By Wren Culp
Information is available almost anywhere we turn: textbooks, databases and websites trickle with news and resources to help students. But no one would have thought that iTunes would be one of those resources.
iTunes is a place for anyone to buy music, movies or games that they enjoy and want to have on their computer. But now the popular media browser developed by Apple Inc. is taking it one step further. And what this program called? “iTunes U”.
iTunes U puts the power of the iTunes store at work for colleges, universities and other education organizations so users can easily search, download and listen to educational content just like they would music, movies and TV shows. Podcasts of lectures, audio books and even playlists recommending songs you should listen to while working are being placed on the page almost daily.
“I actually love the idea of it,” a 2007 Coppell graduate Corbin Pierce said. “I can now get school stuff a lot easier and more conveniently than I use to be able to.”
Now, all the features on the website are aimed at college- level students, but everything is open to anyone who would like to look at it.
When a customer opens the home page, it looks exactly like the home page for iTunes. All the subjects are categorized with a list of top downloads and a special features section of the page.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of getting their school items from a music store.
“I would never listen to a book on my iPod,” junior Caitlin Storz said. “The iPod is made for watching TV shows and listening to music, not school work.”
Lectures from Texas A&M, Baylor University and even University of Berkeley in California are being posted on the page almost daily. Tips on how to study, work quietly and even Everything you need to know about Congress audio books come onto the page at the same frequency.
There are even iPhone programming podcasts for anyone to download books on Shakespeare and also features from Yale University.
Consumers are probably asking, what is the price for this feature on iTunes?
To the surprise of many, you can download any lectures, podcasts or book summaries absolutely free of charge.
Apple is also making iPhone and iPod Touch applications that work along the same line. Best-selling books from authors, study guides and music playlists can be downloaded as applications from Apple’s critically praised section, the “App Store”.
Other websites and services have been doing the same thing. “YoutubeEDU” was launched in March this year and hosts the YouTube channels of hundreds of universities. Earlier this month it added content from 45 universities in Europe and Israel and now holds videos of lectures and discussions provided by business schools including University of California Haas School of Business.
“The idea seems interesting, but as a whole it seems really vague,” freshman Isaac Lee said.
With the most intricate websites, help hotlines, and online chatting services available as resources to students, iTunes U has now become the new Scholarly resource.