Thursday, 10 March 2011

Positives and Negatives of iTunes U

In a recent presentation to partners working on another open educational resources (OER) project, TIGER, I presented my first draft of a list of positives and negatives of  iTunes U as a channel of free educational resources.This is a work in progress and I would like your opinion -- please comment.

iTunes U Positives
Excellent profile for institution
Standard formats (mp3, mp4, pdf, epub)
Downloading to Apple mobile devices is excellent
Constant internet unnecessary to use files
Very good search and keyword use
Reaches places YouTube cannot (China, Turkey, others)
Pushes OER agenda and brings university together in discussion
Run by a corporation - sustainable

iTunes U Negatives
Not browser-based
Issues with iTunes on public lab computers
Material not easily accessed on nonApple mobile devices
Not very good for conversation with learners
Run by a corporation - learning second to making money on tunes

What have I missed?

Terese Bird
Learning Technologist and SCORE Fellow
University of Leicester Beyond Distance Research Alliance


  1. You knew I'd weigh in ;-)

    Other +ve
    Slick, attractive product - very market friendly.
    Excellent brand recognition for learners.

    Other -ve
    No, or unclear, licences - no support for reuse.
    Apple have final say over what is posted, not inst.
    Based around a purely transmission/passive model of learning.

  2. Thanks for this, David! I agree with you except your penultimate point. Apple does not pass judgement on files posted. I have recently had this clarified as I am part of the discussions our own university is having on this issue. Apple wants to see that the university has a team in place, and then it trusts that the team will take care of governance and quality.