Professors enter the world of technology with web video

By Meghan Smith
February 7, 2008

YouTube began as a site for goofy video parodies. It has now evolved into a generational icon, with presidential candidates utilizing YouTube to reach a younger audience. iTunes started as a music site. Now it has branched off into iTunesU, devoting a new section of their store to education. As the site grows more popular, college professors have entered into the world of technology, broadcasting their knowledge for all to view.

Professors have become the latest stars of iTunesU. Along with other video-sharing Web sites, iTunesU has the potential to expand learning from inside the classroom to a more public art.

“Traditional ways of conducting lectures in classrooms have been changing,” Dr. Janice Xu, communication professor, said.

Web video opens a new form of public intellectualism to scholars looking to partake in a progressively more visual culture. iTunesU hopes to become a venue for academia.

Over the past few months, several colleges have signed agreements with the site to set up official “channels”. In order to set up a channel, colleges are required to sign an agreement with iTunesU. No money is involved, allowing colleges to brand their portion of the site with school logos and colors.

Through this program, colleges and universities are able to build their own iTunesU sites. Faculty are able to post content necessary for their classes so students can access what they need and be on their way.

“The social networking would open many doors for Cabrini and raise public awareness for the college,” Caitlin O’Donnell of Instructional Tech Support, said.

More than half of the nation’s top 500 schools are part of iTunes U, dispensing their digital content to students and anyone who is interested. Colleges and universities have the ability to open all or part of its site to the public, so that learning can be available to all.

iTunesU is altering the way people learn on campus, off campus and even without a campus. “It’s a neat idea of lifelong learning,” O’Donnell said.

Xu laughed when asked if she would be interested in participating if Cabrini were to join iTunes U. “I wouldn’t want to be the first professor from Cabrini to be on the site,” Xu said.

One faculty member who is ready and able to put content on the web is communication professor Dr. Jerry Zurek. “The fact that my videos on YouTube about slavery in Brazil have been viewed 11,000 times, a pretty impressive number,” Zurek said.

Cabrini has begun to take this endeavor into serious consideration for the near future.

“I’m pretty excited about it. I feel it would do Cabrini an awful amount of good,” O’Donnell said.

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Meghan Smith

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