Everything is free on iTunesU

iTunes U: Free Education by Download

Patrick Woods

Regardless of Apple's educational event, interested parties can already find a lot of educational and free content in the iTunes Store. We show recommendations and how iTunes U works.

Knowledge podcasts, learning apps or clever iBooks are no longer insider tips and are very popular. With iTunes, Apple also offers a direct line to many German universities and their content: iTunes U. You can download entire series of lectures here. Free of charge and without having to register for a course. The platform for universities has been online in Germany for around three years.

So far, 18 German universities and technical colleges are represented there, plus a few more from Austria and Switzerland. We will show you the most exciting content and take a look behind this service using the example of a German university.

Behind the scenes at iTunes U

Although there are no standardized forms and formats in this area of ​​the iTunes Store, there are still many educational materials. There are lectures as video or audio, in some cases even supporting material for download. Some faculties have their own formats and report on interesting topics and research in magazine style.

EnlargeUniversities have a profile page on iTunes U, where users can find all content and information about the university.

Content on iTunes U is as easy to use as podcasts. This is also the reason why the Munich Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) relies on iTunes: "In contrast to other providers, the content made available on iTunes U can be easily downloaded and subscribed to on any computer or on portable audio and video devices ", reports Kathrin Bilgeri, press spokeswoman and co-responsible for the" Virtual University "at LMU.

In 2009, Munich University was one of the first universities to be invited by Apple to the pilot program for the European edition of iTunes U. Since then, the university has, according to its own account, collected over twelve million views via iTunes - a significant proportion of these comes from non-students, suspect those responsible. All universities can now apply using a form on Apple's website.

Who is producing these digital lectures for the web? At the LMU, these media are mostly created in the respective departments, so there are no fixed specifications for content in iTunes U. The multimedia team at the "Virtual University" supports the lecturers with advice and technology, and there are often student assistants behind the camera.

The respective seminar leaders decide whether a lecture should be digitized, explains Kathrin Bilgeri: "More and more lecturers are using digitized teaching and learning content as an integral part of their overall educational concept and are increasingly using the podcast portal on iTunes U to make these materials available. "

EnlargeThe iTunes U overview. Apple collects content on certain topics here - but only lectures in English.

If Apple were to launch a platform for digital textbooks or the like, Munich University would also be open to it: "We are fundamentally open to technical aids that have didactic added value and support the lecturers in their projects - regardless of brand or provider. "