[bct] Another case of being locked out?

  • From: "Bill Belew" <bill@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 13:33:58 -0800

Hi All,
My friend Jim Gammon sent me this news release about downloadable college
lectures and web casts being done through iTunes.  It sounds like it will
require use of an iPod and will use a file format that won't be playable on
other portable devices.  Probably something we should look into early on.  
Chronicle of Higher Education
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Apple Releases Free 'iTunes U' Software to Colleges for Coursecasting
Apple Computer will allow any college or university to set up a customized
portion of the iTunes Music Store to distribute course content and other
audio and video material. The free service will let institutions limit use
of some materials to certain people and make other content available to all.
The service, called
>iTunes U, will allow
colleges to set up collections of materials that can be accessed using the
free iTunes software, but that can be customized with the college's colors,
logos, and photographs. The service was announced late Monday.
Colleges that participate will be given software tools that will make it
easy for professors or students to upload content to iTunes, the company
said in a statement about the service. The files themselves will be stored
on servers run by Apple, but college administrators will have control over
who can see the files. Colleges will be able to integrate the system with
their existing network software so that students can log into the iTunes
store using their campus user ID's and passwords.
The service's Web site notes that participating colleges "must enter into
an iTunes U Service Agreement before being eligible to use the iTunes U
service," and that "Apple reserves the right to determine eligibility."
Apple officials could not be reached on Tuesday to provide details.
The company's offer is the latest indication of the popularity of
"coursecasting" -- making recordings of class lectures available online in
a format that students can download to their portable music players
Chronicle, October 28).
The idea is that students can use the recordings to review, and can do so
while they walk around campus, work out, or engage in other activities away
from their computers. Some professors, however, worry that the growing
availability of course recordings will lead to empty classrooms as students
skip lecture sessions and tune in later.
The move could help Apple maintain its dominance in portable music players
on campuses. Though the iTunes software works on both Macs and PC's, the
only portable players it connects to are iPods; it will not work with
players made by other companies.
Over the past year, Apple has worked with six institutions to test the
service: Brown, Duke, and Stanford Universities; the University of Michigan
School of Dentistry, at Ann Arbor; the University of Missouri School of
Journalism, at Columbia; and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
At Michigan's dentistry school, the iTunes service is used to deliver
recordings of most of the school's courses. Lynn Johnson, associate
professor of dentistry and director of dental informatics, says the idea to
offer recordings of lectures came from the students, who volunteered to
help make the recordings. At first, the dental school set up its own Web
site to distribute the recordings, but it recently switched to the iTunes
service instead, says Ms. Johnson.
"They really needed and wanted the audio because they could be mobile with
it," she says. She says that the project is a success, and that many
students use it. Student volunteers are in charge of starting and stopping
the recording process for each lecture, using a Macintosh computer that is
tied into the classroom's sound system. "The fact that they keep recording
more lectures -- that just speaks for itself," she says.
Brian S. Brooks, associate dean of undergraduate studies and administration
at University of Missouri's School of Journalism, says that the school used
the service for a few classes on a trial basis last fall, and that the
system worked well.
"It makes a lot of sense to deliver course content to students in a medium
they're all familiar with," he says, noting that many students already use
iTunes, and many own iPods.
He says that the college is looking into putting materials on the iTunes
service that would be available to anyone, with the hope that alumni and
others interested in the university would tune in.
Both Mr. Brooks and Ms. Johnson say that their biggest concern in
committing to the project was security, but that Apple officials persuaded
them that the system is safe.

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