The University of Wisconsin launched an iTunes page this week that will allow students and other iTunes users to access content produced by faculty, administration and other members of the university community.
The page is a part of iTunes U, which allows colleges across the United States to post content for the greater public. UW’s page includes lectures, video content, addresses made by Chancellor Biddy Martin and much more.
“[iTunes] is a site that we see open to the campus community and the greater public as a resource for audio and video content about the university,” said Nick Weaver, an online editor with University Communications who oversaw the launch. “We’re trying to engage communities and trying to get them to participate.”
Weaver said the idea to publish content on iTunes stemmed from a committee that formed last fall to collaborate departments across campus on delivering audio and video content.
He said iTunes U is the first tangible project that has resulted from the committee.
UW psychology professor Jeffrey Henriques said he was approached by the university about producing content, currently visible on the front page under the album name “PsychOut.”
Henriques said he believes the iTunes page allows public exposure for the university, but beyond that, he does not anticipate content being used for any grand purposes.
He went on to say he has independently produced podcasts for several years now for his students.
UW senior Carly Stingl, who is currently studying in Argentina, has also produced content for the site by posting episodes of her WSUM show “The FEZ Hour,” which features interviews with international students.
“My show can have more listeners, which is great and people don’t have to be in their computers or sitting by their radios in order to hear my show,” Singl said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald. “Since I interview international students, they often want their family and friends to be able to listen, but because of the time difference, this isn’t possible, so it facilitates my global audience.”
Stingl also said students’ familiarity with online technology makes the site an effective way to increase exposure for her show.
Weaver said the page is part of a greater movement made this year by the university toward capitalizing on this familiarity.
The university has launched a Facebook page for Martin, numerous Twitter feeds and sites such as the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates website all within the past semester.
“It definitely is a trend and especially over the last three or four months you have seen us trying to do more, especially with social media,” Weaver said. “We’re really just trying to engage students where students hang out and interact.”
Although he said iTunes U is still a work in progress for the university, Weaver is looking forward to seeing what direction the project takes.
“We were excited to be able to launch it because we want people to know about it and start participating in it,” Weaver said. “I don’t think any of us know what it will evolve into, but just getting it out there and live is the first step.”