iTunes U has been around for a few years now, and before it was considered a one-way street in communication. However now with the new updates available in their update 3.0, the ability of the app meets teachers needs.
The fact that you can annotate now in the course and save your work or hand it in helps students keep their work so much more organized. Although the annotation tools are only basic they meet the needs to what students use on a day to day basis of simple note-taking. I love the hand-in feature because now you no longer have to use a third party app or tool to have students turn in the work. It is time stamped so that it will allow both students and teachers to keep track of when items were turned in.
If you are interested in the grading feature it can be super handy. Allowing you to show corrections on the work as well as assign an actual grade that will be displayed in the grade book feature. This is great for small classes but can be an issue if you are a high-school teacher that has 200 students. Since all the names will be listed alphabetically for you. A possible solution to that would be to create several courses- one for each section that you have a class. This, however, would mean that you would have to copy and post in several courses instead of just one. You also have to enable grading on each assignment before you will be able to use this feature. So keep that in mind before you decide to start using.
One feature that teachers that I work with have loved so far is the private discussions. Instead of the public or class discussions before that are great for help and general questions, this new feature allows individuals the freedom of asking questions privately to the teachers as well as have meaningful conversations regarding grades. Personally, I like the fact that I can put several resources now under one assignment space that way it cleans it up significantly in the posts area. But the overall best feature of this new update is the fact that you can export from iMovie and several other apps directly into your iTunes U course and students can turn in their assignments this way.
Interested in more information on iTunes U- check out MISD iTunes U course: iTunes U Training resources. There are PDF’s and video’s detailing how to use these new features in iTunes U.