Week Ending July 27, 2012

Well, here we are. Another week bites the dust. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be in the office this week. I was summoned for grand jury duty and Monday was my first day. It turns out that due to a friendship that I have with one of the assistant prosecutors, the judge thought that I wouldn’t be able to keep an unbiased opinion of the possible cases we’d hear. So at that point, I was told not to volunteer and that I couldn’t be selected this time around. Anyway, I was supposed to be out all week, but I was back in the office on Tuesday.iTunes U. Apple has made some significant changes in how iTunes U is set up and how courses can be created. It’s unclear as to how these changes will impact the validity and quality of courses offered through iTunes U, but they are beneficial to us in the short run. Instructors can create up to 12 “private” courses, each holding up to 50 students, without being affiliated to a specific institution. These private sites can only be joined by students if 1) they have the private code, which they use to request access and 2) they use the iTunes U iOS app. I’m not sure if students can use the desktop iTunes app to access the course after they are granted access to the course, but there is no way to use the desktop app to request access.These unaffiliated courses will not appear in any public-facing iTunes U site. This means that if an instructor creates an unaffiliated iTunes U site, it will not show up in the institution’s iTunes U directory. There is a way for these courses to be linked to the institution’s public directory, but the important thing is that this is not an automatic process. I have a meeting this afternoon to talk about how this new process will impact the relaunch of our iTunes U channel. More to come…WordPress. If you know the history of this project, you shouldn’t be surprised that we haven’t moved forward. At all. We are still waiting for University Communications to allow us to launch this service. With less than 4 weeks until the fall semester starts, it doesn’t look good…Well, I think that’s enough for this week. More next week about the iTunes U project, because let’s be honest, it’s probably the only project that will make headway. 

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