What isn't iTunes U?

By: Richard Glaser, University of Utah - Revised: 2007-10-04 richard

What isn't iTunes U

Below is some answers to often misunderstood or incorrect information about iTunes U....

Free Commercial Content
iTunes U DOES NOT give you access to download iTunes Store commercial music, movies, TV Shows, etc for free.

iTunes Store - Commerical Movies

Requires an iPod
iTunes U DOES NOT require an iPod, you can use it only with a computer running Mac OS X or Windows operating systems. You can transfer media content to other media players or mobile phones that support the file formats. For example, the Microsoft Zune, Sandisk Sansa e200R, Sony Ericsson phones and others support file formats used with iTunes U.

iTunes U uses ISO standards like AAC & H.264 that can be used on many media devices and cell phones, NOT just iTunes, iPods & iPhones.

Here is a selection of devices that support AAC:

- Microsoft Zune
- Sandisk Sansa e200R
- Sony PlayStation Portable
- Sony Walkman S-Series players
- Sony Ericsson phones
- Nokia phones
- Palm OS PDAs
- Microsoft Xbox 360
- Sony PlayStation 3

Non-iPod Devices

Learning Management Systems
iTunes U does offer some functionality of some learning management systems, like WebCT, Moodle or Sakia, but it more complements rather than replaces this systems. For example, some instutions use WebCT to authenticate/authorize access into iTunes U and automate adding podcast links into WebCT.

Learning Management Systems

Real-Time Streaming
iTunes U doesn't "officially" support real-time stream, were the media is buffered and then played, which makes it more difficult to capture content & redistribute. iTunes U supports progressive streaming, were the media is downloaded to the client, which makes it easier to redistribute.

DRM - Digital Rights Management
iTunes U doesn't support DRM schemes like FairPlay which is used with most commercial content on the iTunes Store. This good be good or bad, depending on your point of view. If you are content provider, this lack of support makes it easier for users to redistribute your content. If you are a end-user, the lack of support allows you to use other media devices that support file formats used with iTunes U like the Microsoft Zune, etc.

Digital Rights Management

iTunes U doesn't replace the need for content providers or their institution, department or group to backup & archive media. Apple does not take responsibility for media lost or missing in iTunes U.