RMIT University offers free content via iTunes U

David Braue
20 August, 2009
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Melbourne’s RMIT University has joined the growing body of institutions offering free video podcasts through the iTunes U section of Apple’s iTunes Store.

iTunes U was launched by Apple as a section in which universities can both spruik their capabilities and disseminate public knowledge by posting interesting, topical and informative lectures on a broad range of topics. Well over 100 universities worldwide are currently contributing free content, with Australian participants including Australian National University, Griffith University, Swinburne University, University of Melbourne, University of NSW, and the University of WA.

The decision to commit to iTunes U – which requires a substantial base of initial content as well as an ongoing commitment to adding new and fresh content – came as RMIT University began exploring new ways to promote itself to a global audience, says Amgad Louka, director of the Educational Technology Advancement Group at RMIT University.

With campuses in Australia and Vietnam and an increasingly competitive tertiary education sector, he explains, such channels have become invaluable for spreading the word. They are also, he adds, good mechanisms to empower students who are increasingly producing work in a range of formats and want to share it with the world.

“One of the things I find most exciting about it is showcasing student work,” Louka explains. “These days, students are publishers. They wear technology as apparel, and with them mobile technologies we have at the moment, where there are cameras built into the phones and what have you. Wherever a student is, they’ve got the equipment necessary to be able to produce it.

“And then we’ve got students who are studying formally the creative industries here at RMIT which we’re quite renowned for,” he adds. “We’ve got a lot of publishers and producers out there, so I like the idea of iTunes U being somewhere where we can say to students ‘this is a chance to get your wares out there and be seen.’”

Content on RMIT’s iTunes U page includes pieces on jewelery that dispenses medicine, the world’s first hydrogen racing car, research into seafood allergies, and new uses for virtual reality. “It’s the kind of thing that really shows what a university is like,” says Louka. Subjects online include business, science and technology, art/design/media and engineering to campus information, student work, RMIT guest speakers, and more.

Catch AMW’s David Braue’s full interview with Louka in our series 2, episode 9 podcast, now available for listening online and as a download through iTunes.

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