Thursday, 18 November 2010

iTunes U in UK Universities

A short while ago, David Hawkridge (Open University Professor Emeritus and visiting professor and mentor of our Beyond Distance team) wrote an excellent blog post on the topic of iTunes U in UK Universities. It was published on the Beyond Distance blog and I link to it here. It includes reference to his own publication about Open Educational Resources which includes a section about iTunes U.

Terese Bird
Learning Technologist and Assistant Keeper of the Media Zoo, Beyond Distance Research Alliance

iTunes U Learning Material: Beyond Lecture Capture?

What sort of learning material is made available on iTunes U? How are universities and students making use of the learning material available on iTunes U? Are universities using iTunes U material in their live current programmes?

iTunes U boasts participation from more than 800 universities worldwide. A quick review of their sites reveals that the majority seem to be offering recordings of live lectures, some audio-only, some both video and audio. Though still somewhat controversial, lecture capture is being done at many universities especially in North America, Australia, South Korea, and the UK. Even if one disagrees with the pedagogic argument for lecture capture, it is hard to disagree very strongly with the simple practical benefits of having a good recording of the lecture to review.

But what might iTunes U have to offer beyond captured lectures?

Pennsylvania State University's iTunes U site contains at least two collections of student-created podcasts and enhanced podcasts, presumably submitted by the students for assessment. The Open University offers podcasts of Spanish language for beginners. It is not clear to me whether the Spanish podcasts are for use in current programmes, but they certainly could be.

Are you, or do you know of anyone who is, producing iTunes U learning material other than captured lectures? Add a comment!

Terese Bird
Learning Technologist and Assistant Media ZooKeeper, Beyond Distance Research Alliance
University of Leicester

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Welcome to SPIDER!

Welcome to SPIDER's first web (presence)! The SPIDER project is Sharing Practice with iTunes U Digital Educational Resources. The purpose of this project is to investigate and model and disseminate information about the development and release of educational resources through iTunes U by UK universities.

By most reckoning, iTunes U is not considered a proper repository of open educational resources (OER). However, it distributes many educational resources, for free, and technologically speaking, these resources can be repurposed if one knows how. It certainly has a place in the OER discussion.

What do you think? How close is iTunes U to being an OER repository?