Take a lesson from Apple: iTunes U tops 1B downloads

iTunes U has surpassed 1 billion downloads with more than 60 percent of the downloads from outside of the United States.

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iTunes U passed the one billion mark for downloads, according to Apple. More than 60 percent of the downloads went to people from outside of the United States.

“It’s inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, says in the statement.

Users from all over the globe have accessed the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content, posted by universities, museums, and organizations. More than 100,000 students are taking classes from Duke University, Yale University, Cambridge University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other institutions. Stanford University alone has received more than 60 million downloads.

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iTunes U’s offerings range from "The Art of Video Games Exhibition" from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and "Virology" from Columbia University to "The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877" from Yale University.

One popular course is professor Matthew Stoltzfus’ general chemistry course from Ohio State University, according to the statement. The course had more than 100,000 iTunes U students the first year it was offered.

“I’ve been working with high school teachers who use my iTunes U material to prepare to teach their own classes, high school students all over the world who are leveraging the course to tutor their fellow classmates, even retirees who download my iTunes U course to stay intellectually active,” Mr. Stoltzfus says in the statement.

iTunes U has made some of the most popular college courses more accessible, including “Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of Venture Capital” from Stanford University. The course, founded by Stanford junior Ernestine Fu, focuses on the funding, management, and other aspects of building new enterprises, according to the description. It ranks at number 5 in the iTunes U list of recent "top courses."

“Her course, which I’m proud to be a part of, is the best course I’ve ever seen in my life,” professor Thomas Kosnik, one of the class advisors, says in a phone interview. “I’m thrilled that our course is reaching so many students around the world.”

Ms. Fu -- who, at age 21, is considered to be the youngest venture capitalist in Silicon Valley -- proposed the class to Mr. Kosnik, Bill Coleman of Alsop Louie Partners, and David Hornik of August Capital and brought them on as advisors. Since then, she has recruited students to continue the course and helped undergraduates start work with venture capital firms.

At the Mansfield Independent School District in Texas, more than 10,000 high school students and teachers use their iPad for lessons, according to Apple.

“I see success unfolding before me on a daily basis,” says Chrissy Boydstun, a teacher from the Mansfield Independent School District, in the statement. “Students are engaged and working hard as they use the incredible amount of information at their fingertips in a way that is meaningful and impactful. I love the way iTunes U provides a roadmap to take students beyond what a typical lesson or lecture could achieve.”

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