iTunes U grows in popularity

In fall of 2009, Apple-produced iTunes U made its debut at Oswego State with little attention. It wasn’t until this fall that the school began to emphasize the tech giant’s educational version of iTunes, which has already been embraced by top universities such as Harvard, Yale, Duke, MIT and Stanford to name a few.

iTunes U is a part of Apple’s music store, and allows the distribution of educational content. This includes lectures, slideshows, PDFs, films, exhibit tours and audio books. The information posted can be distributed within the university itself, or open to the public. The layout of iTunes U is fairly simple and familiar to users of Apple’s media player, iTunes.

According to Joseph Moreau, chief technology officer, iTunes U was adopted at Oswego State for several reasons. One reason was the cost, which at the time was free.

"It was also a great way to distribute promotional and educational content," Moreau said. "We felt it was a very stable environment."

The program can be easily synchronized with other Apple products, to put the educational content onto their device and listen to it on the go. The content can also be downloaded into products than can view AAC, MP3, MPEG-4 and PDF files, and can also be seen right on a computer.

"Students told me they appreciate having the opportunity to listen to me present my lectures as well as read them," Michael Ameigh, assistant provost for Budget and Operations and associate professor of Communication Studies said. "They considered it a good way to learn – listen to me present the material aurally as they read along."

There are currently a handful of classes using iTunes U, workshops have been scheduled to help professors learn how to use the program.