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iTunes U for iPad Retools the Learning Experience

In the second half of Apple's education-focused media event today, the company turned its attention to iTunes U, the company's free educational podcast section in the iTunes Store. Eddy Cue took the stage to announce that over 1,000 universities are currently using iTunes U, with the program's content having seen over 700 million downloads to date.


The new iTunes U app advances iTunes U from audio and video lectures to a full-fledged learning app, allowing non-traditional students access to huge amounts of free content but more importantly for Apple, allowing schools to adopt iTunes U as a learning platform.
The all-new iTunes U app lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.
Courses are created via the iTunes U Course Manager, a web-based tool that allows teachers to build a course that includes a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and other items. Course materials are hosted by Apple and available to anyone taking the course -- by default, courses are open and available to anyone, though it appears schools can restrict their courses to only their students.

For users, iTunes U for iOS has more than 100 courses already optimized for iOS, with more on the way. A quick perusal of the app shows classes from Yale, Duke, MIT, and Stanford -- including Paul Hegarty's well-regarded iPad and iPhone App Development course [Direct Link].

iTunes U lets you take a complete course on your iPad. View the course overview, instructor biography, and course outline. Read posts and keep track of your completed assignments. Watch videos directly within the app, read books, and view all your course notes in one place. Receive push notifications alerting you to new posts from the instructor. And iCloud keeps your notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date on all your devices.
iTunes U is a free download for iPad and iPhone on the App Store [Direct Link].

Top Rated Comments

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30 months ago

At it's current form, this will not be a big impact to the education industry compared to iBooks 2.
I can only see this working for small and free courses, mainly in wealthy private schools.


Huh? It's giving free courses from places like Stanford, and those courses are hardly "small." Many people can't afford $120k to go to college, and this helps everyone access information. If that's not an impact then I don't know what is.
Rating: 8 Positives
30 months ago

Haven't had a chance to look - is Khan Academy participating in this?

Why would they?
They have a very successful platform already.
It is device and OS independent. Converting it to this platform would be going backwards.
Rating: 4 Positives
29 months ago

While a neat idea, schools don't have the funds to be buying students ipads, parents aren't going to shell out 500 a pop for their sons and daughters.

Lastly the device has so many other programs and games that can serve as distractions.

Under a stricter and cheaper ipad this can take off and change the industry, the current model wont put a dent in it. Though it would open extra ways to learning for those who can afford it.


As a parent, I couldn't disagree with you more...in a world where parents routinely shell out $200-$300 on game systems for their kids with zero educational value, not to mention, $400 bats and $100 athletic shoes, ipads are not that hard of a sell...especially if its viewed as an investment in their kid's future...

There are millions upon millions of parents who spend billions upon billions on their kids every year...there is plenty of room for an ipad or two in those billions...

Life is full of distractions...beside, many of those "distractions" you're referring to can be disabled or limited on an ipad....I know, I know that would require parental involvement...but that's another topic altogether...
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago

At it's current form, this will not be a big impact to the education industry compared to iBooks 2.
I can only see this working for small and free courses, mainly in wealthy private schools.


Have you ever participated in post-secondary education? Taken quizzes, tried to organize 15 credits worth of courses notes in a tablet notebook or annoyiyng tack folders? Forgot your one piece of notes, or had them unorganized? Well, if this was around when i was in college, I can bet I'd have been a better student. Maybe its just me?
And in wealthy private schools? It would benefit large public schools, such as Penn State where i attended, and they needed 2-3 teacher's assistance just to pass out the notes, quizzes, study guides etc to the 300-400 kids in a single class.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago
Turns out Khan Academy is already part of iTunes U.

Seems like folks will have to find another point to beat each other over the head with - my suggestion is whether hard boiled eggs should be eaten from the big end or the small end.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago
At it's current form, this will not be a big impact to the education industry compared to iBooks 2.
I can only see this working for small and free courses, mainly in wealthy private schools.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago


All in all, this is a competitor for Khan Academy and other Open-source learning environments, not Blackboard.

If this is intended to be a competitor for Khan Academy, it already lost.
Khan is platform independent and does not require any specific hardware to run... game over.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago
This is a game changer. Can you hear the sound of change in another industry? I can.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago
Given that:

1)iBook textbooks only work on iPad (not Mac, not PC)
2)iTunes U app only works on iPad (not Mac, not PC)
3)iBook textbooks must be exclusive to the iBook platform

it's clear that Apple sees a world—and is driving toward it as fast as it can—in which every student has an iPad.

Expect very aggressive pricing on the iPad 2, after the iPad 3 comes out.
Rating: 2 Positives
30 months ago

Khan Academy doesn't require the student/teacher to purchase any proprietary hardware to use it.
That fact alone is what makes it desirable.
It also has great content and a user experience that kids enjoy.
My daughter uses Khan Academy every day.
She can access it on ANY computer.


Yeah, nobody has an iPad. They're especially unpopular amount students and academics. Nobody has this hardware already, so iTunes U is dead.

Oh, and the content totally sucks. Why didn't Apple announce a boatload of content deals at breakthrough prices?

Happy opposite day!
Rating: 1 Positives

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