03 Apr 2012

First University in Europe To Reach More Than One Million Subscriptions Through New iTunes U App & Over 50 Million Total International Downloads

The OU on iTunes U

The OU on iTunes U

Open University, the widely popular source of free course content on iTunes U, is the first in Europe to reach more than one million active subscriptions through the iTunes U app since it launched back on 19 January. The OU’s 52 courses on the app add to the University’s extensive material on iTunes U which in another European first, has now seen more than 50 million international downloads, with over 40,000 new downloads each day.

Our most popular course on the iTunes U iPad app The New Entrepreneurs has over 100,000 active subscribers, with another six of our courses having over 50,000 subscribers each. Last week we released a new course Moons: An Introduction which incorporates the OU’s first Multi-Touch iBook Moon Rocks: An Introduction to the Geology of the Moon, created using Apple’s iBooks Author. The Moon Rocks iBook features unique NASA moon rocks collected by Apollo astronauts, and is available now on the iBookstore.

Geology students can use this new iBook format to view full screen interactive diagrams, photos and videos, panoramas and more on the iPad. Included in the iBook are features from the world-leading Open University Virtual Microscope, bringing the web-based power of this system right into the book reading experience – with thin sections of moon rocks that can be explored under different light conditions, zoomed in on, and rotated to see the diagnostic colour changes that helped geologists identify the minerals in these rare rocks.

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said “With more than 50 million downloads to date, we know that students value our high-quality learning materials, and that is really underlined by the speed with which we have reached one million iTunes U app course subscribers.
“The sheer versatility of our new iBook thinking presents a really exciting development for students, letting them jump though the page and into the rocks, to explore extra- terrestrial mineral structure. We plan to expand our brand new format library with highly interactive iBooks very soon. If you think that a slice of moon rock under a microscope looks fabulous in an iBook, just wait until you see what we can do with Art History!”

The OU makes its content available online to everyone, in multiple formats and as part of routine course production. Good tutoring and working with others remains a vital part of OU learning. All OU courses are designed to be interactive with students switching between books, DVDs, the web, audio CD, peer groups and associate lecturers.


Notes to Editors

1. The OU was the only university outside of the United States to participate in Apple's launch into the new-format iTunes U on 19 January, alongside elite institutions such as Yale, Stanford, Duke and MIT. OU courses regularly feature in the most popular downloads in that channel around the world.

2. The OU is always exploring ways to make the most of the latest and highest quality technologies to simplify study on the move. 71% of OU students fit study around work and nearly 30,000 accessed OU sites via mobile devices in December 2011 alone, representing 89% of the total student browsing traffic to our sites.

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