The Open University Offers Free Education Content on iTunes U in the ITunes Store

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The Open University joins Stanford, MIT, Yale and other world-class universities in publishing materials via Apple's iTunes U service.

Making available selected video and audio items from among the University's highly-rated course materials via iTunes U to audiences worldwide offers a new channel for the University. We can open up free access to educational resources as well as a window for our potential students.

The Open University today joins Stanford, MIT, Yale and other world-class universities in publishing materials via Apple's iTunes U service. As of Tuesday 3rd June leading course materials are available for free download via Open University on ITunes U. More than 300 video and audio files drawn from current courses across the University's broad curriculum are now available to download for playing on a Mac, PC, iPod or iPhone.

Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at The Open University, said: "Making available selected video and audio items from among the University's highly-rated course materials via iTunes U to audiences worldwide offers a new channel for the University. We can open up free access to educational resources as well as a window for our potential students."

Science, the arts, technology and computing, humanities and the environment are all among the subject areas featured. The range of courses and content has a global reach and feel as befits an international launch - Venice, Paris and Istanbul for Art History; Sierra Leone for an in-depth exploration of the issues of a country recovering from bloody civil war; the complex problem of the US-Mexican border which is a major case study for a course on globalisation; to Lake Baikal in Central Asia to understand the environmental impact of industrialisation in post-Soviet Russia; the far East for world religions.
At the other end of the scale, there are cows that choose when to get themselves milked by robots; a researcher pushing the boundaries of human computer interactions using implants; the world of mathematical modelling and the way societies over the centuries have understood and used maths; an ecology field trip in the English uplands, and the sumptuous funerary setting of medieval England's richest man, Richard Beauchamp.

Today marks just the beginning of an ambitious programme of development by the OU. More video and audio material will be made available to reach a target of 500 items drawn from 50 OU courses by the end of July. The University also plans to extend the range of items beyond course materials to include some of its research activities. The site can be found at open.ac.uk/itunes
Transcripts of all the audio and video items are also available for download, offering yet another way to access OU content on iTunes U. "Accessibility of our materials for students with disabilities is central to the OU's mission. Because of the nature of our distance teaching materials we are probably uniquely placed to respond efficiently to these needs in the iTunes U environment," said Professor Kirkpatrick.

iTunes U offers access to educational content from some of the world's leading universities and colleges, and today The Open University joins those institutions making its materials available for discovery by anyone with iTunes and an internet connection.
"The University continues to strive to widen access to its educational resources and I am confident that our participation in iTunes U will make its own contribution to meeting this aim," said Professor Kirkpatrick.

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