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Welcome to “iTunes University!"

Nahla Benslama's picture

Have you ever considered e-learning or distance education? If not yet, then what about an absolutely free e-learning from the most prestigious Anglo-Saxon universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford, Yale University, Boston College, and even some top French schools and universities such as HEC Paris, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Mines Nantes, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne…?

This great deal is offered to you by iTunes, the software with endless functions, which created a recent component called “iTunes University” (more commonly called “iTunes U”), initiated by MIT and part of the opencourseware, aiming to enable free access for everybody to lectures and courses of the most prestigious universities in the world.  It particularly targets curious and dynamic English speakers looking to enhance their knowledge in areas of interest, whether they are students wishing to complete their courses or simply passionate and curious people who want to experience—or re-experience—the intellectual excitement provided by learning new pieces of knowledge.

To access the videos of these courses and lectures available on iTunes U, first go to the iTunes Store and then click on "iTunes U" in the left frame. Yes, it’s that easy! You can then explore the hundreds of courses available there, covering different fields as wide as business, engineering, literature, history, science, mathematics, physics, language, humanities, nanotechnology and biotechnology, health and medicine, architecture, social sciences, education ... and many other interesting areas of knowledge, again all accessible for free, and most of the time taught by industry “heavyweights.”

I personally consider “iTunes U” as a revolution in the field of distance education because it introduces a whole wave of democratization regarding access to prestigious universities which were previously reserved only for the “elite.”

Of course, learning online through these courses will not give you “directly” a degree, but it is at least a very interesting and accessible way to learn and share knowledge in a free manner regardless of your educational status or professional standing. This educational initiative is also particularly interesting for persons who cannot afford to pursue their undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degree for multiple reasons and who want to gain valuable and relevant knowledge from professional and noteworthy people teaching in top universities worldwide in order to enhance their understanding potential and to achieve, somehow, a “virtual degree” from the educational background provided by this online university.

One of the most exciting videos of lectures available on “iTunes U”—that I personally enjoyed watching—is the video of MIT physics course taught by Professor Walter Lewin, or “MIT Physics’ Rockstar,” who is so successful in giving incredible demonstrations mixed with humor to his students. Here is a sample of Prof. Lewin’s best moments:

Indeed, technology is making education more accessible and more fascinating than ever! I think “iTunes U” is leading the path for other educational software aiming to enable people to have an easier access to education, to raise their knowledge and awareness potential, and—who knows—to give them the possibility to earn a “real” degree in the future.

Have you ever experienced e-learning? What do you think about “iTunes U”? Share your personal experience using it or any other similar educational software for distance learning!

Comments

Submitted by Mehkta on
Yes, iTunesU is indeed a wonderful tool for learning as it gives access to anyone without the advantage to sit in a classroom and get in top universities). As you pointed, although the virtual audience may not be granted real academic degrees, but they may have reached the learning objectives of the course offered in that university, through learning via iTunes. In that case, this made me ponder; since putting "iTunesU" on resume doesn't sound right, then how should job searchers present themselves to employers that they acquire certain competencies the employers might look for --although they are without certain degrees.

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