UNSW has become one of six Australian universities to launch a channel on iTunes U, Apple's worldwide outlet for digital educational content.

Launched this week in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, iTunes U allows users to search and download free video, audio and PDFs just like they do with music.

Users will now have 24/7 access to UNSW content, along with material from some of the world's other top educational institutions.

Lecturers will be able to set up a podcast feed of any course, with students receiving a weekly delivery of content directly to their computer or ipod. In Session 2, lectures recorded on Lectopia will directly populate iTunes U, using the same security controls that are in Lectopia. For lectures to be listed publicly in iTunes U, it is up to the academics and course convenors involved.

Faculties can use iTunes U for regular communication with professional and industry groups or alumni who can now subscribe to regular podcasts, including magazines in PDF form. Faculties and some divisions such as IT already are using iTunes for "How To" videos on certain procedures.

Months in development, the UNSW iTunes U project has been managed by Patrick Stoddart of Learning and Teaching.

"Having our content available to students and the public in places like iTunes U is a way to break out of the 'walled garden' approach that universities traditionally have had," says Mr Stoddart.

"iTunes is different from You Tube in that it is downloadable and can be viewed on mobile devices -which is one of the largest requests we get from students. They are also different audiences. You Tube represents casual browsers while iTunes U users, due to the nature of the content, are looking for something specific.

"The other benefit of iTunes U is that you can have private areas just for students and staff, which is important in meeting our copyright obligations. When we copy and use material in class, it can't be shown publicly."

Currently, content on UNSW's iTunes U channel is only publicly available but the Learning and Teaching team is working with Apple to offer secure spaces for copyright sensitive material by the end of July.

The launch represents the completion of the second phase of the UNSW TV project, which ultimately will deliver three digital publishing outlets to UNSW users and subscribers - You Tube, iTunes U and UNSW's own purpose-built online channel.

itunes U is accessible to anyone with a Mac or PC that has downloaded the free iTunes software from the Apple website.

Where to access iTunes U: http://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browsev2/unsw.edu.au

Help to get started:Enquiries about production and publication of material for educational use should be directed to Tom Cavdarovski, t.cavdarovski@unsw.edu.au, http://learningandteaching.unsw.edu.au

News content is managed by the Office of Media and Communications. Contact: Mary O'Malley, 9385 2873,m.omalley@unsw.edu.au