The Open University today [June 3rd 2008] joins other world-class universities in publishing materials via Apple’s iTunes U service.
An initial launch package of 300 items of leading course material are available for free download via the latest version of iTunes U in the iTunes Store. Video and audio materials drawn from current courses across the University’s broad curriculum are now available to download for playing on your PC or Mac, iPod or iPhone.
Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at The Open University, said: “Making available selected video and audio items from among the University's highly-rated course materials via iTunes U to audiences worldwide offers a new channel for the University. We can open up free access to educational resources as well as a window for our potential students.”
Science, the arts, technology and computing, humanities and the environment are just some of the wide ranges of subjects featured.
The content has a global reach and feel: Venice, Paris and Istanbul for Art History; Sierra Leone for an in-depth exploration of the what happens in a country recovering from bloody civil war; the complex problem of the US-Mexican border which is a major case study for a course on globalisation; Lake Baikal in Central Asia to understand the environmental impact of industrialisation in post-Soviet Russia; the far East for world religions.
Closer to home, there are cows that choose when to get themselves milked by robots; a researcher pushing the boundaries of human computer interactions using implants; the world of mathematical modelling and the way societies over the centuries have understood and used maths; an ecology field trip in the English uplands, and the sumptuous funerary setting of medieval England's richest man, Richard Beauchamp.
This marks just the beginning of an ambitious programme of development by the OU. More video and audio material will be made available to reach a target of 500 items drawn from 50 OU courses by the end of July. The University also plans to extend the range of items beyond course materials to include some of its research activities.
Transcripts of all the audio and video items are also available for download. “Accessibility of our materials for students with disabilities is central to the OU’s mission,” said Professor Kirkpatrick.
iTunes U offers access to educational content from hundreds of universities and colleges. The Open University is one of only three universities in the UK and Republic of Ireland currently working with Apple to make teaching materials available. As part of Apple’s expansion of iTunes U, universities from Australia and New Zealand are also featured on iTunes U in the ITunes Store. This development means that, from today, Open University materials will be available on every device connected to the iTunes Music Store across the globe.
“The University continues to strive to widen access to its educational resources and I am confident that our participation in iTunes U will make its own contribution to meeting this aim," said Professor Kirkpatrick.
Take it further
Visit the Open University on iTunes [Requires iTunes software]