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BU: Now Available in Shuffle, Nano, Classic, or Touch

Sports, videos, lectures, and more live on iTunes

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Videos, slide shows, and audio from BU Today, BUniverse, and WBUR can now be downloaded on iTunes.

What do Nobel Prize winners, broomball, National Public Radio, and BU ice hockey have in common? They’re all coming to an iPod near you, thanks to BU’s podcast service, which went live on iTunes earlier this month.

The offerings are part of iTunesU, a menu of podcasts from more than 100 colleges and universities around the world. BU’s page has videos and audio slide shows from BU Today, taped lectures and symposiums from BUniverse, and select programming from WBUR, BU’s NPR member station, along with hockey, lacrosse, and basketball highlights courtesy of BU Athletics. Soon, it will also feature a selection of lectures, lab demonstrations, and multimedia supplements to BU courses.

Visitors can download BU Today videos, watch an address by microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus, catch up on current event coverage from Here & Now or On Point, or even listen to an entire performance of The Barber of Seville by the College of Fine Arts Opera Institute and the BU Chamber Orchestra — all for free. They can also subscribe to the different podcast submenus and have new content automatically sent their way.

BU’s podcasts are about to expand to include course content. That effort is being led by Victor Coelho, associate provost for undergraduate education and chair of the College of Fine Arts musicology department and of the College of Arts and Sciences music department, and Swapna Kumar, a School of Education instructor in the department of curriculum and teaching.

“Students are saying they value podcasts as supplements to the classroom experience,” says Kumar, who has been conducting survey and focus group research on how blogs and podcasts can enhance their classroom experience.

She and Coelho have acquired three portable Echo360 systems that can be installed in classrooms to record video of lectures, discussions, or presentations and automatically upload the digital file.

“We’ll supply the infrastructure and support, working with the Office of Information Technology,” says Coelho. “But iTunesU is designed to be very easy and cost-effective.” He and Kumar are creating an online form for faculty to request podcast advice and support, and they expect significant content to be available by the end of this semester or early in 2009.

“It will be up to the professors to use this or not. It’s a choice, not a mandate,” says Coelho. “But I’ve already heard from many of them, and their interest is piqued.”

To see BU’s offerings on iTunes U, click here, then click on the “Launch iTunes” link in the lower left corner of the page.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.

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