Thursday, January 26, 2006

iTunes U

Are you an educator that sees value in recording or taping your lectures or demonstrations and making them available to your students? Be it video or audio, you can now do it easily with Apple’s new service: iTunes U. It’s a no cost hosted service that allows educators to post their recorded media files and make them available over the Internet to their students. Students can listen or view the material directly on their computers, or if they have iPods, they can seamlessly download your media to their iPod using the Apple iTunes software. Note that only those lucky students with video iPod can view your video content on their portable device. From their iPod they can listen and/or view your material 24/7 anywhere they go! Now that scores big points for accessibility.

Some people reading this may note that any good LMS such as WebCT, D2L, or Sakai, can also host audio and video files, so what’s the advantage of using iTunes U if your educational institution has an LMS? The advantage is that the bandwidth requirement is displaced from your school’s LMS server to Apple’s server. That can make a big difference in server performance with large audio and video files. You can alleviate some of the bandwidth pressures on your local institution’s LMS server by displacing the bandwidth requirement to Apple’s server. Obviously, if your school doesn’t have an LMS, iTunes U looks very attractive indeed!

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