Supporting Student Success with Online Video: A Content Analysis of Community College YouTube Channels


Author/Creator ORCID




Community College Leadership Program


Doctor of Education

Citation of Original Publication



For some community college students, the lack of knowledge about how to succeed in college, combined with institutional deficiencies in the provision of information and instructions to support student success, create barriers to completion. Video, an effective informational and instructional tool growing in use in higher education and popularity among college age students, has the potential to help address barriers to completion related to the information needs of students and the information provision of these institutions. However, little has been known about how community colleges are utilizing YouTube as a channel of communication and videos as a source of information to support student success. This qualitative content analysis research explores community college YouTube channels for the prevalence and breadth of video content supporting student success based upon the Loss/Momentum Framework, which identifies the information needs of students throughout their college experience. The study is primarily exploratory, but it includes some descriptive quantitative measures. The official YouTube channels of Maryland community colleges were systematically queried using search terms related to the information needs of community college students identified by the Loss/Momentum Framework. A comprehensive sample of 784 videos and their descriptions were analyzed and classified into student success content categories in order to provide a benchmark of how public community colleges in Maryland use YouTube to provide information to support student success. Findings show that Maryland community colleges have an active presence on YouTube and that online video is a powerful communication and information provision tool that these institutions have utilized optimally to support student success. In addition, findings show that the majority of videos supporting student success on Maryland community college YouTube channels focus on the information needs of newly-enrolled students in the entry stage and current students in the progress stage of their community college experience. Furthermore, findings show that videos supporting student success on Maryland community college YouTube channels vary widely in quantity, popularity, and duration.