My Students love iTunes U it allows me to organize the course and the semester in a clear easy to follow manner. I use posts to clearly communicate with my students what they will be doing and attach the materials that will be needed for the subtopic being addressed. I use iBook Author to create interactive books for my students to use to engage them in the content. Some of the books i create are just revision books full of interactive multi-touch components like in my first History course i created. Alternatively I create iBook Author books with content, information and images to bring History and Geography to life for my year 7 students and include interactive multi-touch components to take full advantage of the iPads and actively engage the students.
Tips for iTunes U courses-
Use outline to plan and organize your course. Ensure that is logically organized the way you want to teach it so students are not jumping around the course from section to section. I find that creating and building a course before i teach it helps me works the best as you can change the outline but you can’t move your posts around which means a lot of copy and paste and frustration. Best practice is to work on getting the outline to a stage where you are happy with it before building your course. Subscribe to some public courses before you start to build and create your own so you work out what works best for you ( a few subtopics in the outline and lots of posts or Many subtopics and areas and then a few posts or one post in each) There is no right or wrong way just what works for you.
Share materials between your courses where you can rather than uploading the same materials. If you add the same feed to more than one course, Course Manager creates duplicate materials in the My Materials Library and counts the duplicate materials towards your 20 GB available storage space.
Uploading your files be aware that the maximum file size is 2 GB however remember that your students need to download the materials to use so think about reducing the size to manageable downloadable sizes. If you have created an iBook Author ebook and it is huge consider splitting it into two books pt1 and pt2. If it is video footage think about putting in the link to the uploaded video on Youtube or Vimeo rather than uploading the video footage.
When displaying video material in the My Materials Library or a course Materials pane, Course Manager creates a thumbnail image for the video from the image displayed 11 seconds into the video file.
Save materials as PDF’s and upload the PDF’s into iTunes U as students can then annotate the PDF’s in a variety of apps.
Once you upload a material into iTunes U materials you can edit it to change the name of the resources, give it an author, change copyright information etc. It is good to change the name of materials to make them make sense for the students. For example a screen shot of a website will have the file name screenshot! Not that helpful for the user but by going into edit you can change the title to login details for …. etc to give the image meaning for the user.
When you insert an iBook or a video you can direct students to a particular part of the video or a chapter within the book. In the context of a video it is great as you can direct students the relevant parts rather than view the whole video.
Here is what some of my students think about iTunesU courses:
Tips for iBook Author-
Planning is essential when creating an ebook with iBook Author. Changing the order of sections within chapters is difficult so planning out the broad outline for chapters and the topics within them is essential before you begin to create your book.
Always make a Landscape iBook so no matter which way you hold the iPad it can be read easily.
Where it fits add interactive elements to your book this is what engages the reader and involves them. Interactive elements bring the iBook to life and take full advantage of the iPad’s features.
Source your own photos ask friends, colleagues etc explaining that you will credit them as the photographer it works really well and then you avoid hassles with copyright.
iBook Author has interactive aspects within its included widgets however you can create different interactive aspects to add to your ibook using Bookry and BookWidgets. I have used Bookry and found it easy to use with great support and help videos when you get stuck. It is free to use and works very well with iBook Author. I have only discovered bookwidgets recently and am yet to have time to play. I do notice that only the trial is free!
Review your iBook on an iPad or on your laptop to ensure it is set out the way you want and flows logically.
Here are a few of my students talking about the ebooks i made using iBook Author:
For more tips on iTunes U and iBook Author check out my slideShare presentations in this post about presenting at the HTAV annual conference.
If you would like to check out my courses or those created by my colleagues follow the link below.
Ringwood Secondary College courses – https://itunes.apple.com/au/institution/ringwood-secondary-college/id692510040
Here is my Geography course – https://itunes.apple.com/au/course/yr7-geography-for-australian/id896645777