Build mobile courses with iTunes U

Everyone’s heard of iTunes – the online music store that keeps your iPod stocked. Less well known is its education-focused sister app, iTunes U. As well as a massive online repository of educational content provided by everyone from the British Library to Harvard University and beyond, iTunes U lets you manage videos, iBooks, presentations and other resources, packaging them into ‘courses’ that students can follow in class or at home, with everything they need accessible right from their iPad.

Before you get started

Paul’s top tips for making sure everything runs smoothly…

  • Get in touch with Apple. They want to keep the quality of courses as high as possible, so you’ll need to contact them to set up an account.
  • Get in touch with parents. It’s probably a good idea to let parents know what content you’ll be letting students access, and to find out if they have their own Apple devices. If so, they can use them to monitor their child’s progress and provide at-home support.
  • Get in touch with IT. An iTunes U account is free to host, content can be private or public and staff can use multiple logins on the same account, so all resources are in one place – all of which means its a great alternative to a VLE.

Step 1) Setting up shop

While students need to download the iTunes U app to complete courses, you can actually build everything online. Head over to the iTunes U Course Manager and log in using your Apple ID. The first thing you’ll be asked to do is create an Instructor Profile. This will let people know who you are, where you work and what courses you’ve created – think of it as iTunes U’s own version of LinkedIn.

Step 2) In-session or self-paced?

When your profile’s saved, your Course Manager dashboard will be revealed! Once you get over the excitement, click ‘Create New Course’. You’ll be asked to add some basic info: what level the course is aimed at, what language it’s in, and a general description of what it covers. You’ll need to decide whether your course is self-paced (students can dip in and out of it as they fancy) or in-session (it has to be completed to certain deadlines). As the name suggests, Apple assume you’ll be using in-session courses as teaching aids during classes, but as the scheduling tools in this option are so much better, I’d recommend it for organising homework assignments and revision schemes, too. You can create duplicate copies of a course, then tweak the content in them for different ability streams, or swap them from in-session to self-paced.

Step 3) Building your course

Click on the Outline tab and you’ll be given a blank box to add your course outline into – you can type directly into this or copy and paste an existing outline. At the bottom left of the outline tab, you’ll see the ‘Add Page’ button. This is where you can create custom pages for anything that doesn’t fit in your outline, such as a list of learning objectives. Next, click on the Posts tab and select a topic from the outline. You can then enter all information students need for that part of the course, then add an Assignment such as reading a chapter of an iBook or taking notes on a video clip (hit the Attach Material button to assign a resource to a post).

Alternatively, if you have any questions or think you’d benefit from some training, give us a call on 03332 409 333 or drop us an email at

Paul F
Paul F
Call us: 03332 409 306

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