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iTunes U? August 28, 2006

Posted by Amanda in A Better Mouse Trap.
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It all starts with learning.Apple shares common goals with education — to advance teaching, learning, and research through innovation, and engage and empower students. Students expect a campus environment that accommodates their digital lifestyle, adapts to their individual learning needs, and encourages collaboration and teamwork. Introducing a way to simplify and meet all these needs — iTunes U.”

It’s an interesting concept. Putting podcasts of professor’s lectures online for students to access at their leisure, 24/7 from the same place many get their music from these days. Stanford University was one of the first schools to pilot a program called Stanford on iTunes which premiered last fall. iTunes has picked up the idea and started to run and it is now expanding to include my school as well. The University of Missouri has always had close ties to Apple. Our tech store sells mostly apple products, and our world class journalism school recommends Apple computers for all students. Many students have ipods, sold with a discount to students, so iTunes U has a nice jumping off point on our campus.

It seems like a great idea, and I would use it. Imagine studying for a test. Just download the lectures and have them play while you fold clothes or do other chores. Play them while you’re getting ready for bed, or even sleeping (yes, I’ve been told that doesn’t actually work)

The one thing that worries me about the entire project is what it will do for class attendance. I know students who do not attend class when a teacher posts slides online, imagine if they could get the audio too! This could hurt in class discussions, but are those who don’t attend really going to participate? Time will tell whether podcasts are the new media of the classroom.

Check it out: iTunes U

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