Stanford Univ. on iTunes

by oneafrikan on January 27, 2006

America’s Most Connected Campuses
‘Stanford On ITunes’ Is For Everybody
Kate DuBose Tomassi, 01.24.06, 10:00 AM ET

In an unprecedented move, Stanford University is collaborating with Apple Computerto allow public access a wide range of lectures, speeches, debates and other university content through iTunes. No need to pay the $31,200 tuition. No need to live on campus. No need even to be a student. The nearly 500 tracks that constitute “Stanford on iTunes” are available to anyone willing to spend the few minutes it takes to download them from the Internet.

While a number of other universities are now using iTunes to distribute class-specific content to their students, including Duke University, Drexel University’s School of Education and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Stanford is the first to make a substantial amount of recorded university events available to the public at large.

“One of Stanford’s primary missions is to educate the public,” says Scott Stocker, director of Web communications. Allowing the public to access the content “just felt like the right thing to do,” says Cindy Pearson, director of alumni programs.

Duncan Beardsley of Stanford’s class of 1959 says he has already downloaded about 30 tracks from Stanford on iTunes since the public launch last October. A lecture called “Trials and Truth” from a series entitled “Classes Without Quizzes” originally piqued Beardsley’s interest. He’s also downloaded lectures about global warming, why baseballs have stitches and correlations between how baboons and humans live.

Stanford has big plans for adding new content going forward. One example is recordings of sports events, says Pearson. November’s Stanford versus Berkeley football game, known on campus as “The Big Game,” is already videotaped and mailed to alumni clubs overseas. The plan is to use iTunes new video capabilities so folks will be able to watch the game without waiting for the package to come in the mail, says Pearson.

Walking tours of the campus might also be in Stanford on iTunes’ future, she says. The public could “tour” Stanford’s campus or art collection from home. Or, a visitor to campus could bring an iPod or MP3 player, or borrow one from the school, and set out on a guided audio tour.

It’s catching on. Over 130,000 tracks were downloaded from the site in the first two weeks, says Stocker. Through the end of the fall semester in December, on average, more than 15,000 tracks were downloaded per week.

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