SPRINGFIELD – Students at the University of Illinois at Springfield can now take advantage of the latest technology to listen to a lecture they may not have fully understood the first time in class, sit in on a public event that took place weeks ago, or catch up on how Prairie Stars basketball is doing – even if they're miles away from campus, and even if it's 4 a.m. on a Sunday.
UIS has joined the ranks of educational institutions across the country that are expanding student opportunities by becoming an iTunes U campus. As such, UIS will be able to provide lectures, presentations, or other programs as downloadable files for students and others to access anytime, anywhere.
iTunes U is a free, cross-platform multimedia distribution and learning environment system that provides easy, online access to educational content such as lectures, seminars, and student assignments. Public access recordings from campus activities such as sporting events, news broadcasts, and concerts can also be made available through iTunes U. These files can be downloaded to individual computers (laptop or desktop, Mac or PC); students and others can then listen to and view the files at home, or transfer them to an iPod or other MP3 player for listening or viewing on the go.
Estimates are that 85 percent of college-age individuals now own some type of portable digital media device.
Other colleges and universities that currently belong to iTunes U include Brown University, Duke University, the University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
UIS Provost Harry Berman noted, "Our decision to be an iTunes U campus was based on many positive responses from our faculty and students to course-related podcasts. Additionally, users around the world already subscribe to our public access podcasts. Being a member of iTunes U will greatly expand the visibility of these materials."
A podcast is a digital recording distributed over the Internet for playback on mobile devices or personal computers. Podcasts are distinguished from other digital audio formats in that they can be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading various feed formats.
Since fall 2005, faculty from several UIS programs – including Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Education, English, History, and Management Information Systems – have used podcasts as supplemental material for their courses. Faculty can choose to have their course podcasts restricted to registered students or can make them available to the public.
Public podcasts currently available at UIS on iTunes U include the "Prairie Star Sports Update" and "State Week in Review," a popular program produced by public radio WUIS-WIPA.More information on podcasting at UIS is available at www.uis.edu/podcasting/. To access UIS on iTunes U, go to http://itunes.uis.edu/.