Apple made a big splash in NYC in January when it announced an improved iTunes U application. Once simply a section of the iTunes store, Apple relaunched iTunes U as a dedicated app for iOS devices. As Phil Schiller, a senior vice president at Apple, explained, iTunes U courses enable “anyone anywhere at any time to take courses for free.”
iTunes U expanded by adding new features to simplify course management. In doing so, Apple went head-to-head with existing learning management systems like Blackboard. Using the iTunes U software platform, K-12 and higher education instructors can manage entire courses; instructors can post class announcements, material in various formats, homework, and class information. At the time of the announcement, iTunes U already had 1000 universities using it and 700 million downloads.
Following the announcement, many suggested that iTunes U would be the future of college education—the de facto platform that would give any student, anywhere, access to high quality education material. Considering all the hype about this great product, why is it that the country’s top universities have instead decided to take a different approach to online learning?