For centuries, the idea of higher education has conjured images of diligent scholars poring over dusty tomes of Latin and Greek; over the past few decades, through the power of global connectivity, education has evolved into something as fast-paced, urgent and direct as the outside world itself.
iTunes U, the Apple platform for sharing educational material, fully embodies and represents this transition. From the lectures of premier Yale professors to e-books summarizing the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, iTunes U’s range of materials brings the concept of a university education into the 21st century.
Students from universities all over the world can benefit from the kinds of resources that once were available exclusively to students at top schools; iTunes U even offers Open Yale Courses, a service that allows anyone to follow along with curriculum of a Yale University course for a do-it-yourself Ivy League education.
Not all the best content necessarily comes out of the Ivy League, of course; one of the currently popular academic lectures covers basic math and comes from Pauline Chow, professor at Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania. Her lecture simplifies solving linear equations in algebra. Other iTunes U lectures similarly help students to break complex ideas and processes down in ways that turn otherwise difficult topics into clear, intelligible ideas. For instance, a student struggling in philosophy class might benefit from Oxford University’s popular series explaining Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.
Instructors also benefit from the “iTunes university”. With virtually limitless resources only a quick keyword search away, they can find high-quality, accurate and compelling content specific to their courses and lectures. For instance, a science instructor wishing to explain black holes can have his or her students learn from the best: namely Edmund Bertschinger and Edwin Taylor, two MIT professors who co-host a popular iTunes U series on black holes.
iTunes U, however, is not just designed for students and professors already in the university system. As a platform open to all, iTunes U offers a great deal of content geared toward the general public or non-academics looking to brush up on practical skills. Some of iTunes U most popular materials deal with topics ranging from understanding and dealing with depression to developing successful iPhone applications. Many lectures deal with work-related topics, such as Stanford University’s popular series Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders and the Poynter Institute’s What Great Bosses Know.
With resources that help shape not only their actual skills but also their confidence in all aspects of life, from work and school to interpersonal relationships, lifelong learners benefit from iTunes U’s array of offerings. University teachers and instructors benefit from iTunes U’s devotion to education for education’s sake, rather than to just to the credentials that higher education provides for them.
If you are interested in checking out some of the digital learning material provided by iTunes U, check out our free online classes page.