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Senate discusses iTunes U

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, March 19, 2009

Manager for academic technologies Paul Turner presented at Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting about using iTunes U – an offshoot of Apple’s iTunes that publishes materials from top universities – to distribute campus lectures, sporting events and more for free online.

Turner said many prominent universities such as Vanderbilt, Duke and Stanford publish content on iTunes U.

Student government has been working with the administration to create a Notre Dame iTunes U site.

Although there is no official launch date for the site, Turner said the University has a contract with Apple and material lined up to be published. There is already a Web site, itunes.nd.edu, but the links will not be activated until everything is finalized with the Office of the Provost and the Office of Public Affairs.

“ITunes U works like the iTunes store, but the main difference is that we have complete control over brand, content and descriptions,” Turner said. “It’s our content, our brand.”

Turner said the University chose to have a branch of iTunes U available to the public and a branch that is only accessible to students and faculty. The bulk of the material will be in the private sector of the site, he said.

“In my mind, the private site is the students’ site,” he said. “It will be a faculty site, but I want students to have a major impact on what the site looks like and what goes out there.”

The site will feature two buttons, one accessible to the public and one that will require a Notre Dame net ID for access, he said.

Turner said it will be up to faculty to post lecture materials if they choose.

“Our job is to make it easy for those faculty members to record that content,” he said.

Turner said the material in iTunes U will be organized by College, subject matter, semester and topic to make it easier for people to navigate. He said students will have the option of subscribing to topics that interest them.

“You can subscribe to individual Colleges, like Business or Arts and Letters, or even individual sections within the College,” he said.

Student Senator Lauren Cummings asked Turner how students would go about posting content on iTunes U.

Turner said this is a process his team is still examining.

“There’s got to be some level of review. The question is, what’s that level and who does it,” he said. “We really don’t want to be in the content-policing business, but we are worried about copyright infringement.”

The University’s contract with Apple states that all material published on iTunes U must adhere to copyright laws, Turner said.

In other Senate news:

u Student body vice president Grant Schmidt announced both of the Last Lectures, delivered by Professors James McKenna and Carl Ackermann, are available online at the student government Web site.

uStudent Outreach Committee chair Sarah Rodts said the student survey, set to close Wednesday, garnered about 3,500 responses from students. Rodts said the number is down from the last survey student government conducted, so the survey will remain opened until Friday to receive more input.