iTunes U at Cal Poly Pomona Implementation Plan

  • Background of Cal Poly Pomona on iTunes U
  • What is iTunes U?
  • iTunes U Content Sharing and Access Options
  • Considerations
  • Implementation Timeline
  • Accessibility
  • Marketing Plan
  • Technical Assistance
  • Documentation to assist Helpdesk staff
  • Technical Considerations for Site Administrators
  • Limitations

Background

iTunes U is Cal Poly Pomona is leveraging a variety of web-based solutions to raise awareness of the unique nature of our campus, the scholarship of our faculty and students, and connections with our local and global communities. With a focus on the delivery of academic content and public relations materials, iTunes U was selected as a venue for sharing general-interest videos, podcasts, and course content with members of the campus community and the public. Cal Poly Pomona’s iTunes U presence is being developed within the context of the university’s overall approach to social media and learning management systems.a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 350,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world.

What is iTunes U?

iTunes U is a free service provided by Apple that allows instructors and administrators to manage, distribute, and control access to audio and video content.

itunes U bookshelf

Leveraging the familiar interface of the iTunes Store, iTunes U offers over 500,000 audio, video, PDF, and ePub assets as well as full courses that cover a range of topics. The content is produced at hundreds of colleges and universities, K–12 school districts, and museums and libraries.

“The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools — plus the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content — right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.” (www.itunesu.apple.com)

At Cal Poly Pomona, iTunes U will provide a vehicle for sharing world-class academic content, developed by our own faculty, with our students or with the world at large. Videos and podcasts designed to showcase our university will also be available on the iTunes U site.

iTunes U Content Sharing and Access Options

Video recordings (vodcasts) and audio recordings (podcasts), as well as course packages, can be accessed via iTunes U in a variety of ways.

  • Content made public on the Cal Poly Pomona iTunes U site
    • access is provided to anyone with an iTunes account or an iTunes U application
  • Content created using the iTunes U course manager tool
    • access to published content provided to anyone with an iTunes account or the iTunes U application
    • access to unpublished content provided to anyone who has received the web link to the content

Content on Public Site

The public Cal Poly Pomona iTunes U site will be launched in September 2012. Visitors can access the site by navigating to the Apple iTunes store, downloading the iTunes program, and subscribing, free of charge, to iTunes U. Visitors can then avail themselves of content published by all iTunes U institutions or select CSU Pomona to access Cal Poly Pomona content. Devices that can access content from iTunes U include iPhones and iPads using the iTunes U app, and mac and pc computers using the downloadable iTunes program.

itunesu landing page

The Cal Poly Pomona on iTunes U public site consists of a series of collections including guest speakers, faculty spotlights, and bronco sports videos

Members of the campus community interested in contributing content to the site should contact the Cal Poly Pomona iTunes U administrator at itunesu@csupomona.edu. The administrator will ensure that all accessibility requirements have been satisfied prior to publishing the content.

Content created using iTunes U Course Manager tool

iTunes U provides a web-based course manager tool that allows instructors to create, package, and distribute courses.

PLEASE NOTE: The course manger tool is available to all teachers and faculty from any education institution (https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/coursemanger). Permission or administrative rights are not needed to download the tool, produce course content, and provide students with a link to the course content. Therefore, a single control point does not exist for the course manager tool.

Promotion of the course manager tool will not occur until a pilot is conducted by eLearning during the Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 academic quarters. Accessibility will be assessed and a determination made as to whether the tool should be marketed to CPP faculty.

screen shot of itunes app

The free iTunes U app gives students access to all the materials for a course in a single place. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations. See a list of all the assignments for the course and check them off as they’re completed. And when the instructor sends a message or creates a new assignment, students receive a push notification with the new information. (www.itunes.com)

Course materials can include a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and other items; these materials are hosted by Apple and are made available to anyone taking the course.

Create an Instructor Profile

Apple provides a step-by-step guide for developing effective, compelling courses complete with instructor profiles; editing and organizational guidance also is provided. When a course is ready to be published, the instructor clicks on the “share course” button; the instructor then receives a url that can be distributed to students for in-classroom use or sent to the CPP site administrator for publishing on the CPP iTunes U site. Apple provides a “getting started” guide that details the steps involved in creating a course using the course manager tool (http://images.apple.com/support/itunes-u/docs/iTunesU_Course_Guidelines_011912.pdf).

