La Trobe helps pioneer ‘borderless’ classroom

Posted on June 20, 2012


One of Australia’s leading computer magazines, Macworld, has highlighted La Trobe University‘s  pioneering role on the new global higher education e-learning platform, iTunes University.

In a major feature titled ‘Classroom without borders’ Macworld yesterday explored the potential of the new system and how institutions world-wide have implemented it to build new curricula and greater educational opportunities.

Until recently, the magazine says, iTunes U, the world’s largest digital catalogue of educational content, remained partially hidden in the podcast category of iTunes.

That changed earlier this year when Apple launched an iTunes U app, enabling students to upload additional learning materials, course outlines and structures from universities and schools.

‘It was a smart move by Apple,’ the magazine added, ‘which now provides content (via the app) to a mass market platform (the hardware), hosting a universal dialogue that scholars of all ages, cultures and levels of education can understand and speak.’

It went on: ‘Australia’s first educational institution to implement the iTunes U app into several of its history courses was La Trobe University, joining other world prestigious universities such as Stanford, Oxford and Yale.

Global audience

‘La Trobe’s Australian Aboriginal History unit is being taught on the Melbourne campus, and now to a global audience via the iTunes U app.

‘The mobile course offers “lectures and readings every week while it is taught during first semester”, says the university, adding a simplified approach to a topic entrenched in large volumes of information.

Professor Rosenberg: forefront of developments in online digital education

‘‘I’m delighted that La Trobe University continues to be at the forefront of developments in online digital education,’ says Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rosenberg, via the university’s website.

“iTunes U courses bring all relevant material together to make it simple for anyone who wants to study a subject, however complex or challenging it might be.”

‘La Trobe Professor of European Studies Stefan Auer – also employing the app – says the program has opened a number of doors for the method of delivery in terms of content and access.

“The advantage of iTunes U is that it can reach audiences outside of our university network and enrolled students. Also, it gives us the possibility to organise the content neatly for iPads and iPods,” Auer explains.

Macworld concluded: ‘With iTunes U, learning isn’t just “read this document, then watch the video and complete the assignment”. Courses now offer audio, video, documents, links to iOS apps and iBooks.

‘It is just the beginning of what Apple has planned for schools, and the future looks expansive as ‘classrooms without borders’ begin to take shape and take over.’

Read the full article here