Open University reaches 20 million iTunes U downloads

The Open University has become the first university worldwide to hit 20 million downloaded tracks on iTunes U, a dedicated area within Apple's iTunes Store devoted to free learning resources.

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The Open University (OU) has become the first university worldwide to hit 20 million downloaded tracks on iTunes U, a dedicated area within Apple's iTunes Store devoted to free learning resources.

The OU on iTunes U promises more choice, a gateway to informal study, an exciting learning space and world class learning, anywhere, with an average of over a quarter of a million downloads per week.
 
Celebrating the news, Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: "I am delighted that the popularity of The Open University on iTunes U continues to go from strength to strength. Our success lies in providing original, custom-built content for iTunes U, linked to current and popular OU courses. Students are able to incorporate tracks into their studies, while informal learners anywhere in the world can tap into these excellent materials for free."
 
A recent OU audience survey found 96 per cent of respondents download content to continue their own education, while the education provider has also seen an upsurge in people accessing OU student websites on their mobile devices. In June 2008, when The Open University on iTunes U was launched, 1,370 students accessed the OU’s student websites via their mobile devices. In contrast, in May 2010, the figure had risen significantly to over 11,000 unique student visitors in that month alone.


Apple iTunes U 
Connivence, with the ability to learn anywhere, was the key to the success of the OU on iTunes U added Martin Bean: "The way people want to learn is changing: many now actively seek out content they are interested in and which they can watch, read or listen to when it suits them.  New channels are helping people to fit learning in with their lifestyles, and the OU has always kept pace with the changing world of technology, which is why we are such a resounding success on iTunes U."
 
Over 4.5 million downloads from The Open University on iTunes U in the past year relate to tracks in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects - accounting for 28 per cent of the total downloads in that time. Anyone can download OU tracks from iTunes U freely, with the most popular collections from OU on iTunes U  being languages and arts, with Beginner’s French, followed by Beginner’s Spanish and Beginner’s German topping the Top Downloads charts.

Introduction to drawing, Start writing fiction, Our Invisible Sun, DNA and inherited information, The construction of Imperial Rome, A holiday in France and What are economic bubbles? make up the rest of the current Top 10.

The Open University is the UK's largest university and the world leader in distance education. More than 1.5 million people have studied with the OU since it began in 1969. The OU has more than 250,000 students in over 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs.

Most OU courses are available throughout Europe. Some of them are available in many other parts of the world.

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