The truly unique gem of iTunes is not its music, movies, television, books, podcasts or apps. It’s the collection university lecture series on iTunes U. With more than 350,000 lectures from more than 800 institutions, there’s definitely something out there for everyone to learn. Here are a few great uses of the resources available through iTunes U, which you can find between Podcasts and Ping in the iTunes app’s left sidebar menu.
Become an iOS app developer
Quite possibly the most watched and most popular series on iTunes U, Stanford University programming series “CS 193P“ covers iOS development. Originally titled “iPhone Application Programming” when launched in 2008 and taught by Apple employees Alan Cannistraro and Paul Marcos, this series of lectures has kept up to date with changes in iOS development, and its latest rendition, “Developing Apps for iOS” is very well-rounded. Adding to this course’s value are the slides and assignments also made available online by Stanford.
See through a different lens
If you’re looking for artistic inspiration, consider MIT’s “Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry.” While the creator of this series of eight lectures could stand to take some lessons in videography, the discussions and dialogue are well worth the time invested in watching them. National Geographic also has a great series called “Masters of Photography” that takes you behind the scenes of some of their amazing projects. If you’re looking for something a little more technical that will help you with post-production editing with Photoshop, consider Jason Welsh’s “Photoshop CS5” from Michigan’s MI Learning.
You can get a good foundation by attending Oxford University’s four-part “Philosophy for Beginners,” then dive right into the big questions about life, the universe and everything with Yale’s Professor Shelly Kagan in “Death.” If you’re wanting something a little more practical, though, then go back to Oxford for the twelve part “Critical Reasoning for Beginners.” Finally, a little off the beaten path of philosophy, and more grounded in mathematical logic, consider a refresher course in “Probability and Statistics” with Diane Kiernan.
Geek out on physics
MIT’s Professor Walter Lewin has a series of physics lectures called “Physics I: Classical Mechanics” that is on par with PBS’s classic Julius Sumner Miller and even the more recognizable Bill Nye the Science Guy. In fact, Professor Lewin’s lectures have been viewed over 5 million times by people all over the world. The big draw online has been his live demonstrations, including one experiment involving a human pendulum. Unfortunately ,Professor Lewin gave his final ‘performance’ earlier this year in lecture hall 26-100. But his book For the love of Physics is available in the iBookstore as both an eBook and audiobook, and of course his previous lectures are still available on iTunes U.
Explore the universe
The Michigan State University Department of Physics hosts a series of open lectures titled “Saturday Morning Physics” that has become quite popular online. If you’re a fan of the Science Channel’s “Through the Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman or “Wonders of the Universe” with Brian Cox (both series available on iTunes), then you definitely need to check out Ted Bergin’s ”How Did Earth Get Its Water.” The University of California has also put together a well-rounded series called “Astronomy.”
My list barely scratches the surface of what’s available on iTunes U. And accessing the content couldn’t be easier, since you subscribe to iTunes University courses in the same way as you subscribe to podcasts. So take a look, you just might learn something.