred while proctoring a control in a small non ventilated room where students did not wear masks (I did), I quite strongly disagree with your guess that "that problem just solved itself"... :(
    – J..y B..y
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 17:47
  • 2
    The premise of your question is that the number of educational videos will at least stay the same as during the lockdown. My observation is that that is unlikely. Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 18:53
  • Good point, but my premise is more that companies currently offering video hosting and transmission for free (e.g. Google via YouTube) will start charging for it when/if the cost of of storing and transmitting such videos will rise, something which could occur if energy production costs themselves do rise. And that the amount of educational videos will collapse as a consequence.
    – J..y B..y
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 10:57
  • Ok, that solves the problem too right? It reduces the energy use and thus saves the planet. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 12:03

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