The Open University on iTunes U

Today, Apple’s iTunes service for Universities, iTunes U was thrown open to an international community – and is showcasing the Open University. A team from KMi and the University Learning and Teaching Solutions have crafted a strong presence for the OU at launch; and have cunning plans to use this new channel opportunity in some very interesting new ways… watch this space.

We have launched with over 300 items of leading course material in 30 courses which are available for free download via the latest version of iTunes U. Video and audio materials drawn from current courses across the University’s broad curriculum are now available to download for playing on the desktop, iPod or iPhone. Very unusually for this channel, all Open University materials are accompanied by transcripts to improve accessibility.

Science, the arts, technology and computing, humanities and the environment are all among the subject areas featured. The range of courses and content has a global reach and feel as befits a global launch – Venice, Paris and Istanbul for Art History; Sierra Leone for an in depth exploration of the issues of 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; to Lake Baikal in Central Asia to understand the environmental impact of industrialisation in post Soviet Russia; the far East for world religions.
At the other end of the scale 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. It is utterly killer stuff, presented in a brilliant new learning channel, with a great route into the real deal of an OU course… excellent!!!

Joining us in the international iTunes U release today are two other Europeans (University College, London and Trinity College, Dublin) and a large bunch of Australian and New Zealand institutions.

Today marks just the beginning of an ambitious programme of development by the OU. Alongside its sister programme OpenLearn (which is also supported extensively by KMi technologies) the iTunes U channel will offer distinctive new services to current students; and a clear route for a new body of students drawn from iTunes 50 Million worldwide user community.

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