21 February 2006

iTunes U

One trend recently is the move to online provision of services, often for free, that used to be only available as enterprise systems (like email, web-page hosting and now podcasting).

Following on from the Stanford initiative, Apple has extended its iTunes support for audio and video distribution of lectures by inviting other universities interested in taking up the service to participate. According to a BusinessWeek article [article removed], Apple is offering universities a customized version of iTunes that allows academics to post podcasts, audio books or video content on their institution’s iTunes-affiliated Web sites. The podcasts are accessible from Windows or Macintosh computers and can be transferred to portable devices like Apple's iPod or burned to a CD. Access to the podcasts can be restricted to designated groups of users, or open to anyone to download.

It’s a DIY process where lecturers can use simple audio or video recording devices like an iPod with a recoding device or a miniDV video camera to capture their lectures, then use simple software provided by Apple to prepare the media for iTunes and upload it to the iTunes server for access by students. No local support should be required.

UC Berkeley has also recently made available a number of its lectures for free, public access.