How to Take and Create Courses with iTunes U - dummies

How to Take and Create Courses with iTunes U

By Sam Gliksman

iTunes U is the largest repository of educational course material in the world, and it offers amazing opportunities for anyone to learn from the world’s leading teachers and institutions. More than 1,200 colleges and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts are hosting approximately 2,500 public courses and thousands of additional private courses. It’s also a worldwide phenomenon. More than 60% of iTunes U app downloads are from users outside the United States, and popular courses generate huge enrollments across the world. More than 100,000 students have been signed up for single iTunes U courses at leading universities such as Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT, and Oxford. Course offerings cover a huge variety of topics from Molecular Biology to Greek Grammar.

However, don’t think that courses are only offered by leading schools. Any teacher can create a course that gives students a customized learning experience whether the course is completely online or a blend of physical class meetings with online components. Using the iTunes Course Manager, teachers can manage their course material and enrollments, and students can experience anywhere-anytime course learning through the iTunes U app on their iPads. Here’s how it works.

Enrolling in an iTunes U Course

All you need is an Apple ID to enroll in an iTunes U course. There are two types of courses:

  • Public courses are listed in the iTunes U catalog. Tap the Catalog option in iTunes U to browse and select courses.

  • Private courses require an enroll code that is distributed by the course instructor. Open the iTunes U app and tap the + icon on the top toolbar to enter a code to enroll.

After you subscribe to a course, the course icon is added to your iTunes U bookshelf and you can access it at any time. Courses are automatically updated, and students receive push notifications when any changes and updates are made by the instructor. Students interact with the course in a number of ways:

  • An Info button provides a course description, syllabus outline, and information on the instructor.

  • Posts contain information and assignments distributed by the instructor. Track assignments and due dates and check off assignments as they are completed.

  • Take and organize course notes right within the iTunes app.

Creating an iTunes U Course

To start creating courses, either download the iTunes U app or sign in to iTunes U on the web. Sign in with your Apple ID and then create an Instructor account with a profile, bio, and photo. You’re given access to a dashboard where you can create and manage courses. Courses can be “self-paced” or “in-session” courses. Students can progress through self-paced courses at their leisure. In-session courses have a start and end date, and they also allow instructors to assign due dates for assignments.

Create your new course and add any of the following:

  • Posts can be simple messages or assignments.

  • Assignments can have due dates and attached materials. Materials can include documents, books, apps, video, and more. Create your own materials or link to content on the web or in the public iTunes Course libraries.

  • Materials can be added by up to five designated course contributors.

  • For private courses, Discussions enable you to continue conversations or ask new questions outside of class time.

Use the Share option when you’re ready to distribute the course. You can make it public or keep it private and create an Enroll Code you can give to your students.