iTunes U 1.4.1 (iPad screenshot 001)

Apple on Monday announced a major new version of its iTunes U educational app with a number of new creation and discussion features for iPad. The new iTunes U 2.0 app, due July 8, will enable teachers to create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time, while students will get to take advantage of some interesting new collaboration capabilities, including the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right from their iPad…

The new Discussions feature allows students to easily participate in classroom discussions, with push alerts available for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can moderate discussions, remove off-topic messages or replies and more.

Apple’s media release quotes Fraser Speirs, who rolled out the world’s first 1:1 iPad program at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland.

iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad.

By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.

Apple’s boss of online services and software, Eddy Cue, reiterated that education is at the core of Apple’s DNA. iTunes U hosts a vast selection of academic materials for teachers, educators and students, he said. The new ability to better manage and discuss educational content will make learning “even more personalized on iPad,” said Cue.

iTunes U 1.4.1 (iPad screenshot 002)

iTunes U 2.0 finally allows for full course creation capabilities on iPad. Teachers can create classes that incorporate rich content and learning materials from iWork, iBooks Author and more, with photos and videos supported as well.

There are now over 75,000 educational apps available for the iPad, Apple said.

Moreover, iTunes U now hosts over 750,000 individual learning materials, with 7,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more, all available in 155 countries.

The current version 1.4.1 of iTunes U is available free of charge in the App Store for any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 7.0 or later.