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TC Debuts on iTunes U

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iTunesU

Open to the world - Teachers College joins a growing number of colleges on Apple's iTunes Univeristy store.

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Apple’s public site will feature TC’s scholarship and publicize its mission

Beginning this February, the world will be able to view, listen to, or read about different aspects of the Teachers College experience—on iTunes U. Through the iTunes U site—the academic-oriented section of Apple, Inc.'s iTunes music ‘jukebox’ program—visitors will be able to download an assortment of audio, video and PDF files previously only available on the TC web site. The TC iTunes U site will include an estimated 85 files available at launch—a unique selection of lectures, events and interviews spanning the past five years.

The College’s decision to develop and maintain a site on iTunes U reflects a growing trend; indeed, the popularity of the iPod, Apple’s now-ubiquitous portable music player and the introduction into the vernacular of terms such as ‘podcasts’ and ‘mp3’ owe at least in part to academia’s ready grasp of the potential of these new technologies. “iTunes has a great many users,” says TC’s Larry Furnival, Manager, Academic Computing. “We felt it would be an excellent way to increase the visibility and accessibility of TC’s scholarship and to make the College’s mission and vision explicit for people across the country.”

TC’s Campaign for Educational Equity is already using TC’s iTunes U site to showcase lectures from its most recent Equity Symposium. This past October, Jessica Garcia, the Campaign’s Manager for Communications and Outreach, worked with TC’s Office of the Web to coordinate the recording and distribution of lectures during the Symposium, which focused on the changing role of U.S. courts in promoting educational equity. In order to accommodate the recording and subsequent uploading of audio to iTunes U during the event, Web specialists Paul Acquaro and Cameron Fadjo developed a system called ‘near-time podcasting’. This system involved preparing the audio introductions for each lecture before the event and then merging and uploading the lectures with the pre-recorded audio to iTunes—a technique that makes it possible to offer lectures to the world less than an hour after they have been conducted.

“People were very excited to hear that we were going to offer the Symposium on iTunes,” says Garcia. “We got calls from people in North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky; folks who knew that they weren’t going to be able to make it to the Symposium and who were just enthused about being able to download the lectures.” Garcia also says that she’s received feedback from other institutions about the podcasts.

“The main benefit to using iTunes is that it keeps on giving and it keeps promoting your work and your ideas,” she says.

Visitors to http://itunes.tc.columbia.edu will be able to access the public area of TC’s iTunes U site. In the near future, a non-public section for course-related and research materials will be made available to registered students, faculty and researchers. As of this publication, individuals within TC are being trained to produce, edit and load audio and video files to the site. These individuals, called iTunes U Specialists, will be available to support this initiative college-wide by aiding in the development process. The non-public area of iTunes U will allow faculty at TC to upload audio, video and PDF files associated with their class or research group. People accessing these materials will log in using their Columbia UNI and password.
 
For more information, please visit http://itunes.tc.columbia.edu.
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