Apple today announced that its free educational content app, iTunes U, has crossed a billion downloads. iTunes U features a large online catalogue of free educational content from top schools, libraries, museums and organisations.

“It’s inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. “There are now iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them, which is a phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn.”

Interestingly, over 60 percent of iTunes U app downloads originate from outside the US. Educators can create iTunes U courses in 30 countries including recent additions: Brazil, South Korea, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. These courses and other education content, can be accessed via the iTunes U app in 155 countries.

It's hard to believe, but despite a billion downloads a lot of iOS users are not aware of the existence of iTunes U and the courses it offers. If you haven’t already done so, you can check out the courses available on the app and enroll yourself in one if you feel like it.

Serving one billion

Serving one billion “students”

According to a press release, more than 1,200 universities and colleges and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts host over 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more on iTunes U. Apple claims leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford enroll more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University, each surpassing 60 million content downloads. The Ohio State University’s General Chemistry course enrolled over 100,000 iTunes U students in the first year it was offered, Apple states.

Massive Open Online Course Provider (MOOC) Coursera also reached a major milestone earlier this month. The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) evaluated and recommended college credit for five courses on the website.

Students who manage to complete certain courses from Coursera will now be able to potentially apply their credits for a college degree. Coursera cannot guarantee all colleges will approve of their credits, but over 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs, according to the online portal.

The five courses approved for college credit recommendation include four undergraduate credit courses:

  • Pre-Calculus from the University of California, Irvine
  • Introduction to Genetics and Evolution from Duke University
  • Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach from Duke University
  • Calculus: Single Variable from the University of Pennsylvania

Another course has been approved for developmental math vocational credit recommendation—Algebra from the University of California, Irvine

Besides Coursera, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Open University and Alison were a part of a list we put together for online courses. You can read about these universities and the courses they offer here.

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