Mason Now Offers iTunes U Program

Posted: November 26, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

Still playing just music on that iPod? Ptshhhhh!! That’s soooo 2006.

Not everyone you see walking around campus with wires dangling from their ears is listening to music. Believe it or not, they could be listening to something educational.

These days, opportunities for learning are extending outside of the classroom and into portable electronics.

Mason recently entered into a two-year contract with Apple for iTunes U, a service for institutions to manage a wide range of audio, video and PDF content. Now, more students can begin using their iPods and MP3 players for more educational purposes.

Mason joins the ever-growing number of universities using iTunes U as a means to distribute digital course materials and university content to its student body, as well as a worldwide audience. More than half of the nation’s top 500 schools are already on board.

“Participation in iTunes U enables Mason to be listed among many of the nation’s top schools participating in a movement to enhance learning through online education,” says Paras Kaul, Mason’s director of web communications. “Students have the ability to reinforce their classroom experience by reviewing course lectures online, which is often more effective than traditional methods of study.”

With the many features of iTunes U, faculty, staff, students and alumni can easily use new media tools to access content such as digitally recorded lectures, movies, music and images. It also allows the user to manage, distribute and control access to Mason educational audio and video content using Apple’s iTunes Store.

This form of podcasting – making audio files available for users to access on their computers or MP3 players – allows education to become more portable. Though it is not intended to replace classroom instruction, podcasting offers another form of educational delivery.

Podcasts created and submitted within the iTunes U system can be either open access to the public or controlled access limited to individuals with current Mason IDs. In the coming years, Mason will integrate podcasting within course management tools, allowing faculty to restrict access to students enrolled in a specific class.

With the permission of their instructor, students may also create and distribute podcasts using iTunes U resources if it is part of a course assignment.

The Instructional Resource Center (IRC) and the STAR Center offer training to assist course instructors in producing their own podcasts. The centers have software, computers and how-to guides to create podcasts.

To access or subscribe to a current Mason podcast:

  • Browse to the Podcasting at Mason web site

  • Follow the link to the online repository of podcasts and enter your Mason e-mail user name and password

  • Select the podcast you would like to access

  • Click “play” to hear the podcast and “subscribe” if you wish to have the podcast regularly delivered to your computer

To access Mason at iTunes U, go to podcasting.gmu.edu. There is no charge to listen to podcasts from the Podcasting at Mason web site if you have a current Mason ID.

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