Go Back to School — on Your iPod
iTunes U brings BU lectures, videos, and sports straight to your screen| From Commonwealth | By Amy Laskowski
Alums can see what goes on backstage at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, learn the ergonomically correct way to wear a backpack, and watch BU professors debating the future of newspapers — all on their iPods or at their desktops.
In September, BU partnered with Apple’s iTunes software to offer a free online collection of videos and slide shows from BU Today, the news and information Web site of Boston University, as well as taped lectures and symposiums, programming from WBUR radio, and sports highlights. The program, called iTunes U, is also available at more than 100 other colleges and universities across the country.
“This program is great because it’s on demand — you can download it to your iPod and listen to it while driving or at the gym,” says Swapna Kumar, a School of Education instructor in the department of curriculum and teaching. As a teaching tool, “it’s very powerful because it reinforces what students are learning and discussing.”
Other content available for download on iTunes U includes WBUR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook; a lecture by Andrew Bacevich, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of international relations, about presidential campaigns during wartime; and the latest men’s and women’s ice hockey highlights. (Content from BU Today, WBUR, and BU Athletics can also be viewed — but not downloaded — on YouTube by searching under those names.)
And that’s just the beginning. Soon, recorded lectures, lab demonstrations, and supplemental course content will all be available to download from iTunes U, adding a new dimension to the learning experience. Bringing iTunes U into the classroom is a project spearheaded by Kumar and Victor Coelho, BU’s associate provost for undergraduate education.
Professors are excited, Coelho says, and the University plans to choose the courses that best engage students and alums. “There’s so much that could be done with this program,” he adds. ”We want to show the world what takes place at BU.”
To access iTunes U, download the free iTunes software from Apple, if you don’t already have it. Then connect to BU’s iTunes Web site at www.bu.edu/iTunes and click “Launch iTunes” in the bottom left corner of the page to view and download the content.