Risk Bites creator Andrew Maynard, director of the U-M Risk Science Center and professor of environmental health sciences is flexing his social media muscle by creating short YouTube videos on a dry erase board covering issues from gun control, asbestos, BPA, and more provocative titles such as “poop on cell phones.”
Maynard says he wants the series to provide credible and timely information that will help people better understand human health risks. Risk Bites takes advantage of a growing hunger for digestible, informal online education. He claims:
“Increasingly sophisticated educational material on YouTube and elsewhere is being consumed by ever-greater numbers of people. The most successful content generators are people with a passion for knowledge and an ability to connect with their audience. And in this new medium they are leaving professional educators in the dust.
I’m particularly interested in how this gap can be closed. How can someone like me who teaches for a living achieve relevance to a wider audience through using YouTube more effectively?”
We never see Maynard in the videos. Only his hand is visible, as he draws objects, stick figures and words, while he narrates each story with his distinctively British accent.
In addition to the videos, the center has started a blog called Risk Sense that features experts who write about their research or about emerging issues. Maynard also has a blog called 2020 Science, which is about developing new technologies responsibly and safely.
To learn the Ten Ways Water Can Kill You, and if your chocolate habit can earn you the Nobel Prize, look no further than the Risk Bites YouTube channel. You can also keep up with the latest news by following him on Twitter!