Learning Beyond the Classroom with iTunes U

Learning Beyond the Classroom with iTunes U

Ben Beach, News Editor

“It’s a good way to supplement in class learning,” said Connor Bach (10). iTunes U is a computer program through which students may access lecture provided free from various universities. Apple Inc. provides this service in order to disseminate lectures and lessons from universities around the world. Many students, however, fail to take full advantage of this software, for example, as Matthew Krinock (10) said, “I have never used it, but it seems like a useful tool for students […]” While many students do not use iTunes U, this software provides great utility for both students and teachers to supplement and enrich learning.

One of the most important ways that students can use iTunes U is to supplement in class learning. Students can run a search through the program and find content that teachers covered in their classes and use the online lectures to aid in their understanding of the material, and as Marcellus Orta (12) said, “[Students can] use it for studying.” This is one area where iTunes U is exceptionally suited since one can view lectures over content one is studying, helping to reinforce important concepts. Teachers can also use this tool to help aid student learning. For example, Mr. Searing uses this software in his History of the Americas and Theory of Knowledge classes. “The best part of iTunes U is that everyone can access all of our course handouts, materials, and notes–right on their device. I can also send out videos, links to websites, and even suggest Apps for students to download,” said Mr. Searing.

Another way that students can use the software is to extend learning outside of class through participating in the free online lectures offered through iTunes U. “It’s cool because you can watch free university course lectures online; it gives you an idea of what college lectures are like,” said Bach. Since these video lectures are taken from real courses, it gives the student a window through which to view what a college lecture experience is, thereby helping students prepare for the college lecture hall.

While some may object to the use of iTunes U as a method of augmenting learning beyond the classroom believing there is no need, the mere fact that it provides a way to learn a variety of topics, from math to virology, free of charge, makes it an excellent resource for all students to learn about new topics. The benefits are compounded due to the fact that much of the instruction provided through iTunes U is in the form of lectures at some of the top universities in the world, making them highly interesting and intellectually stimulating. Many of the courses also provide lecture notes and homework assignments, making it an excellent resource for online learning; by the sheer versatility of this tool, it ensures that it is an important resource to extend and enrich learning.

iTunes U adds a unique blend of versatility and utility to distance learning, allowing students to examine into new subject areas that they otherwise would be unable to explore; one can see this particularly clearly in Mr. Searing’s History of the Americas class, to which about 1,100 students subscribe. “Anyone can subscribe to the classes around the world and follow along with what we are studying,” said Mr. Searing. iTunes University provides a free and easy to use method of accessing lectures and classes from around the world that students should take greater advantage of in order to extending learning beyond the classroom and opening doors to whole new fields of interest.