Frequently Asked Questions

Who is running this at the Open University?

The Knowledge Media Institute team in our Centre for New Media has worked hard with the Media team in our Learning and Teaching Solutions division to make this happen quickly and with a launch set of materials that would be distinctive and powerful. Having worked hard on the launch prototype and back-end support systems, KMi will hand over the daily management over to the LTS iTunes team; and things will continue to happen quickly and efficiently. The news story in KMi has a photo of the team who worked towards this launch.

Are we tied into Apple’s iTunes channel?

Exclusivity is a bad thing for openness. So, we will not be tied into this channel, but we will fully exploit its strengths. It is actually very, very cool – especially for mobile users – with iPods or iPhones. However, all our podcasts will be rendered out to a number of different feeds. KMi has created a range of smart back-end services which will handle the liaison between the producers of our materials and the channels we want to reach. That is the bigger project, and will be formally released shortly…

What is the relationship between this and other Open University channels, like OpenLearn?

Check out http://www.open.ac.uk/use to see a little more detail about the channel mix. Yes, iTunes U is just one of a very rich mix!

For instance, our OpenLearn programme is about giving the world some of our excellent materials and working with the world to make this more excellent and free. This initiative is about bringing some cool new services to our current registered students and some of our hottest and current work to a new body of potential students. Apple iTunes has a worldwide audience of maybe 50 million folks – most of whom know nothing about us. So some of those new people will want to engage with our hot courses in this channel and as they become engaged, maybe they go to OpenLearn and pick up some free extra learning context – or maybe they will want to register and join our student body worldwide.

So… how is it going?

We shipped something like 1.4 Terabytes of data to iTunes U consumers in the first couple of weeks. Most users download the entire movie, waiting for the download to finish (which is a good sign of commitment). We are quite hard to find at the moment – so we must work on improving that. AND there is so much more to do…

Check out the link to Statistics to get the complete and open picture of what we are doing…

What next?

This work has just begun.

Check out the research section to see where our research and development work is heading. Indeed, just think of the excellent new things that creative OU folk can do in this new channel, and with the others around it…

Think it and do it.



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