5 Reasons iTunes U is Better than College [Apple in Education] | Cult of Mac

5 Reasons iTunes U is Better than College [Apple in Education]


Apple in Education

It’s Education Week on CultofMac.com. How’s Apple doing in schools these days? What are the best education apps? Is iTunes U worthwhile? Join us as we learn more about Apple in Education.

Launched in 2007, Apple’s iTunes U is a powerhouse of knowledge. Currently more than 800 international universities maintain active sites and the digital library houses some 350,000 free lectures, videos, films and other resources available for download on the iTunes store.

Here are five reasons iTunes U is better than actually going to college. (And we’re only joking a little.)

1. Affordability
The courses on iTunes are all offered gratis, so if you already have computer and a decent internet connection, your costs are minimal.

Faster, more reliable internet service lets you watch the video lectures with ease, providing a more immersive experience that just reading. You can either stream or download the videos (more on that below).

Even with a so-so internet connection, you can still get a lot out of it. iTunes U also offers course syllabi, lecture outlines, study guides, notes, maps – even entire books.

To sum it up: iTunes U is a great place to get some learning with out the hurting of student loans.

2. Quality of Materials
If you’ve always wanted to attend Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Yale or Stanford, iTunes U gives you that chance. Some of the most prestigious unis around the world put courses and lectures on iTunes U.

Currently about half of the active schools (circa 400) — including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and UC Berkeley — distribute their content publicly on the iTunes Store.

That means you can take that latest iPhone developer course from Stanford and make that killer app happen. Or pick up cooking skills or brush up on a language from some of the top learning institutions worldwide.

And, sure, while it’s not the same as being able tack that coveted piece of paper on the wall, you can still chat about that lecture from biologist David Robinson who takes iTunes U students to the Galapagos Islands in his video for Open University.

3. Diversity of Offerings
Your college catalog was never this sexy.  Choose from a tempting seven-part series about science and cooking from School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard or a 40-minute-rundown from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute on how to write a business plan.

There’s also a 27-part-series on How to Read Tolkien from Washington University and a course on Classics in Discussion  from the University of Warwick with sessions on Sex and the Ancient Word and Drinking parties in Ancient Greece.

The best part: you can go from honing your management skills to visiting the Mummy Chamber of the Brooklyn Museum without any flack from an impatient advisor about choosing a major.

4. Scheduling Flexibility
No 8 a.m. classes. No 7 p.m. classes. Unless you want them, of course.

You can either stream or download the courses from iTunes U., which puts you in the driver’s seat. We recommend downloading (either all at once or subscribing much like a podcast) over streaming for the video lectures,  since the video controls are minimal. If you get a phone call in the middle of class, you could end up having to watch it again from the beginning.

Downloading also gives you the option of keeping track of the courses you follow and loading them on another device for some brain food during your next business trip or vacation.

5. Lifestyle Tolerance
Apple bills iTunes U as “the campus that never sleeps.” That means you can listen to lectures in your pjs, with a glass of wine in hand, a baby in your lap, or in any altered state you choose. Try doing that on a brick-and-mortar campus today.

What’s your experience (if any) with iTunes U?  Let us know in the comments.


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