Apple posts iTunes U 2.0 update with Discussions, creation tools and more

iTunes U 2.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)iTunes U 2.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Keeping true to its promise to release a much-improved iTunes U version 2.0 on July 8, Apple today posted the update to the App Store. Now available free of charge for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, iTunes U 2.0 finally allows educators to create, edit and manage entire courses, directly on their iPad.

Enhancements for students include new ways to collaborate, with the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right within the app. Jump past the fold for the full reveal…

Course creation capabilities include the ability to add rich content like photos and videos captured via the iPad’s built-in camera.

Additionally, educators can import learning materials from Apple’s iWork and iBooks Author or from any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for the iPad on the App Store.

The new Discussions feature allows for collaborative learning by allowing students to automatically follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics. Push notifications for new topics are available, too.

iTunes U 2.0 for iOS (iPad screenshot 002)

As for teachers, they can participate in forum discussions and moderate them by removing any off-topic messages or unwanted replies.

Key iTunes U 2.0 highlights include:

New for students:

  • The new iTunes U makes it simple for students participating in private courses to pose questions on the course or any post or assignment
  • Other students in the class can jump into the discussion and ask more questions or provide answers
  • Teachers and students can keep up with the conversation when they receive push notifications as the discussion progresses

New for teachers:

  • Teachers can now create and update their courses using the iTunes U app on their iPad—getting started is fast, simple, and completely free
  • Provide every student a course outline, write posts, distribute assignments, upload class materials, easily track participating students, and much more
  • Take advantage of the built in camera on iPad to easily capture photos or videos and upload them for course assignments
  • Create materials using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—or other apps from the App Store—and add them to your course by using “Open in iTunes U” from within each app
  • Teachers affiliated with qualified institutions have the option to publish their courses to the iTunes U Catalog—making them available to everyone for free

Apple says that over 750,000 individual learning materials are available on the iTunes U app, with thousands of educational institutions hosting over 7,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more.

iTunes U courses are currently available in 69 countries and the app itself is available in 155 countries.

More than 30,000 multitouch-enabled textbooks have been created thus far by independent teachers and publishers using Apple’s free iBooks Author app on the Mac App Store.

To get a feel for these interactive textbooks, go ahead and download E.O. Wilson’s complete Life on Earth series in the iBooks Store, totally free of charge..

Download iTunes U free in the App Store.

iOS 7.0 or later is required.