The "iTunes University" described in the the article excerpted below is reminiscent of the "Apple University" of some years ago. Like other visions of "university" built around digital devices that can publish digital content anytime and anyplace, this latest vision from Apple assumes that content is king. The point made in the article by Professor Pea and student Tilma is that interactions about content -- student(s) with instructor and students with students -- and interactions with content (simulations, assessments, and so on) are central to learning because they can engage students. Most students cannot learn solely by listening to content, any more than they can learn solely by reading content.
The time is right to understand how we as instructors can become more productive through the instructional use of digital media and the digital medium (Internet) of communication and resource sharing. Improving instructional productivity means, among other possible formulations, measurably improving student learning while containing the direct per-student-FTE costs of a credit-hour of learning. This blog offers many proven ideas for your productivity considerations.
Ohlone College goes high-tech to pioneer iTunes University
Angela Woodall, San Mateo County Times, May 29, 2006
Ohlone College will jump into the digital revolution in September by making class lectures and other educational content available on iPods, the hand-held devices used for downloading music from the Internet. Ohlone was chosen, along with eight other colleges, to pioneer an Apple Computer program called iTunes University, becoming part of a larger digital trend described by one university as "coursecasting." Educators see the program as a move away from a teacher-led system toward education directed by the students' learning needs. It is "just-in-time learning," said Ralph Kindred, vice president of information technology at Ohlone. Students can access material from anywhere whenever they want it, added Kindred, who is coordinating the iTunes project. ... [Student] Tilma said he likes the iTunes idea and has taken classes that rely heavily on the Internet. But the 22-year-old senior said he also enjoys traditional classroom time because "half of learning is getting the interesting tidbits that pop up during interactions with teachers." It's almost as though the online classes are being forced on students, he said. Roy Pea, a Stanford University professor who has studied technology in education for 25 years, said learning comes from discussing ideas and making sense of them. Devices such as the iPod can be harnessed to support that process, but technology is not a "silver bullet." "When the information is available online, there is no point to being in a class if all a teacher does is lecture," he said. Read more ...