Considerations

There are a number of roles, use cases, and processes to consider. The following is a list of items that are being addressed during the implementation planning process:

  • iTunes U architecture creation
  • Instructor creation and uploading of course content
  • Student access
  • Administrator uploading of public content and content removal
  • Accessibility, captioning
  • Technical support for faculty and students

Implementation Timeline

The timeline reflects a series of milestones culminating in a September 2012 launch of iTunes U. Planning and implementation will involve the following timeline and tasks:

Timeframe

Tasks

April - June 2012 Series of planning and testing meetings with representatives from I&IT Operations, I&IT Support, eLearning, and I&IT MediaVision
May 2012 iTunes U architecture creation
May – June 2012 Testing of captioning and accessibility features
July - August 2012 Testing of course manager tool and process iTunes U technical support plan developed
May - August 2012 Content population of iTunes U site
September 2012 Launching and marketing of public iTunes U site
Fall quarter 2012
Winter quarter 2013
Pilot of iTunes U course manager
Spring quarter 2013 If pilot is successful, full release of tool and marketing to faculty

 

Accessibility

A key factor in the successful launch of iTunes U is ensuring that iTunes U interface and content is accessible and adheres to section 508 guidelines. According to Mark Turner, Director of the Center for Accessible Media at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, collaboration between the CSU ATI (Accessible Technology Initiative) and iTUnes U commenced in 2007. According to Turner, by Fall, 2008, Apple announced they had addressed all the highest priority accessibility gaps identified by the ATI. In September of 2008, the ATI announced to the CSU community that campuses were free to use iTunes U.

As new iTunes versions are released, Apple addresses accessibility support, provides a VPAT for the product, and includes accessibility information in their release notes and product documentation.

Turner has provided the following recommendations to CSU campuses interested in creating an iTunes U presence:

Review the latest iTunes VPAT and product accessibility information on Apple’s accessibility website
(http://www.apple.com/accessibility) for details regarding current features/gaps

Review the guide from the National Center for Accessible Media entitled ‘Creating Accessible iTunes U Content’
(http://ncam.wgbh.org/file_download/103)

Accessibility of iTunes U interface

MediaVision staff tested the iTunes U interface using JAWS version13 on a PC and successfully completed the following steps:

  • Navigated to iTunes U tab from iTunes interface
  • Accessed Universities and Colleges list
  • Tabbed through alphabetical headings
  • Selected a university (in this case we tested Harvard)
  • Tabbed through content on a university site and selected and played a video

A senior systems engineer from Apple provided MediaVision with a screen capture video demonstrating the use of VoiceOver to navigate through the iTunes U interface. Voice over is an advanced screen-reading technology integrated into the Mac OS X operating system. The demonstration video can be viewed by accessing the following:
http://video.csupomona.edu/streaming/video.php?id=7859&bandwidth=high&vidwidth=640&vidheight =360.

Information on VoiceOver can be found at: http://help.apple.com/voiceover/info/guide/10.7/English.lproj/index.html

Accessibility of Cal Poly Pomona iTunes U content

Captioning of iTunes U content has three control-points:

  • Content contributors are informed of captioning requirements (via project request form, project acceptance email, and at the beginning of the recording session).
  • Contributors provide MediaVision with transcript of video. Transcripts can be produced using a variety of methods:
    • Contributor generates transcript and submits to MediaVision
    • MediaVision provides contributor with raw transcript; contributor revises and submits clean transcript to MediaVision
    • Contributor pays for transcript to be created by captioning vendor Automated Sync Technologies
  • MediaVision content uploads to iTunes U are restricted to captioned videos*

*ADMINISTRATIVE ACCESS FOR UPLOADING CONTENT TO ITUNES U IS RESTRICTED TO MEDIAVISION STAFF

Due to the variety of devices utilized by members of the CPP community, as well as the public at large, ensuring accessibility for every device may not be possible. Therefore, content posted on iTunes U will also be made available on the CPP YouTube Channel as well as CPP streaming servers at video.csupomona.edu.

Marketing Plan

Members of the campus community will be introduced to Cal Poly Pomona on iTunes U through a variety of channels including the university’s facebook page and twitter account, the campus cable channel, and Poly Updates. The icon for iTunes U will be present on the homepage of the university’s web site. Apple also offers support in creating and distributing press releases for iTunes U institutions http://images.apple.com/support/itunes_u/docs/Marketing_iTunes_U.pdf

If the eLearning pilot and accessibility testing of the course manager tools is successful, Mediavision will partner with eLearning and the Faculty Center for Professional Development to garner interest from faculty who can benefit from the use of the course manager tool. An emphasis will be placed on identifying faculty interested in making course materials available to the general public in order to showcase the unique talents and scholarship of our faculty. Usage trends and feedback from content creators will inform changes and updates to the marketing plan.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance to iTunes U content creators and users can be provided in a variety of ways:

iTunes U provides an extensive catalog of technical assistance documents available at http://www.apple.com/support/itunes-u/. Resources include Using iTunes U, iTunes U Course Manager, and iTunes U Public Site Manager.

