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iTunes U opens airwaves to resources, entertainment for students, instructors

By Alden Gregory and Allison McGillivray
On November 12, 2012

Thursday Nov. 8, Miami University became part of iTunes U, an electronic way to freely distribute materials for courses, lectures, music and performances via iTunes.

Miami is joining other colleges and universities located throughout 26 countries, as well as other varying levels of schooling, including K-12.

Until iTunes U made the switch to being a public site in March, Miami had a private site with very limited content.

Now, the Miami iTunes U site has content available to the public as well as course materials that are only accessible class by class, according to Kelly Bennett, Miami's social media specialist.

Miami courses, faculty lectures, music and sports videos will be available to the public through the iTunes U site.

In addition to the public site, a coursework-linked site will be available to Miami students, which can be accessed both in and out of the classroom, making it easier to have all needed materials in one place, according to Bennett.

Spanish and Portuguese lecturer David Motta has used iTunes U before in his linguistics classes.

"[The students] were learning all of these nuts and bolts about sounds but they didn't have any way of actually putting it into practice," Motta said.

Motta was using CDs to help students practice sounds before a colleague convinced him to use iTunes U.

"It was a really great way for my students to go in, record themselves, and then drop it in my iTunes U course," Motta said.

Motta said he has had some technical difficulties with iTunes U but he said he will continue to use it because it is beneficial to his students.

Through iTunes U, students will be able to sample classes and view lectures before making a decision.

The site will show what the school has to offer, like great professors and classes, according to Bennett.

The site is already up and running, containing videos depicting the progress on Miami's Armstrong Student Center and the presidential award for service.

Soon, it will include digital lectures, music and sports performances and videos of guest lectures. One of the music performances available will be a clip from Miami's recent visit to Carnegie Hall.

Contributions to the site will be made mostly by Miami University professors and, if permitted, visiting speakers.

Many universities are beginning to use iTunes U as a way to engage students and have all course materials accessible in one spot.

"[Miami] wanted to make sure we had our presence [in iTunes U] along with other colleges," Bennett said.

Being a part of iTunes U will allow Miami to connect with other universities, as well as the general public, and provide the means to share what the school has to offer.

"The site showcases what the Miami experience is like from both an academic viewpoint as well as the well-rounded Miami experience," Bennett said.

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