New technologies enhance classroom

New technologies enhance classroom

By Kate Augusto

Bringing an iPod to class may now be more than a tool to ward off boredom.

A new service for college students and professors, iTunes U, allows students to download lectures and other class materials onto their computers and iPods.

All students should have access to the service by the middle of the spring semester, said Bob Weir, vice president for information services.

The information on iTunes U will be separated into public and private sectors. Public content will include speeches made by the Northeastern president, and private content, which will require a password, will include course materials like lectures, Weir said. There will be links to information through Blackboard and other programs Northeastern students already use.

Weir said iPods are the vessel of choice because of their popularity. However, students who don’t own one will be able to download and view the content on their personal computers or on InfoCommons machines.

Jonathan Eggers, a sophomore political science major, said he thinks the service could be helpful.

“It’s an interesting idea if you want to be able to go back and check something,” Eggers said.

Leslie Hitch, director of academic technology services, said the ability to repeat lectures will be useful, especially for students whose primary language is not English.

Hitch said professors could also use the iPod for interactive activities. A journalism class, for example, could listen to the raw facts of a news event through their iPods and then write a story from there, she said.

While the iPod has this potential to aid learning, it is not a substitute for the classroom, Weir said.

“Just having a video won’t do the trick. For nursing students, it won’t replace their clinical,” he said. “It’s just one more tool in the tool kit

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