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« Solar Update | Main | Walk..... And Keep Walking »

Stanford on iTunes

Stanford on iTunes

stanforditunes.jpgThis one's an early indicator of something, but I'm still not quite certain what. Stanford University has begun to make recordings of select lectures, speeches, interviews and events available on the iTunes Music Store, for free. The material currently available includes a number of WorldChanging-related topics: talks by Lawrence Lessig, Geoff Davis on Microfinance, Paul Erlich on Population and Sustainability, and over 50 presentations on Health and Medicine. A restricted access section provides course-related materials for students and instructors, as well.

You'll notice that I haven't linked to any of the recordings. That's because they're only available through iTunes Music Store, which is accessed through (and therefore requires one to have) the iTunes application. This means that people on older machines, or non-Windows/Macintosh computers, are out of luck. The files are in the non-protected AAC format (.m4a), so more recent non-iPod players should be able to play them. (Adding to the complexity, the Stanford iTunes part of the ITMS is only accessible via the Stanford iTunes webpage -- you can't get to it by navigating through the iTunes application.)

On the one hand, Stanford has put out for public consumption a collection (which is intended to grow) of generally very good lectures and discussions, and has done so in a non-protected way; moreover, by using the iTunes store, they're piggybacking upon a system that already has a large following and seamless integration with the most common digital music player. On the other hand, by using the iTunes store, they're limiting the audience to people with relatively recent mainstream computers -- Simputers, Linux boxes, and the like need not apply. Because of the way the ITMS works, they may also be limiting the audience to people in the United States or North America. (Could some of our non-US readers with iTunes check it out? Thanks.)

In general, I'm all for universities putting their material out on the net for broad consumption; it's all the better when it's free. I'm more hesitant about the Stanford iTunes program largely because of the ITMS requirement, but again, there's a reasonable case to be made that, by using ITMS, Stanford is taking advantage of the popular familiarity of the system. I'm open to persuasion either way. What do you think?

(Posted by Jamais Cascio in WorldChanging Weekend at 01:06 PM)

Originally from
ReBlogged by daniel h. on Nov 4, 2005 at 05:13 PM Posted by daniel h. on Nov 4, 2005 at 05:13 PM

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