iTunes U Collections Will Move to Apple Podcasts From September

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Apple has informed educational institutions with iTunes U content that it will migrate iTunes U collections to Apple Podcasts when iTunes 12.7 is released in September (via MacStories).

Apple launched iTunes U in 2007 as a free repository of educational content through the iTunes Store, allowing educators to create course collections comprising audio, media, handouts, ebooks, and other bundled content. In 2012, Apple introduced the iTunes U iOS app, enabling users to access their collections within an app container.

However, from September, existing iTunes U collections will be automatically converted to podcasts to become accessible through the Podcasts app and the Podcasts section of iTunes on a Mac or PC. According to Apple, the iTunes U section will be removed from the desktop version of iTunes at the same time, meaning the public iTunes U course catalog will only be accessible from iOS devices.

With this change, users can access your collections using the Apple Podcasts app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and using iTunes on Mac and PC. Your public iTunes U Collections will automatically be migrated and all links redirected into Apple Podcasts at the time of transition. While no action is required for the migration, we recommend that institutions review their current iTunes U Collections and remove out-of-date or unneeded content before the transition to Apple Podcasts.

The takeaway for end users is that from next month the iTunes U iOS app will only include courses, not collections, and there will be no way to download iTunes U course materials on a Mac.

With the migration to the Podcasts app, iTunes U collections will be assigned podcast categories automatically, but Apple cautions that they may differ from the ones previously assigned in iTunes U. The good news for collection creators is that they can use the iTunes Podcast Site Manager to change the category at any time.

Apple Podcasts supports all media types currently supported by iTunes U collections, with the exception of ePub files, according to Apple's iTunes U Public Site Manager support page. If collections contain ePub files, content creators are advised to replace the ePub files with another file type (for example, a PDF file).

MacStories notes that this advice contradicts Apple's Podcasts Connect support page, which says ePub files are supported by podcasts. We'll update this article if Apple provides clarification on this point.

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago
This sounds like a mess.
I'm still not sure what's actually changing or why.
Is the iTunes U iOS app being removed (now or eventually)? Or is this because they want to offer the content via Apple TV but don't want to create an iTunes U app for tvOS?

EDIT:

This paragraph from MacStories' article clarifies things:

"As podcasts grow in popularity, converting iTunes U collections to podcasts should expose them to a broader audience. The transition also simplifies iTunes on macOS and limits the iTunes U app to the content that is designed to work best with it. Each of those reasons makes sense in isolation, but there is a gap that hasn’t been addressed. What’s missing is a way to access iTunes U courses on the Mac. It’s possible that Apple has decided that iTunes U courses should be iOS-only, but I can’t help but think we’ll see a new approach to iTunes U on the Mac this fall and that this transition may be part of a broader plan to dismantle iTunes."
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

Of all the sections iTunes U is one I use the most frequently :( It sucks course materials won't be available on it anymore.

Grrrr! This is by far THE most stupid move Apple is going to make. The beauty of having course material in my iPhone, others using iPads both at home and in K12 education and then go home to a MUCH bigger screen connected to a Mac or the iMac itself and continue where they've left off is part of the Apple ecosystem beauty.

Now Apple wants to disrupt and compound this? iBooks works just as is and doesn't over complicate iTunes so why is it not being overhauled?!

Dumb move Apple.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
what? itunes is finally becoming...thinner?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
This is so stupid. So basically Apple is limiting access to educational material. Way to go.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago

I don't see the problem here...

iTunes U collections have always been listed as if they were podcasts to begin with. The only thing that's happening is that they're losing the "iTunes U" specification and are becoming traditional podcasts, which as stated, already have the ability to contain all the notes/presentations, excluding the ePubs that have to be substituted for PDFs.

Not only do they no longer have to deal with maintaining the iTunes U app anymore, but this brings the content to third-party podcast players aswell (as in you'll be able to subscribe to these same collections in Overcast, Castro, Downcast, etc. now [at least you'll have access to the audio in most anyway]).

Here is the problem: 2:13 in.


Now Apple just wants a PDF and an audio/video file? Podcasts are horrible for rich content delivery, think about learning a new language at one of the iTunes U's where say you have a document, course outline to readily get to without affecting your location in the Podcast, that sweet tech Apple introduced years ago where you can pickup where you left off on your Mac and vice version on your iOS device. Doesn't AppleTV 4 support iTunes U? Will it after this change? I was about to purcahse one yesterday to replace the ATV3 I have.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
That Apple is forcing educational users into using only iOS devices is pretty underhanded.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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