Emory Report
October 27, 2008
Volume 61, Number 9

Tune in
Learn more about Emory on iTunes U, including how to contribute content, at: itunes.emory.edu.



Emory Report homepage  

October 27
, 2008
iTunes U debut opens virtual front door

By kim urquhart

From lectures by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama to readings from Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, the world can now connect to Emory’s professors and presenters through hundreds of audio and video downloads at Emory on iTunes U.

“Imagine having access to learn from the best minds at Emory whenever you like. Combine that with a larger site that aggregates and provides access to the brightest minds from top institutions around the world. That is iTunes U,” says Emory’s iTunes U system administrator Shannon O’Daniel.

iTunes U is accessed as part of Apple Inc.’s iTunes Music Store. It features free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more from top institutions and cultural organizations. Anyone can learn whenever they want, from wherever they are, on an iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC.

Students and Emory organizations have already been using the internal iTunes U site to access course materials, presentations and other resources, averaging 1,200 downloads per week. This semester, 30 active academic courses and more materials are offered to students, faculty and staff through “Exclusively Emory.”

Emory’s public site will go live Oct. 28 with more than 800 tracks in 42 album collections. Ranging from academic and research materials to news and events, visiting learners can find consumer health information in collections like Mini Medical School, or tune in to Carlos Conversations, a series of podcasts that explores works of art in the Carlos Museum. Alumni can reminisce with Emory Glee Club tracks from the 1960s, and fans of Salman Rushdie can listen to his interviews as Emory’s Distinguished Writer in Residence.

One collection that is “distinctly Emory” are the language resources available through the Emory College Language Center. “We believe we have the largest collection of materials supporting language acquisition,” says O’Daniel. “We offer introductory and advanced materials from Emory professors in eight languages, and more to come.”

The tracks are easy to access by anyone with an Internet connection and the iTunes software, which is free for Macs and PCs. “If you have a portable device you can take these files with you, and the iTunes application makes this content very easy to organize and manage,” says O’Daniel.

Users have the option to “subscribe” to the program or course. “Once you subscribe to a collection, any new materials posted are automatically downloaded to your iTunes library,” says O’Daniel. “Think of it as that magazine in your mailbox every week or month.”

Building Emory on iTunes U was a team effort, says O’Daniel, who noted that departments, divisions and campus organizations have spent a year collecting and digitizing content. Opportunities for faculty, staff and student groups to contribute will be ongoing.

Wendy Darling, who produces audio and video content for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, says it is easy to post to iTunes U. “We see iTunes U as another way to reach people, to share our content with people who might not have found it otherwise,” she adds.

Jan Gleason, executive director of University marketing, agrees. “iTunes U is a way to create content that meets people’s needs,” simply one more distribution channel to bring greater visibility and recognition to Emory as a regional, national and international leader in higher education.

Emory plans to add more content as the school year progresses. “The site is in its infancy,” says O’Daniel. “It’s very exciting to have so much terrific content already, the growth is going to be exponential.”