There’s one major problem with learning; It costs time and money. I should know, because I’ve done bachelor, master and now doctoral degrees. However, the time and money associated with tuition had to take a step back earlier today when Apple announced updates to its educational resource platform, iTunes U, including a new app for iOS devices.
Like many other people from my generation, I bare the curse of being time poor, cash poor and interested in entirely too many things. Whether it’s language, art, design, computer science, or even cooking, I am in a perpetual state of wanting to learn more.
I’ve dabbled in each of the topics mentioned above, but consistently found that good (free or cheap) comprehensive resources to be scarce.To learn these things well, and from industry leading institutions, would cost a fortune and though they could all be learnt over time, it’s not something that can really be done for leisure either. If you want to learn a language, you should want to live and breathe it. If you want to learn design or art, you should be a designer or an artist. If you want to learn computer science or cooking, you should want a career as a coder or a chef. Did you spot the trend?
What you choose to learn well has been inseparably connected to your career aspirations for a long time. Many people have had to forgo some of their passions (I’ve listed mine above) so that one can be molded into a career, and for this reason many people end up changing careers to pursue other passions.
The new iTunes U lets you pursue your passions at the pace you prefer, while maintaining your existing career and saving you time and money on tuition. It has many courses, and what’s more they’re FREE. The courses come from such reputable institutions as Standford, MiT, Yale and Duke Universities and cover areas of interest such as biology, mathematics, computer science, music, international relations and more.
Earlier today I began a computer science (Programming Methodology) course from Stanford University. That in itself is remarkable considering I live in Australia, but its the way the courses work that is the true genius of the new iTunes U.
The courses are layed out in activity modules (see image above) which contain interlinked lists of video, documents, digital text books, software applications and additional online media resources to interact with and learn from. Its easy to work through the materials at your own pace and as you complete tasks like watching a lecture or reading a textbook chapter you simply check them off completed.
I might not have the time or the money to study computer programming on campus, but I can now get the same (if not better) experience through iTunes U.
If you’ve started a course on iTunes U, don’t be shy to tell me about your experience by leaving a comment on the right