iTunes U puts the power of the iTunes Store to work for colleges, universities, and other education organizations, so users can easily search, download, and play education content just like they do music, movies, and TV shows. This guide describes how you, as an instructor or course manager, can organize and manage iTunes U courses and course content.
This section provides an overview of iTunes U, including the system requirements, formats, and components that make up an iTunes U site and how to get started using your institution’s iTunes U site.
Apple shares common goals with education—to advance teaching, learning, and research through innovation, and to engage and empower students. Students, as well as instructors and staff, expect a campus environment that accommodates their digital lifestyle, adapts to their individual learning and teaching needs, and encourages collaboration and teamwork. iTunes U provides a way to meet all these expectations.
Based on the same easy-to-use technology as the iTunes Store, iTunes U features Apple simplicity and portability and is designed as a service for institutions to manage a broad range of audio, video, and PDF content, and to make it available quickly and easily to students, instructors, staff, alumni, and, optionally, the public.
iTunes U offers an experience similar to using the iTunes Store. In fact, because iTunes U pages are displayed within the iTunes application itself, just like iTunes Store pages, navigating within iTunes U is much like navigating within the iTunes Store. For information on how to use iTunes or the iTunes Store, in iTunes, choose Help > iTunes Help.
With iTunes U, users can access educational content, including lectures and interviews, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Users can browse content and download it to their computers, Mac or PC, regardless of their location. They can then listen to and view that content on their computers or transfer the content to an iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV for listening or viewing on the go.
With the iTunes U easy-to-use interface and web services, instructors and staff can easily post, change, and share content on their own without impacting their IT department. Instructors can also set a page to allow students to upload their own content for review or to share with other students in the class.
iTunes U fits seamlessly into your existing technologies and systems, allowing your site administrator to use your existing web-based infrastructure to provide access to your iTunes U site.
iTunes U requires iTunes version 6.0 or later for Mac and Windows. Apple recommends using iTunes version 7 and, in order to guarantee a consistent user experience, always using the latest version of iTunes.
iTunes U works with most modern, standards-compliant browsers. Apple recommends using one of the following browsers:
Safari 2.0 or later on Mac
Internet Explorer 6.0 or later on Windows
Note: Internet Explorer on Windows may have performance limitations when uploading files. For more information, see the Microsoft Help and Support Site at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329781.
iTunes U supports the distribution of compressed audio and video files. Apple recommends using the following formats for your iTunes U audio and video content:
Audio files (AAC, MP3) with appropriate file extensions (.m4a, .mp3). For best results during playback, Apple recommends converting MP3 files greater than 32 megabytes (MB) to AAC format. For AAC audio files, Apple recommends the following specifications:
Audio Format: Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC (Music)
Data Rate: Up to 160 Kbps
Channels: Stereo in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov formats
Output Sample Rate: 48 kHz
Encoding Quality: Better
Video files (MPEG-4 with H.264 compression) with appropriate file extensions (.mp4, .m4v, .mov). For best results with iPod, Apple recommends using MPEG-4 with H.264 compression with the following specifications:
Video Format: MPEG-4 with H.264
Data Rate: Up to 1.5 Mbps
Image Size: 640 x 480 pixels
Frame Rate: 30 frames per second
Key Frame: Every 24 frames
Audio Tracks: Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps
You can also use iTunes U to distribute Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
If you are using QuickTime to create and edit video content, it is recommended that you export your videos by choosing “Movie to iPod” from the Export pop-up menu in QuickTime Pro.
Note: Some MP3 audio files, specifically ID3 version 1.x tagged files, have known issues displaying track artwork information. To use specific artwork with these audio files, Apple recommends either converting the files to MP3 files tagged as ID3 version 2.4 or converting the files to the AAC file type format (.m4a).
See “Adding Content” for information on uploading these files types to your iTunes U site. For details on preparing content, see Creating Content for iPod + iTunes located at http://www.apple.com/support/itunes_u.
To organize a Course page and upload content, you, as the instructor or course manager, need to log in to your institution’s iTunes U site.
Your site administrator should provide you with your login information and instructions.
See the sections later in this guide for information on Course pages and groups, preparing content, customizing a Course page, adding content, controlling user access, and more.
When you have finished making changes to the Course page and adding all your course content, click End Editing in the Tools area of your Course page.
iTunes U applies changes on an ongoing basis, not only after you click End Editing. Other users of the Course page see changes immediately after you make each change.
Click Logout in the Tools area to log out of your iTunes U site.
© 2008 Apple Inc. All Rights Reserved. (Last updated: 2008-04-29)