Thursday, 18 November 2010

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


  1. The OU does books, Nottingham does a lot of short clips

  2. E-books in iTunes U is indeed a whole new thing -- I for one was hoping that Apple's big iTunes announcement 16 Nov (the Beatles on iTunes) was going to be something about e-books being really developed more broadly than just working with iBooks (at least I *think* that's how it's currently working).

    Do you know how Nottingham's short clips are being used? Are instructors steering students toward them as learning material?

  3. This is awesome that Itunes is involved in this sort of thing. And I thought that they were only music sales. I really think that lecture capture is the future of distance learning. I love to see advances in educational software. I feel like we waste so much money on video games, when we could be bettering our learning from a distance programs.

  4. Gregory, thanks so much for your comment and sorry it took me so long to reply. I'm still figuring out how Blogger works! (that's my excuse!) It's interesting how many people don't know about iTunes U, even when they are iTunes users. I think lecture capture is great but it's only the beginning of possibilities. E-Books on iTunes U are cool because they can contain video and sound, for example.

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