Some students have the opportunity to catch yesterday’s lecture on their own time. The department of academic technologies has organized Boise State podcasts on iTunes U and students can listen to previous lectures to catch up on information or learn something new.
Eric Orton, coordinator of instructional design and digital fluency services in academic technologies, is the administrator and project manager for developing Boise State on iTunes U.
Boise State on iTunes U houses podcasts created by faculty, staff and students at Boise State. Most podcasts are associated with particular courses taught at Boise State. Some podcasts include those from student and alumni organizations, podcasts from Boise State media outlets and podcasts from campus offices and facilities.
iTunes U began in 2008 through a grant given to the University by the state called The Technology Incentive Grant.
Most of the content currently on iTunes U is recorded lecture posted by professors for students.
“I think it’s a great tool for students. There are people that may not be able to attend the class at the scheduled time and it allows them to time shift,” said Jeff Anderson, professor in respiratory care who uses Boise State on iTunes U to post lectures for his students.
“I secretly think it is also a cure for insomnia. Students who can’t sleep can just play my lecture and go right to sleep,” Anderson joked.
Thomas Turco, a lecturer in the community and environmental health department, also posts his lectures to iTunes U.
“It gives you a lot of flexibility and it is a permanent record,” said Turco. “I have one student living in Japan and another living in Tennessee that is able to take my classes because of these programs.”
The site is currently managed through the department of Academic Technologies, but the department is hoping to expand that administration in order to allow for the opportunity to involve numerous campus organizations. This would allow other departments on campus to manage their own internal podcasts and bring more participants to the site.
Boise State on iTunes U is completely free and users do not need an iPod to listen. However, users do need to download the free iTunes software in order to access Boise State on iTunes U. Students and faculty can access the private podcasts by logging in with their BroncoWeb username. Some content is available to the public without a login.
“One of the advantages of iTunes U is that you don’t have to be enrolled in the class to watch a presentation; it is available to anyone,” Turco said.
While the site presents numerous advantages, it has its disadvantages as well.
“On the management side, it’s kind of a pain to work with because it is difficult to maneuver files. You have think ahead and load your content in sequence,” Turco said.
Students and faculty can access iTunes U by going to itunesu.boisestate.edu/.