Campus to offer podcasts via iTunes U

An agreement between the University of California and Apple Inc. has opened the way for UC campuses to offer podcasts of campus speeches and similar public events through iTunes U. At UC Davis, details about when and how are still being worked out.

ITunes U is a service for colleges and universities that helps them offer listeners easy, constant access to campus-related podcasts, such as distinguished speaker series, course lectures and interviews. The files can be audio or video. The service works much like iTunes, Apple's popular download service that sells songs for 99 cents each, but iTunes U downloads are free.

The campus provides the people and equipment to produce the podcasts. Apple provides software and the servers to store and deliver them.

The UC Office of the President reached an agreement with Apple this spring that lets each campus in the system use iTunes U. Existing clients in Northern California include Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

"It has great potential," said Lisa Lapin, assistant vice chancellor for UC Davis' University Communications. "We still have some questions about workload and how to make it work. We're going to be looking at it over the summer."

The campus already offers a podcasting service through IET-Mediaworks/Classroom Technology Services that helps instructors record and post lectures. Forty-five classes offered podcast lectures last winter quarter.

Present plans call for UC Davis to use iTunes U for recordings intended for a public audience, said Liz Gibson, director of Mediaworks/CTS. "Our current in-house podcasting system will continue to be used for instructional purposes."