According to the Apple website, iTunes U allows you access to some of the best college material that you can find for free and transfer it to your iPod. While this material will not help you gain college credit, recent studies have shown that more people have taken up community college courses, or have audited university classes to obtain information that helps suit their personal lives. Indeed, value you receive from listening to a college lecture downloaded from iTunes U is worth the price you pay for that course. Surely, the fact that Harvard, MIT, and Yale University, all listed by U.S. News and World Report as three of the top colleges in the country, have courses on iTunes U is a testament to the benefits of free college course material.
One of the down sides of iTunes U is the fact that you do not have access to the books and materials normally associated with a college course. These materials, in addition to personal interaction with a professor, are indeed part of the college experience, and help immeasurably in transferring knowledge to the student. However, the inconvenience of not having a professor help in one’s studies is probably not significant to a person who went to a large college or university, in which professors generally do not have much interaction with their students, and rely upon their assistants to grade material and help tutor students after hours.
The true benefit of iTunes U is that it helps people access college material on a whim, and it helps to accommodate changes in their attention span. While a traditional college forces students to adhere to a rigid schedule (or else go through an inconvenient transfer process), iTunes U helps the customer access material, test it, and make changes if that material is not interesting enough. Much like the rest of material configured for iPods, it might not be the absolute best, but iTunes U is usually good enough.
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