November 21, 2006 Several California State University campuses have adopted iTunes U, an innovative software that enables students to download podcasts of such items as lectures, campus news, and class notes into their portable iPod systems. The iTunes U service, developed and hosted by the Apple Computer, Inc., enables students to download audio, graphic and video images onto their Macintosh or PC computers, then copy them to their iPods to listen or view anywhere. Students may also upload content to share with professors, or the class. Professors and students using this free service are also linked to university news and information related to academic and student events. Of CSU's 23 campuses, Fresno State, Cal State East Bay, San Jose State, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Sacramento State have already adopted iTunes U.
"Podcasting and iTunes U provides us with yet another method to offer portable learning opportunities for our students, and enables Sac State to build on its long-standing tradition of providing educational access to its diverse community of learners," said Rosemary Papa, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Sacramento State University.
Using iTunes, professors may also effortlessly modify their messages, which reduces IT Department time. All content is stored in Apple's hosted repository, which can be browsed, searched and configured to providing open or secure access. iTunes U also complements other higher education online learning systems, such as Blackboard.
According to Dr. Gary Reichard, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at CSU, the fact that both students and faculty are familiar with iPods greatly reduces the complications of learning how to use iTunes U."
"Walking across a CSU campus, it seems that every other student is listening to an iPod. That's why this technology is such a natural fit to our campuses- iTunes U represents a vehicle for learning and communication that students and professors have already embraced," he said. "This software and its applications complement CSU's objective to continually adopt the latest technologies for enhancing learning on and off campus."
Peter Beyersdorf, associate professor of physics at San Jose State, agrees that iTunes U's applications are a great tool for students, but also believes it provides professors an additional way to be there for them outside the classroom.
"One of the challenges I am continually confronted with is how to make myself available to my students outside of class," he said "Via podcasts, I'm able to remotely provide the resources I want my students to have access to, and they are able to control when and how they access those resources."