What We Did in the Past Year

2022 was another busy year for Crash Course! Since our last Coin Campaign, the Crash Course YouTube channel gained 1.3 million subscribers, and our videos were viewed more than 144 million times. In addition to producing a whole LOT of videos, we also launched a new Spanish language channel: Crash Course en Español. Here’s a recap of last year’s highlights.  

We’re adding another life sciences course to our library with the launch of Botany. Created in partnership with PBS Digital Studios and PBS Nature, this series explores how plants evolved, the structures that make them work, and their relationships with other living, and nonliving, things. 

We also consider how botany intersects with a bunch of pressing issues: GMOs, biodiversity, climate change, and more. Host Alexis Nikole Nelson, along with writers Jaime Chambers and Dr. Molly Edwards, and consultant Dr. Kathryn Parsley, helped make this series moss-ome. 

The 15-episode course will upload from May to September 2023. 

More than a decade after we released our first Biology series, we began producing a new, extra shiny Biology course. Well, actually, we’re making two of them — an English language series: Biology, and a Spanish language series: Biología

A lot has happened in biology in the last 11+ years, and we have been thrilled to partner with HHMI Biointeractive to create this new course. With units on ecology, evolution, the chemistry of life, cell biology, genetics, and organismal biology, the series complement introductory biology courses, while adding lesser known stories of contemporary scientists from around the world. 

The English series is hosted by Dr. Sammy Ramsey, science communicator and assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. And the Spanish series is hosted by Minerva Contreras, a neuroscientist who studies how non-neuronal cells operate in the brain.

It was written by Dr. KP Procko, Jaime Chambers, Dr. Leila Battison, and Alexis Dahl and adapted into Spanish by Soledad Machado, Rafael Ramos, and Adrianna Matos-Nieves. Expert direction was provided by Dr. Bonnie Fairbanks Flint, our consultant. 

Episodes are releasing weekly on either the Crash Course channel, or the Crash Course in Español channel now through July 2024. 

Fundamentos de Química 

Before the launch of Crash Course en Español, we conducted an experimental research project to figure out how to make existing content as culturally responsive as possible for Spanish-speaking learners. We partnered with the National Science Foundation, and translator Soledad Machado, to adapt 11 episodes of Crash Course Chemistry into a new mini-series, Fundamentos de Química

With help from the Education Development Center, we tested the efficacy of this adaptation, and we were so pleased to discover that Spanish speaking students who watched Crash Course Química reported higher interest and enhanced enjoyment in chemistry. They also retained the information better than Spanish-speaking students who watched the English series. We can’t wait to reach more learners as Crash Course en Español grows!

Climate & Energy
With our Climate & Energy course, we explored what it would take to power every major industry with renewable energy sources. In partnership with Breakthrough Energy this course also considers political and cultural challenges, issues of climate justice, technological developments, and what individuals can do in the face of climate change. 

The series was hosted by glaciologist, geographer, and National Geographic Explorer Dr. M Jackson, written by Dr. Leila Battison, with direction from consultant Jordan Dischinger-Smedes.

Black American History
After working on the series for years, we wrapped one of our most impactful courses of all time, Black American History with Clint Smith, writer and author of the #1 best-selling book “How the Word is Passed.” 

This series spans from the arrival of the first enslaved Black people in America, up to the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. Along the way, it covers stories of resistance and activism, politics and legislation, culture and the arts, and much more. We’re so proud of this series, which is already being widely used to help fill gaps in American education.

Public Health
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, both high-school and adult audiences have been increasingly interested in Public Health, so we were excited to partner with the American Public Health Association and YouTube to develop this series.

This course unpacks what public health is, who does public health work, health equity, and historical contexts. It was brought to life by Vanessa Hill, an award-winning science communicator and behavioral scientist, writer Dylan Reynolds, and consultant Dr. Jamie Ponmattam.

On top of all that, we made some exciting debuts this year...

Our TV Debut

Crash Course made its TV debut on the FX series Welcome to Wrexham produced by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Our short — yet thorough — Crash Course on Welsh history is featured in episode 7. After that, Hank gave in and followed Ryan Reynolds back on Twitter.

Our College Credit Debut
One of our biggest new initiatives of the last two years has been our partnership with Arizona State University and YouTube to create Study Hall. Through Study Hall, we made College Foundations series like History, Communication, and College Math as well as Fast Guides to College Majors, and more. Our goal with all of these series is the same: to lower the barrier of entry to college. 

And we’ve learned the barrier is not just about getting into college in the first place. Far too many students end up dropping out because they don’t fully understand how to navigate college, or the options for continuing their education. Our How to College series addresses this hugely important, and under-taught, subject — from applying and paying for college, to selecting a major, juggling work and school, and protecting your mental health.

But the big news is (drumroll, please): in 2023, we unveiled an exciting new feature to Study Hall. Our College Foundations series now allows learners to achieve transferable college credit at a significant discount. This is a huge new step toward making college education more accessible. We’re excited about this collaboration with ASU and the possibilities it promises for supporting students.

….And we have lots more up our sleeve that we can’t wait to share with you.

Coming up, we’ll be working on two new series; Comparative Religion and Art History. And, if you’ve watched or listened to John this year, you might have an inkling about another project that has to do with tuberculosis. Plus, there are even more things in development that we’re excited to share with you soon! 

At the end of the day, our goal is simple: we’re committed to making high-quality educational materials accessible and supporting learners where they are. Sometimes where they are is studying for AP tests. Other times, they’re asking questions about current events, searching for nuanced perspectives, or…wondering what it all means. 

While we can’t answer that last question, we can promise to keep exploring the universe and our place within it. We believe that imagining the world complexly makes it a better place for us all. 

And none of this — seriously, none —would be possible without you. Whether you’ve purchased a Crash Course coin, supported us on Patreon, or shared videos with your students, friends or coworkers, you are a part of this team. Crash Course can only exist because of support like yours. 

So if you want to, and are able to purchase a Crash Course Coin, they're available until June 9. We have so much more we want to do, and we are so grateful to have the support of those who pay for this content so that it can be free for everyone.