Apple announces updates to iTunes U, says 30,000 Multi-Touch books have been created with iBooks Author

Apple today announced updates to iTunes U, bringing educators and students new tools to build and experience educational content on iPad. Beginning July 8, teachers using the free iTunes U app can create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time, and students will discover new ways to collaborate including the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right from their iPad.

“Education is at the core of Apple’s DNA and iTunes U is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers and students,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a statement. “iTunes U features an amazing selection of academic materials for everyone around the world. Now, with the ability to better manage and discuss educational content, learning becomes even more personalized on iPad.”

The new in-app updates to iTunes U give teachers full course creation capabilities on iPad, with the ability to directly add rich content and learning materials from iWork, iBooks Author or any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad. Taking advantage of the built-in camera on iPad, teachers can also capture photos and videos to incorporate real-world subject matter into any course, making relevant content available to all students in an instant.

“iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad,” said Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland, in a statement. “By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.”

Students using iPad and enrolled in private iTunes U courses will now have everything they need to fully collaborate with their classmates and teachers. With Discussions in the iTunes U app, students can automatically follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up push notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can participate in forums too, and have the ability to moderate discussions by removing any off-topic messages or replies.

“Discussions in iTunes U puts the potential for thoughtful exploration and collaboration into the hands of every one of our students,” said Larry Reiff, a teacher from Roslyn High School in New York, in a statement. “iPad and iTunes U continue to provide students with the tools they need to build knowledge and demonstrate their learning.”

iTunes U helps educators create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and more for millions of iOS users around the world. With over 750,000 individual learning materials available on the iTunes U app, iTunes U is the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent organizations. Today, thousands of educational institutions are hosting over 7,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more.

Educators can create iTunes U courses in 69 countries and make their courses and educational content accessible via the iTunes U app in 155 countries. In addition to the thousands of individual iTunes U learning materials found on the iTunes Store, over 500,000 apps designed specifically for iPad are now available on the App Store. Additionally, with the free iBooks Author app on the Mac App Store, nearly 30,000 Multi-Touch books have been created by independent teachers and publishers worldwide.

Source: Apple Inc.

Related articles:
Apple expands worldwide access to iBooks Textbooks and iTunes U educational content – January 21, 2014
Apple’s iTunes U content passes one billion downloads milestone – February 28, 2013
Apple’s iBooks Author lets Mac users build astounding texts – February 13, 2012
USA Today’s Baig: Apple scores with iPad textbooks and iBooks Author for Mac – February 2, 2012


  1. iBooks Author is a broken promise piece of software. Not having a standard method for creating interoperable rich content in the eBook space will prevent eBooks from ever realizing their full potential.

    You can design a print book in many different ways. To the user they are transparent. the same needs to be done in the epub space.

    1. Total BS. Apple seems to be the only company at all concerned with furthering the dead end so called “standards” and creating rich learning environments. You go worry about not being able to open iTunesU on your Nook, while the folks that really care about teaching and learning will use the fantastic FREE tools that Apple gives away. Targeting the lowest common denominator in the eBook space will never the way to realizing anyones full potential.

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