All entries for Monday 20 February 2006

February 20, 2006

Michael Feldstein on iTunes U

Michael Feldstein recently paid a visit to Apple to learn about iTunes U, Apple's system for allowing universities to distribute content using iTunes as the infrastructure. He wrote six blog posts on the subject, and collectively they're interesting and insightful:-

What caught my attention about his posts is the idea that iTunes U need not be just about podcast distribution, but could in principle replace an entire VLE (or an LMS - Learning Management System – as they're known in the US):-

If you think about how the majority of classes in the majority of colleges use an LMS, itís primarily as a file sharing utility. Share the syllabus, share the handouts, share the assignments. iTunes U can serve this same purpose better than the typical LMS. You donít have to go through logins and click through multiple screens to find what you want. The content is organized in an easy-to-use, hierarchical offline tool. And if you use RSS feeds, students donít even have to explicitly log in to check for new documents; content is pushed right to their desktops whenever they are online and iTunes is open. As I noted in my last post, iTunes U supports PDFs, so teachers can send text documents as well as sound and video files. iTunes U even has a drop box and a sharing folder, so students can submit content to the teacher or to the class. If you supplement this capability with a discussion board and maybe a shared calendar, then youíve provided pretty much everything that the majority of web-enhanced classes use today. Youíve also greatly diminished the value of licensing a traditional LMS to cover the entire campus.

There's much more there about both the current limitations of Apple's system, and the possibilities it may offer for the future if Apple expand its functionality. Food for thought.


Writing about web page

500KV switch opening, Nevada

Thanks to Max, here's an explanation of what's going on.

Fishing boy

Boy fishing, Boulder, Colorado, Oct 2004

(Click for larger image)

What I originally liked about this image is the stillness of the scene, with the fishing boy the only character in a tranquil landscape. Later, though, I spotted that he was in fact not the only character, and I'd completely missed his friend when I took the photo; somehow that endeared it to me even more.

Camera: Pentax Optio S
Date: October 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Post–processing: Cropped, pushed shadows, pushed saturation.

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