Reed at iTunes U

FAQs

Reed's iTunes U content provides access to a wide range of Reed-related digital media via the iTunes Store, Apple’s popular online music, video, and podcast service.

The project includes two sections:

  • a public area that includes community lectures, event highlights, music, and more.
  • a login area for the Reed community which includes:
    • coursework-linked content for course-restricted materials
    • content for the whole campus community

About podcasts

What are podcasts, and why use them?

Podcasts can be audio or video files of any subject matter and any length.There's a good definition on wikipedia that covers the term. New York Times columnist David Pogue also covers it nicely in this informational video.

What are the advantages of podcasting and iTunes U? Who else is using podcasts?

Posting content on iTunes U allows users to find their related multimedia course material in one common place, rather than being posted to several different websites, while using the familiar iTunes interface to organize the materials.

There are many articles on how podcasting can be a useful tool, as well as lists of educational podcasts. Here are a few:

About iTunes & iTunes U

How do I get iTunes?

iTunes is a free, cross-platform application that you can download from apple.com.

How do I use iTunes?

Apple's iTunes user's guide walks you through information such as:

  • installing iTunes
  • adding music and videos to iTunes
  • organizing your media
  • synching music and podcasts to your iPod or iPhone
  • subscribing and listening to podcasts
  • using the iTunes Store
Is Reed's iTunes U content part of the iTunes Store?

No. While Reed's content appears in the iTunes U Store, the content is not a part of iTunes Music Store.

Does iTunes U cost anything?

All iTunes U content is free.

How do I login or navigate the iTunes U Store?

Login if you are a Reed community member; otherwise, you can browse the iTunes U Store content to view a more limited selection. The site is broken down into several sections, including areas for lecture series, course-related content, academic life, and Reed community-focused materials.

Where can I find Reed College in the iTunes U Store?

As of fall 2009, Reed College is listed in the list of colleges and universities in the iTunes U store. More colleges are using iTunes U than are currently listed.

Why doesn't iTunes U  launch when I click on the  iTunes U button?

First, make sure you have iTunes installed.

If you're using Firefox, sometimes the browser forgets how to handle iTunes links. Try the following:

Launch Firefox. In the URL location box, type "about:config" then hit return.
You will get a long list in the "filter" box; type "itms" and hit return.
The list will be one or two items.  Control-click OR right-click on each item and choose "Reset." Quit Firefox.

Next, launch Firefox again and type the following in the URL "location box" itmss://deimos.apple.com. Hit return. A drop down menu should appear. Check the box for "Remember my choice for all links of this type" and click on "Launch Application." iTunes will/should launch.

Can iTunes U work with Moodle and/or my webpages?

Yes, Moodle will be able to link to the tracks from iTunes U. Additionally, links to iTunes U's content can be placed on your webpages. If you're a professor, you can continue to upload media files to Moodle and/or your website, but iTunes U should make the process fairly easy to quickly find and organize your content for multiple courses, as well as provide a convenient way for students to access content for their courses.

Playing content

Who can access, subscribe to, and listen to or watch a podcast?

All content on the public section is accessible for anyone in the world to download. Course material is limited to those individuals enrolled in a specific course. Some material is made available only to the Reed community.

How do I subscribe and view/listen to subscriptions on iTunes U?

In the iTunes application, click on the "Get" button for an individual track, or the "Get tracks" or "Subscribe" button to download the entire section of material.

What platforms support iTunes U?

iTunes U runs on the iTunes application, which is available for both Macs and Windows. iTunes can be downloaded from www.apple.com.

Do I need an iPod to use iTunes U?

No, you won't need a portable music player at all. As long as you have the iTunes application on your personal computer, you can listen or view anything on the iTunes U site. You can sync up your iPod, of course.

Can I play content downloaded from iTunes U in Windows Media Player? Will I be able to use other media players with iTunes U?

Yes and no. There is moderate support in iTunes for other media players, but they will not be able to play AAC format; you may need to convert this file to another format, depending on your media player.

Can I access iTunes U without first opening a web browser?

At this time, there are no direct links on the main iTunes Music Store, and Reed isn't in the list of colleges and universities posted on the iTunes U site. It's best to access Reed's iTunes U content from this website.

Can I search/access iTunes U through the iTunes Music Store?

If you are at Reed's iTunes U site in iTunes, you can perform a search for material.

Copyright and iTunes U

Does iTunes U use Digital Rights Management (DRM)?  Is content in iTunes U exempt from copyright restrictions? What if I want to use copyrighted materials in a public podcast?

Currently DRM isn't supported with iTunes U. Care should be taken to ensure that the content offered in iTunes U falls under Reed's web and copyright guidelines.

Creating content for iTunes U

Who can add content?

Faculty and instructors can request a course page for their class. You can then may be authorized to manage the classes' content, or we can help you out with managing your content. For access-restricted courses, only students registered for the class will be able to download material. Faculty and instructors can also make assignments in which students create podcasts related to class and upload that content to a “drop-box” specific to the course, if so desired.

How do I add content to iTunes U?

Contact us if you are interested in adding or managing your content.

How do I make my own podcast?

Contact us if you are interested in making your own podcast. There's a variety of resources available to help you create multimedia content.

Is my content safe on iTunes U?

Course-restricted access allows anyone enrolled in the course to download materials; for publicly-accessible content, anyone can download the files. Care should be taken to ensure that any of the content offered in iTunes U falls under Reed's web and copyright guidelines.

For additional tips and details on preparing content, see Creating Content for iPod + iTunes

What are the recommended formats for uploading audio and video content?

If you are uploading content directly to iTunes U, contact us and we will help you choose the proper format.

If you're uploading content through Podcast Producer, use the following formats.

Video:

  • MPEG-4
  • H.263
  • H.264
  • DV NTSC and PAL

Audio:

  • AAC (MPEG-4 Audio)
  • AMR Narrowband
  • QUALCOMM PureVoice (QCELP) 

Metadata info

What is it?

Metadata, as it relates to podcasting, is information about the particular podcast file that you have created or are viewing; for example, the title or author that is listed for each track you have.

Each file needs to be tagged with metadata or file information. The title, author, description, and grouping keywords tags are the fields that iTunes indexes for searches.

iTunes U can display the following fields for each track:

  • Name: the track's title. "October 19 Lecture" maybe too vague, whereas "The Birth of Digital Storytelling" is more descriptive.
    Example: The Evolution of Movie Special Effects.
  • Album: should include the course name.
    Example: Bio 351
  • Artist: the instructor or speaker name.
    Example: Robert Skinner
  • Album Artist: (optional) should be Reed College, to make the files easily sortable.
  • Genre: should be set as Reed College.
  • Comments: any additional information such as assignment details, upload information, historical background, or description.
    Example: Professor Skinner discusses animation.
  • Grouping: should be used to add any keywords to the file. Please limit to no more than 12 keywords.
    Example: special effects, 3d, models, animation, sfx, f/x, smu, film