This afternoon I opened the iTunes University app on my iPad and found the free “Exploring The Hobbit” course. It’s mostly audio lectures, and looks good for Tolkien fans like yours truly.

I’m particularly interested in seeing, experiencing “as a student,” and analyzing the way iTunesU provides and manages both course “to dos” and assignments. In the graduate courses taught last spring and this fall/spring semester for Western Montana CSPD the University of Montana (working with VisionNet of Montana for videoconferencing bridging), a “checklist app” or website which I could use in my course is something I’ve both wanted and needed. We used Edmodo last year and the Subtext iPad app, but neither (from what I know at this point) can provide the sort of task-based checklist features of iTunesU.

If you’ve taken and/or designed courses in iTunesU, how have you found this task/assignment checklist feature? How does it compare to other learning management systems you’ve used, either as a student or teacher/instructor? Are you aware of standalone checklist apps or websites which can be used for multiple students in a course? I’d like something which (ideally) has an optional Google account login, is free, and lets students both see and individually manage the tasks / to-do’s they have each week in their course.

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3 Responses to Exploring the Hobbit on iTunes University and Course To-Dos

  1. Laura Gibbs says:

    I will be curious how this works now; my concern with iTunesU when I checked it out two years ago was that the interactive features work ONLY with Apple mobile devices – iTunes is not enough; you have to have Apple iOS. Since my students are a mix of Apple and non-Apple users, it’s a no-go for me to invest time in developing content that is platform-restricted like that.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    iTunesU works on both Apple and Windows laptop computers that can install iTunes software. As far as I know, Chromebooks can’t access iTunesU because it’s not web-based. If your students use Android-based tablets or smartphones, I don’t think they can access iTunesU content at all. Developing content within iTunesU makes the most sense when your students are in a 100% iOS mobile 1:1 program or have Mac or Windows laptops running iTunes/iTunesU.

    I’m very aware and sensitive to these issues of accessibility for curriculum too. I’ve addressed this previously in my conference breakout session, “Mobile Apps & Curriculum for Your Class.”

  3. Laura Gibbs says:

    I’ll have to give it a try then. What our Apple rep told us was that the VIDEOS will play at iTunesU, but none of the interactive features (like this checklist) will work without the Apple iOS. You’ve piqued my curiosity to see if things have indeed improved. Thanks for the information!

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