03 Oct 2011

40M OU on iTunes U downloads show a marked change in user behaviour - 70 per cent of visitors now download straight to iOS devices

The OU is one of the biggest contributors to iTunes U

The OU is one of the biggest contributors to iTunes U

The Open University on iTunes U has today hit 40 million downloads, nearly doubling the numbers in just over a year. The rate of iTunes U downloads straight to iOS devices also soared. In September 2010, 30 per cent of visitors to OU on iTunes U were downloading onto iOS devices and by July 2011 this had risen to 70 per cent of users. Learning may even be a part of the drive to 'post personal computing' platforms such as iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. In July 2011, iPad users alone constituted 18.3 per cent of visits to OU on iTunes U.

The OU is one of the biggest and most popular contributors to iTunes U, averaging 275,000 downloads a week. It regularly appears on the iTunes U Top Charts and has one of the widest ranging libraries, including both audio visual collections, and over 400 eBooks derived from our award winning OpenLearn site. In July 2011, the OU’s The History of English in Ten Minutes collection which went straight to the iTunes U (UK) chart at number four after just four days. Shakespeare was the top OU download on iTunes U that month.

“Right from the start, the OU has always kept pace with the new technologies of the time and it is fascinating to see the development of the post personal computing stage of the OU on iTunes U,” said Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University. “It is crucial for part-time students to be able to study when, where and how it suits them and we excel at finding new and better ways to enable students to study on the move.”

OU material on iTunes U gets a worldwide audience with 90 per cent of visitors to the site coming from outside the UK. An OU on iTunes U audience survey revealed that 96 per cent use the materials for learning.

For OU students, iTunes U is a great addition to their studies:

“iTunes U is an integral part of my flexible learning approach. I've recently purchased an iPad so that study materials, assignment booklets, mind maps, notes and audio/video material can be reviewed whenever I have the freedom to access them. I spent many lunch times at work watching and re-watching an interview for a tutor marked assignment on thematic analysis on my iPod and I attribute the high mark that I received due to the flexibility that iTunes U offered me.” Matt Peers, studying for an OU degree in Criminology and Psychological Studies.

“I used iTunes U to access course materials, sound files and transcripts, before I start the course in November. It was very useful to get a head start and to understand some basic Chinese greetings.” Di Russ, studying OU Beginners Chinese.

The Open University first posted material on iTunes U in June 2008 and recorded 20 million iTunes U downloads in June 2010. In October 2010, the OU was one of the first three universities worldwide to put eBooks onto iTunes U.

The most popular collections on OU on iTunes U for last year (Sep 2010 to Sep 2011)
• Bon départ: beginners' French
• Beginners’ Chinese
• The History of English in Ten Minutes
• Rundblick: beginners' German
• Portales: beginners' Spanish
• Astronomy
• War, Intervention and Development
• Design for beginners
• Start writing essays
• Critical Social Psychology

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