Universities embrace self-study via iTunes

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Universities embrace self-study via iTunes


Korea University join forces to digitize some of their most popular courses through iTunes U, an Apple-powered platform that features educational content. Provided by Korea University

In one of the world’s most connected countries, with Internet access on virtually every corner, Koreans pay bills, watch soap operas and handle their many other day-to-day needs - all on their smartphones.

With this in mind, some of Korea’s leading universities have introduced the digital version of their popular courses on-demand through iTunes U, a section of Apple’s iTunes Music Store that features instructive audio and video files from universities, museums and public media organizations for free.

Korea University announced earlier this month that it has joined Apple’s program, offering approximately 23 courses and 300 non-regular courses via the iTunes Store, available for the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

The university has established a launch page at http://ctl.korea.ac.kr/itunesu that offers users access to various courses ranging from humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to engineering.

However, the school stressed that the service is focused on Korean Studies.

“Korea University’s initial offerings include, but are not limited to, the fields of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering and Korean Studies,” the university said through a statement.

“In particular, the Korean Studies courses and collections highlighted on iTunes U were created in collaboration with Korea University’s renowned Korean Language and Culture Center, Research Institute of Korean Studies and Korean Studies-related faculty.”

The school also expects the worldwide service to forge collaboration with overseas colleges and students.

“We are in talks with overseas colleges to co-produce lectures. We also exchange translation services with Japan’s Hokkaido University,” said Lee Hee-kyung, director of the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

“We helped Hokkaido University translate its lectures into Korean and the Japanese university will help us.”

Lee, who led the project, expects the launch to benefit not only Korean students but aspiring learners abroad.

“I hope that Korea University’s participation in the service will contribute to satisfying the needs of more learners around the world,” she said.

“I heard that iTunes U hit one billion downloads. If educational content from Korea’s major universities is introduced alongside the world’s prominent schools, we will be able to share what’s taught in Korea. We will expand the service by opening more courses going forward.”

Among the anticipated courses are the Korean Modern History lecture by Professor Jeong Tae-heon, a basic physics course by Lee Jeong-il, physics professor and a computer engineering lecture by Kim Hyun-cheol, professor of computer education.

Ewha Womans University also makes its foray into the wireless service by offering some 10 courses and 150 other supplementary educational programs, starting from this semester. The subjects include art, natural sciences, history and others.

Major courses include a modern physics lecture by Kim Chan-ju, instruction on animal behavior by well-known ecologist Choi Jae-cheon and a lecture on Korea’s religion and culture by Professor Choi Joon-sik.

The women’s university seeks to expand available content by uploading special lectures and school programs.

“We don’t limit our content to regular lectures, but will cover speeches by leading figures both local and overseas, student concerts or charity events,” said Cho Il-hyun, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Ewha.

“The service will give a sense of what campus life is like for those who couldn’t or didn’t go to university. This is more than just offering some classes,” Cho said.

Ulsan University offers more specialized courses by tapping into its own history.

Located in the industrial city of Ulsan, which is home to Hyundai Motor’s assembly lines and many of its parts suppliers, Ulsan University was founded by Chung Ju-yung, founder of Hyundai Group.

The university will launch a total of 15 regular courses and 274 lectures, with the two on the life and success of the late iconic entrepreneur. One of the lectures is titled “Chung Ju-yung and Entrepreneurship” and the other “Chung Ju-yung’s Business Rules.”

Seoul National University, Korea’s top-notch university, looks to follow suit by launching free lectures via YouTube, starting from this year’s fall semester.

By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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