OER1156 Oral Presentation ppt

Thursday 12 May 11.30 Breakout Room 6

Is iTunes U a successful model of Open Educational Resource distribution?

Terese Bird, University of Leicester, Beyond Distance Research Alliance

Conference Theme: OER strategy and sustainability

Abstract: iTunes U is a subset of the iTunes store, enabling universities and other learning institutions to make available free learning materials in text, audio, and video formats. It launched in 2007 for US universities and 2008 for UK universities; to date, 16 UK universities have joined. Universities do not pay for their iTunes U site, but they supply the server space, content, and manpower to produce and store content. In August 2010 Apple reported downloads had topped 300 million.
By most reckoning, iTunes U is not a true Open Educational Resource (OER) repository. However, it is a successful and apparently sustainable channel of OER. Apple clears the first batch of material submitted by each university, and thus encourages a level of quality assurance which should be beneficial for both university (enhanced reputation) and user (perceiving that material is of high quality). Yuan, MacNeill, and Kraan (2008) include iTunes U in the category of "OER Tools and Services" and an example of "Open Educational Resource Initiatives."
Arguments against iTunes U's inclusion in the OER discussion include the fact that it requires software other than a browser, that iTunes does not run on Linux, and that it is controlled by a large corporation.  And yet it may be the last point in particular which is iTunes U’s strongest point. Apple has something to gain from the success of iTunes U. The end result is that a large corporation is supporting the sustained distribution of OER. Additionally, iTunes U directly feeds content to mobile devices. As learning becomes more mobile, iTunes U may be ideally positioned in a way that conventional OER repositories are not.
This presentation will discuss the positives and negatives of iTunes U as an OER distribution channel, evaluate how iTunes U and its learning materials are being used, and future-gaze regarding its sustainability, direction, and impact.

Keywords: itunes u; mobile learning; mobile devices; corporation; apple


iTunes U http://www.apple.com/uk/pr/library/2010/08/24itunes.html

Yuan, L., MacNeill, S., Kraan, W. (2008) Open Educational Resources – Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education, Educational Cybernetics: Reports 2008, 35. Retrieved from wiki.cetis.ac.uk http://bavatuesdays.com/5-reasons-i-dont-like-itunesu/