Stanford Partnering Up with Piazza to Add Social Layer to iTunes U Course

Earlier this year, Apple introduced a brand new version of iTunes U with new iPad and iPhone apps as well as tools that allow teachers to include assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi with their iTunes U courses. In addition, it was also reported that iTunes U had passed 600 million downloads last year.

Now, Stanford has announced that it will partner with Piazza a social learning platform with one of the most popular iTunes U courses — Professor Paul Hegarty’s iPad and iPhone App Development [iTunes Link]. This course follows the iOS 5 course from the Fall 2011 semester, which is currently available via iTunes U. Stanford is currently taking those lectures and using Piazza to improve the experience for users taking the class across the same 10 week period.

The new social media aspect of the course builds on a technology many students already use: Piazza, a social learning platform. Stanford students taking the classroom version of Paul Hegarty’s programming course, on which the online course is based, have used Piazza.

Earlier versions of the 10-week apps course have proved enormously popular, with individual lecture videos downloaded more than 10 million times.

The inclusion of Piazza will enhance the learning experience, said Brent Izutsu, Stanford’s program manager for iTunes U. “There is an enormous potential for collaboration and community-building though Q&A and problem-solving with friends from across the globe,” he said.

Those enrolled in the iTunes U class are expected to answer questions as well as ask them, while the course captains facilitate discussions and drive students toward correct answers.

The course is available for free and will run from June 25th to August 16th. Registration is free and closes on July 6.

Apple Introduces New iTunes U app for iPad

iTunes U app

Not only did Apple introduce a brand new iBooks app and digital interactive textbooks during today’s event, Apple also introduced an iTunes U application for iPad. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes. Also, anyone can view the iTunes U content.

The all-new iTunes U app lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.

The new iTunes U app is a huge leap from audio and video lectures to a full-fleged learning app. Which also allows non-traditional students to access huge amounts of free content. Courses are created via the iTunes U course Manager, a web-based tool that allows teachers to build a course that includes a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and much more.

iTunes U lets you take a complete course on your iPad. View the course overview, instructor biography, and course outline. Read posts and keep track of your completed assignments. Watch videos directly within the app, read books, and view all your course notes in one place. Receive push notifications alerting you to new posts from the instructor. And iCloud keeps your notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date on all your devices.

iTunes U for iOS has more than 100 courses already optimized for iOS, with more along the way. The app is a free download for iPad and iPhone on the App Store.