The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU enters new age with iTunes U launch

With the launch of SMU on iTunes U, the university is making a giant technological leap forward to provide students with media-based content including interviews, video archives, lectures and student-produced videos. In a partnership with Apple Computers, SMU has joined the ranks of Berkeley, Yale and Stanford, among other schools, in providing media content to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The program utilizes the iTunes store, implementing the same user-friendly interface as when purchasing music and videos from the main store. However, in this case, the content is free.

“We know every student familiar with iTunes will already know how to use the system,” said Bob Skinner, associate director of academic computing services.

The system’s interface is not only user-friendly to students, but to faculty members as well.

“[iTunes U] makes it easy for a faculty member to upload content. They click a button, choose a file and it instantly shows up on the program,” said Ian Aberle, manager of multimedia and Web development. The university even provides in-depth training for faculty members who may have reservations toward learning the software.

The program is currently in its infant stages, but still bodes a sizeable amount of content.

“We’re still in a soft launch phase. There’s probably a dozen or so faculty who are currently showcased,” said Aberle.

The amount of content available right now is expected to double by January. In regard to SMU-related content, the student life section currently offers the largest amount of content.

“We have student films from Meadows, campus-produced videos showcasing events, a video archive series, selections from the music department and footage from AARO,” explained Aberle.

Apart from information concerning what’s going on and around campus, iTunes U provides professors with the ability to upload podcasts of lectures and assignments. However, this academic supplement is not meant to keep students from going to class.

“This is not meant to replace or supplant learning in a classroom setting,” said Associate Vice President of Information Technology Services Randall Powell, stressing that the content available on iTunes U is meant to complement in-class lectures.

A majority of the content available on iTunes U, including the aforementioned student life videos, is available to anyone with Apple’s free iTunes software, not just SMU students.

However, for lectures and other class-related content, students must log in to Blackboard in order to gain access to the secure media.

Even though SMU on iTunes U is new to campus, plans are already underway for making the program bigger and better. Future plans include virtual tours available to prospective students, as well as an audio and visual walking tour for use in the Meadows Museum. The walking tour further illustrates the program’s purpose as an enhancement rather than replacement.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful addition to the university,” said Powell. “We’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be done.”

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