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

(View all)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago

It's nothing like Blackboard.

It's like Blackboard wanna-be, but nothing that robust. It's very simple, too simple for major College and University courses.

Clearly Apple wants to keep this to iPad only, and we'll see how well that does. But everyone knows that a MacBook Pro is a near standard for education. The question is, are they willing to spend $500 more on an iPad as well? Apple definitely needs to OWN the tablet industry for this thing to be taken seriously.




Right but these aren't actual courses for credits in University, that will give someone a degree. Don't get me wrong, free education is amazing, and it's a great impact, but it won't replace the current Learning Systems in colleges and universities.
But it's like a better Khan Academy basically.



Yes, i recently graduated from a top Business school, so I do know what i'm talking about.
I've had those same issues, but this app is not the answer to that.
Currently, an iPad cannot replace a MacBook Pro as the essential tool in education.

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

Apple presumes everyone is gonna have an iPad, when let's face it.. majority of the people still like the old-school textbook. So this is gonna take a very long time, if ever, to take over the market.


Well ... I am a graduate of a top Business School and 2 top Engineering schools. I have used Blackboard and several other tools. 1 Blackboard was not quite hardware / software agnostic. Very broken unless you were running IE (at least 4 yrs ago).

At the end of the day you will need to buy some piece of hardware to get either Blackboard or iTunes U working. Apple is giving you an education experience, not a piece-mealed set of "things". I was a teaching assistant in undergrad and this experience Apple is setting up makes the process A LOT simpler to manage. For K-12, my partner is a teacher and his jaw dropped watching the video last night. You can write grants to get iPads in the classroom. In some schools there are stipends provided to have "computers" for students in classrooms (Title 1 Schools). Private schools of course can include it in tuition.

Someone already said it and I think they are correct. Apple will aggressively price the iPad 2 just like they did the iPhone 4 and create a 2nd tier of product without sacrificing the experience.

I'm confused as to why everyone is complaining about an iPad in every classroom. Microsoft wanted a PC in every classroom (and just about got it). Apple is just doing it better.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 months ago

I use my original iPad 1 (bought on launch day of 3G) every day for about 10 hours a day.


I hope Chazwatson doesn't read this. He might go off on another one of his looking down isn't ergonomic spiels.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'This App is No Longer Shared' iOS Bug Preventing Some Apps From Opening

Friday May 22, 2020 3:58 pm PDT by
An app bug is causing some iOS users to be unable to open their apps, with affected iPhone and iPad users seeing the message "This app is no longer shared with you" when attempting to access an app. There are multiple complaints about the issue on the MacRumors forums and on Twitter from users who are running into problems. A MacRumors reader describes the issue:Is anyone else experiencing...

Apple Memorial Day Deals: Shop the Best Apple Accessory Sales From Twelve South, eBay, Anker, Mophie, and More

Friday May 22, 2020 6:39 am PDT by
We're now just a few days away from Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, and numerous retailers have opened up discounts in celebration of the holiday. This includes sales on helpful Apple-related accessories like Anker's portable batteries, Beats headphones at eBay, Incase and Incipio's protective iPad and iPhone cases, Mophie's iPhone battery cases, JBL's Bluetooth speakers, and much more. Note:...

Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Shares Intriguing Story of His Interview With Steve Jobs at NeXT

Friday May 22, 2020 4:01 am PDT by
Former Apple executive and iOS chief Scott Forstall made a rare public appearance this week at Code.org's virtual Code Break event, and in between classes, Forstall shared the intriguing story of how he was hired by Steve Jobs. Forstall revealed that he had been considering working at Microsoft when he went to interview at NexT, the company started by Jobs after he had left Apple. Forstall...

'Apple Glass' Rumored to Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses, and More

Tuesday May 19, 2020 6:30 am PDT by
Front Page Tech host and leaker Jon Prosser today shared several alleged details about Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses, including an "Apple Glass" marketing name, $499 starting price, prescription lens option, and more. The marketing name will be "Apple Glass" The glasses will start at $499 with the option for prescription lenses at an extra cost There will be displays in both...

Apple's 'Bounce' AirPods Ad Wins 'Best of Advertising' Award

Friday May 22, 2020 10:09 am PDT by
Apple's creative "Bounce" ad designed to highlight the AirPods took top honors in the 99th annual ADC (Art Director's Club) awards for advertising, earning the "Best of Discipline" award along with two Gold Cube awards in the craft in video and branded content categories. Released in June 2019, the ad features a bored man who pulls his AirPods off of their wireless charging pad and then pops ...

Apple's 'AirPods Studio' Over-Ear Headphones Have Reportedly Kicked Off Production

Friday May 22, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
We've been hearing quite a bit recently about Apple's long-rumored over-ear headphones, said to be called "AirPods Studio," and it looks like a launch may be coming in the relatively near future. Artist mockup based on Beats Studio3 Rumors have generally suggested a summer or fall launch for AirPods Studio, with a report earlier this week claiming that suppliers in Vietnam will begin...

Top Stories: Apple Glass and iPhone 12 Rumors, iOS 13.5 Update, and More!

Saturday May 23, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
It was another big week for rumors this week, with a flurry of reports about Apple's augmented reality glasses, the iPhone 12, and Apple's "AirPods Studio" over-ear headphones. This week also saw the release of iOS 13.5, bringing a number of health-related updates to Apple's mobile devices. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other topics of interest this week included ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 13.5 With Exposure Notification API, Face ID Mask Updates, Group FaceTime Changes and More

Wednesday May 20, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that come more than a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1. iOS 13.5 is a major health-related update that brings many features related to the ongoing public health crisis. The iOS and ‌‌iPadOS‌‌ 13.5 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings...

Jon Prosser Claims Apple is Working on 'Steve Jobs Heritage Edition' AR Glasses, Gurman Calls Rumor 'Complete Fiction'

Thursday May 21, 2020 4:50 pm PDT by
Apple is working on a limited-edition version of its augmented reality smart glasses that's designed to look like the round, frameless glasses that Steve Jobs was famous for wearing, according to Jon Prosser. Prosser, who runs YouTube show Front Page Tech and who has been sharing a flood of Apple rumors in recent weeks, mentioned the detail in Cult of Mac's latest Cultcast podcast....

T-Mobile and Sprint Offering Free iPhone SE With Trade-In

Thursday May 21, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
T-Mobile is launching a Memorial Day promotion that will see the company offering a free iPhone SE to customers who trade in an eligible older smartphone in good condition. From Friday to Monday, customers who trade in an existing smartphone can get a free iPhone SE (sales tax still needs to be paid) or up to $500 off a Samsung Galaxy S20. The free iPhone SE will be provided in the form...