Students and professors at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have been waiting in anticipation for the launch today of NJIT on iTunes U. The new media tool is a hosted content distribution system that makes audio and video content from lectures, interviews and audio books more available to students online. Representatives from Apple will be on campus to explain how the system works. NJIT numbers among the first universities in New Jersey to have such a system in place.
Users may download content at no cost to their Mac or personal computer, transfer the information to their iPods and listen to the information any time or anywhere.
The system benefits students, teachers and even the public. Instructors can access scheduled courses, providing the course content was created through NJIT on iTunes U. In addition to courses, instructors may access public materials. Through the NJIT system, professors may upload materials, edit profiles and manage student access and privileges.
EDITORS: Apple representatives and NJIT students, professors, others are available today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the NJIT Campus Center in front of the bookstore. Call Rosalyn Roberts, 973-596-3433 to arrange interviews.
“Optimal conditions for learning can be created using a mix of pedagogical practices and instructional technologies,” said award-winning professor and computer scientist Fadi Deek, PhD, now dean of the College of Science and Arts at NJIT. “It is clear that this generation of learners favor interaction modalities that take into consideration their preferred learning styles and allow them to construct their own paths to knowledge.”
Students can use NJIT on iTunes U to view courses for which they have registered and to obtain public materials. The public will also have access to public materials via NJIT on iTunes U on the NJIT website provided the authors agreed in advance to make these materials available. All materials are free, as long as they are downloaded from NJIT on iTunes U.
“I think iPods are a great idea,” said Sean Tanner, of North Haledon, a sophomore majoring in applied physics and a student at Albert Dorman Honors College. Tanner, who owns his iPod, looks forward to using the service when he might be ill or miss class. “If the lecture is on line, I can download it to my computer at home, and then download it to my iPod Mini and have immediate use of the material,” he said. Other uses include downloading visiting lecturers or supplementing class materials by seeing what other professors in certain subject areas might offer.
Chris Daly, of Dumont, another physics major, said he watched lectures last semester about linear algebra and found the new medium helpful. “Class happens once and it’s over,” Daly said. “But with an audio or a video component, I can listen or watch the material, repeatedly, pausing at my own convenience.”
Daly has an iPod Nano, which he uses for music. But he has listened to audio lectures before about the theory of relativity. He would use the service to download lectures from his favorite physics professors.
Norbert Elliot, PhD, a professor in the humanities department at NJIT offers another viewpoint. “Podcasting allows NJIT a unique opportunity to use the new media in teaching,” said Elliot. “With my lectures carefully prepared in advance and hosted on iTunes, I can transform my classroom into a place where students come to ask questions and solve problems. Because the content of my course is hosted in iTunes--ready for downloading and learning from the very first day of class--my students are completely situated in the course content from our first to last meeting. Because of the ease of uploading and downloading files, iTunes is perfect for my NJIT students, learners who are themselves digital natives."
Ken Ronkowitz, manager of media and instructional technology for NJIT’s University Web Services, is equally enthusiastic. “NJIT's participation in the NJIT iTunes U program, along with a prominent group of colleges, places us at the edge in using a media distribution system,” he said. “Students expect nothing less from a leading technological university.” For more information about NJIT on iTunes U visit: http://itunes.njit.edu.