The Cal Poly Pomona iTunes U support structure follows:

Initial Contact

Help Desk staff will field questions at the Help Desk location, via telephone (909) 869-6776, or via e-mail (helpdesk@csupomona.edu). Help Desk staff will:

  • Conduct a brief interview with the user to clarify specific needs or problem
  • Ask basic questions about the computer, mobile device, and browser (e.g. is it a Macintosh, Windows XP, etc.; which browser is being used), the problem or error message, and the specific events that preceded the problem
  • Resolve the incident through personal expertise/experience, by finding a document in the Help Desk database or iTunes U support web site, or by consulting with a colleague
  • Escalate unresolved problems to second level support as needed

Second Level Support

MediaVision will provide second level support. Depending on the nature of the problem, MediaVision will resolve the problem or contact Apple for assistance. MediaVision staff will:

  • Provide a high level of technical support
  • Provide consultation appointments for complicated issues
  • Escalate unresolved problems to Apple

Third Level Support

MediaVision will provide second level support. Depending on the nature of the problem, MediaVision will resolve the problem or coMediaVision staff will engage Apple technicians in the process of resolving problems that could not be addressed by MediaVision staff. These issues, and respective solutions, will be documented and referenced if/when similar issues arise.ntact Apple for assistance. MediaVision staff will:

Documentation to Assist Help Desk Staff

Student Perspective

  • Option 1 (PC/MAC)
    • Download iTunes (http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/)
    • Install iTunes o Open iTunes
    • Select iTunes Store (left menu bar)
    • Select iTunesU drop down arrow (top menu bar)
    • Select ‘Colleges and Universities’
    • Search for ‘CSU Pomona’
    • A list of course will appear in the main content area, search for your relevant course
    • View/download/subscribe to course, whatever they’re looking for
  • Option 2 (Have iOS Device 5.0.1 or greater)
    • Go to App Store
    • Search for ‘iTunesU’
    • Install iTunesU App
      • Requires you to sign into your apple ID
    • Open iTunesU app
      • Find course by using the search feature (top right)
      • Find course by selecting the browse button (bottom right)
        • Under ‘Colleges and Universities’ search for ‘CSU Pomona’
        • Look for your relevant course
    • View, subscribe, download course material as you see fit

Faculty Perspective

  • Faculty who want only lectures available (MediaVision can upload videos only)
    • Contact MediaVision to produce/upload video content (www.csupomona.edu/mediavision)
  • Faculty who want to create their own course (use Course Manager Tool)
    • Must have apple ID
    • Must have the Safari browser installed (www.apple.com/safari/download/)
    • Log in at https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/coursemanager/
    • Create your course
    • Put course on Cal Poly Pomona’s iTunes U page
      • Select the home button in the course manager (looks like a mortar board)
      • Hover mouse over appropriate course
      • Select ‘share’
      • Copy link provided and send it to your iTunesU college administrator (should look something like https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/audit/X1X2JIJ9898)

Technical Considerations for Site Administrators

iTunes U Public Site Manager supports the distribution of compressed audio and video files. Apple recommends using the following formats for your audio and video content:

Audio files (AAC, MP3) with appropriate file extensions (.m4a, .mp3). For best results during playback, Apple recommends converting MP3 files greater than 32 megabytes (MB) to AAC format. For AAC audio files, Apple recommends the following specifications:

  • Audio Format: Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC (Music)
  • Data Rate: Up to 160 Kbps
  • Channels: Stereo (in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov formats)
  • Output Sample Rate: 48 kHz
  • Encoding Quality: Better

Video files (MPEG-4 with H.264 compression) with appropriate file extensions (.mp4, .m4v, .mov). For best results with iPod, Apple recommends using MPEG-4 with H.264 compression with the following specifications:

  • Video Format: MPEG-4 with H.264
  • Data Rate: Up to 1.5 Mbps
  • Image Size: 640 x 480 pixels
  • Frame Rate: 30 frames per second
  • Key Frame: Every 24 frames
  • Audio Tracks: Baseline Low-Complexity Profile with AAC-LC audio 160 Kbps

You can also use iTunes U Public Site Manager to distribute Portable Document Format (PDF) and electronic publication (ePub) files. ePub files must pass ePubCheck 1.0.5, include only files listed in the manifest, and use UTF-8/16 characters. For more details, read the complete ePub specification at http://www.idpf.org/specs.htm. PDF and ePub files appear in iTunes U and the iTunes U library with a book icon. To open a PDF or ePub file, download the file and double-click the file. iBooks or another reader is required (download the free iBooks application from the App store). You cannot preview a PDF or ePub file in iTunes U.

Limitations

The most important limitation is the inability to ensure accessibility of courses created using the content manager tool. The tool can be accessed by faculty at any institution simply by visiting https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/coursemanager. Permission or administrative rights are not needed to download the tool, produce course content, and distribute to students a link to the course content. The key to addressing this issue will be communication with faculty, department chairs and deans to stress the importance of creating accessible courses.

 

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