Reviewing the new iTunes U from a student perspective

Since the launch of iTunes U in 2007, more varieties of content have been offered by iTunes U: from audio and video only to PDFs, e-books. Now different types of media can be packaged into a course, which makes iTunes U as a name to be more meaningful.

Soon after the new iTunes U release (January 2012), as a learning technologist, I briefly reviewed the system from a student perspective.

The good and bad:

+ nice and clean interface

+ easy to navigate

+ personalised learning space -library

confusing terminologies: collections, libraries, posts

lack of interactive features

The overall interface inherited Apple’s style: clean, modern and easy to navigate.  However, different terminologies used are a bit confusing: courses, collections, libraries.

Looking at the course level, for example, I had a look “Introduction to Robotics” by Stanford.  It presents a book-like interface, which makes me feel that I am reading an e-book.  Simple and clear navigation allows me to either go through the content step by step or skip to a specific section.  Putting the main navigation buttons (Info, Posts, Materials) on the right of the screen also makes it easier for mobile users.   In terms of personalised learning, the new iTunes U allows me to create my own list of courses to be stored in the library.  Considering the contents in the course, it consists of a set of structured contents including videos, PDFs and web links.  While in e-learning field more people are trying to get away from a static content-based online course, it seems that Apply may have to do more work to make its courses to be interactive and engaging.

What do you think?

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