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Apple Reboots iTunes U As a Student-Teacher Communication Center

by Adriana Lee | January 19, 2012January 19, 2012 8:07 am PST

Apple iTunes U

No more student-teacher meetings? Piles of papers handed out in class? What if your syllabus, class materials and any ongoing course messages or assignments can be put in one place? That’s what Apple imagined when it created a new version of its iTunes U app, unveiled at the company’s press conference at the Guggenheim in New York City.

This version brings all that info into an iBooks-like experience. So far, iTunes U has been downloaded 700 million times to date, and it was used mostly for lectures. Now it has been reimagined as a school communications center for teachers and students. Users will be able to stream lectures, yes, but will also be able to access and organize assignments, mark completion of homework, receive messages from teachers (with notifications) and keep their syllabi at the touch of their fingers. It can also house info like office hours, teacher info and class overviews.

The goal seems to be to give teachers some user-friendly and effective tools to create and distribute curriculums, hand-out class assignments and even stream live content. For students, there’s also some goodness inside the app, as it lets them receive all their communications in one hub, as well as take notes or even experience courses from right inside. Several universities have already made offerings available from iTunes U, including Yale and Harvard, and more are likely to follow.

iTunes U is a free app and is available immediately for download.

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...