OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Apple of My i(TunesU)?

Apple made some sort of announcement today revolutionising everything, reinventing everything, or something…

The OU may have been in the presentation as part of the story to date or as part of the story to come…

OU gets a mention then at #appleed announcement?

…but I couldn’t tell from a quick trawl of related OU sites…(http://www.open.ac.uk/itunes redirects to http://www.open.edu/itunes/ but there’s no “news” there, http://www.open.ac.uk/itunesu 404s, and there’s nothing (yet?) on the OU media release page (note that http://www.open.ac.uk/press 404s). http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ has no news, nor does http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/ . The community site http://www.open.ac.uk/platform/ has, err, no news I can see, except maybe providing a bit of balance?!;-)

OU platfrom on itunesu/ibooks announcement day

(Will Android users be invited in to the new world order? Hmm..and I wonder, does the iTunesU stuff come with “free” DRM to protect the user….?[IT's been pointed out to me in comments that iTunesU is DRM free... Still worth checking round the various iTunesU and iBook Author license conditions though...])

To show solidarity with the often (incorrectly perceived as) flakey nature of academic computery related things, Apple adopted sector standards in terms of dynamic page building (“an error occurred”):

iBooks Author - an error occurred...

And link checking:

I follow a link on iTUnesU app preview page and what do i get...?
I follow a link on iTUnesU app preview page and what do i get…?

Good stuff…

[Related: from Patrick McAndrew, iBook Author – is it OER incompatible?]

PS I don’t have an iPad, or an iPhone, my Mac is running an O/S two versions old, and my iPod touch is first generation. So presumably I won’t be able to try any of the new stuff out anyway?

PPS I’m a little intrigued as to why http://open.edu redirects to http://www.open.ac.uk/ but http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn redirects to http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ and http://www.open.ac.uk/itunes redirects to http://www.open.edu/itunes/ The university wide top level navigation on the .edu site also leads in to open.ac.uk pages, but then there is no browseable way back to the .edu site?

PPPS nice to see the iBooks Author app is “free”… you need a Mac with the latest O/S of course; and an iPad for the best reading experience. £1k should get you started, if you have the educational discount. Bargain. Free’s nice, isn’t it?:-)

Written by Tony Hirst

January 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Anything you want

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5 Responses

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  1. iTunes U is not DRM’d, no.

    Will a similar system come to Android? I guess the question is, do Google care enough to create something similar.

    Mr. C.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

  2. @Mr_C That’s interesting… I noticed Pearson and McGraw Hill branding in one of the images around the news today, which is partly what made me think of DRM…

    Tony Hirst

    January 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm

  3. Would guess they’re involved in new iBooks (which does use DRM). iTunes U is simply an RSS feed of assets (PDF, Video, Audio).

    This kinda thing: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewCourse?id=495057630&s=143444

    There’s an in-built testing system, that I haven’t looked into. Not sure how you mark scores or anything, but that may have some kind of securing built-in.

    Mr. C.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

  4. There has never been DRM in iTunesU – I can’t imagine they’d start adding it now. And the .ibook format is apparently just epub 3, so it should be possible to view the books elsewhere (once epub 3 readers are available) – not sure how that’d work, though. I exported a sample book, and it installs and views just fine via the web, without going near iTunesU or the iBookstore.

    D'Arcy Norman

    January 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    • @D’Arcy okay, that’s encouraging… I was maybe over-reacting to the uncritical love that was flowing…

      Tony Hirst

      January 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm


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