USC Shoah Foundation has significantly increased its reach online and in the classroom over the past three years, according to new statistics released about the Institute’s 2016 fiscal year.
The Institute’s online viewers, both directly through the website and through social media, have increased dramatically since 2013. The number of visitors to the website has almost tripled, from 108,651 to 294,291. Additionally, a higher number of these views are from unique viewers, and the average visitor spends 60% more time on the website than he or she did three years ago.
Social media followers and engagement is also up. The Institute now has approximately two times as many Facebook friends, three times as many Twitter followers, and five times as many YouTube subscribers. YouTube video views have also doubled.
Part of the reason for the increased online engagement is USC Shoah Foundation’s Auschwitz: The Past is Present program. A trip that survivors, teachers and students made to Poland in honor of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of the concentration camp, Auschwitz: The Past is Present was covered by many news outlets and presented in an online broadcast, leading many to find out more about USC Shoah Foundation online.
The Institute also partnered with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, on educational components of Auschwitz: The Past is Present, leading to growth in that area. The number of teachers reached through educational outreach this past year was 65,705, compared to 6,487 in 2013. The number of students reached has risen proportionally, from 648,259 to 6,251,416 -- in both cases almost a 900% increase.
A portion of that increase has been specifically through IWitness. IWitness Registered Educators with active accounts increased from 3,448 in 2013 to 12,807, and IWitness registered students from 11,441 to 60,301. Part of this growth is due to IWitness’s expansion to more and more countries. It is currently used in 71 countries, compared to 60 in 2015 and 42 in 2013.
IWitness is not the only program of the Institute that has expanded geographically. Compared to 2013, 11 more sites around the world have full access to the Visual History Archive and three more countries have “smaller collection sites,” and testimonies have been taken in six new countries and eight new languages.
That doesn’t mean the Institute has turned away its focus from its home, however. This year, 50% more academic events were held at USC than in 2013, and 37 additional courses were taught on campus.
All in all, this has greatly increased USC Shoah Foundation’s “bottom line” -- the number of people who view testimony per year, or the “eyes on testimony.” Factoring in new channels, that number for 2016 was 16 million, compared to 15 million last year and only 1.6 million in 2013.