What is an iTunes U Course?
A course is designed to be accessed using the iTunes U app on a student’s iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Students can take advantage of interactive books, apps, links, documents, videos, podcasts, and more content curated by the instructor and linked to a specific course outline and assignments. Students will also receive push notifications of any updates, new assignments, and new materials added.
Your course should be a media-rich syllabus with assignments inviting students to interact with the material you include. The power of the course depends not only on the quality of the materials but also on the structure of the syllabus and the tasks that you ask students to perform. Tasks should ask students to create as well as consume content.
You can easily curate existing content created by others and build it into your course by uploading the URL where the content “lives” on the web. (This direct linking is necessary to avoid copyright infringement.) You will also upload original materials that you have created.
See Apple’s iTunes U page for more information: http://www.apple.com/education/ipad/itunes-u/
A great tool for selecting the best apps linked to learning standards is Graphite. http://www.graphite.org/search/apps/
Course Snapshot 1: Assignments
In this Spanish I course, the instructor asks students to watch a video, go through an interactive tutorial, and take a quiz to self-assess mastery of one skill. All three materials (video podcast, tutorial, and quiz) are original materials created by the instructor. Subscribe to the full course here.
In this post from a course designed for 2nd grade students, the instructor asks students to read and annotate an instructor-created book, watch a video, review a checklist, and utilize apps to demonstrate understanding. Note: in most cases, instructors try to select free apps, although this one does include a paid app. Subscribe to to the full course, Animals and their Stories.
Course Snapshot 3: Multimedia Texts
Interactive texts can be created by the instructor and included in an iTunes U Course. Using iBooks Author (free software for Mac OSX), the instructor can build video, audio, 3-D models, quizzes, interactive timelines, photo galleries and other elements into a text. Take a book tour to see how a student might experience a multimedia text here. Click here to see a short demo of how highlighting in a text automatically populates the notes section inside the iTunes U course. Both examples come from Literacy Concepts Made Easy. Subscribe to the full course here.
Explore some K-12 iTunes U Courses from Boyne City Public Schools, Foxcroft Academy, and Township High School and subscribe to a few from your iPad so that you can study some models. While many of these are designed as semester-long courses, yours may be more of a unit study on a focused topic within a subject area.
How to Create a Course
You will login to iTunes U Course Manager with your Apple ID to create courses and will share the course link for review. Course Manager has a detailed help section that should guide you through this process. It’s actually easy to use!