Open University gains a million course subscribers via iTunes U iPad app

by Doug Drinkwater

April 3 2012

Open University, the long-distance learning institution, reveals that 52 of its courses have reached 50 million downloads through iTunes U in 15 months, and says that the new iTunes U iPad app has helped entice one million new subscribers to OU courses.

The last fact is surprising, given that the iTunes U app for the iPad has barely been available for three months (it was launched on 19 January 2012), but would seem to indicate an increasing awareness of Apple's iTunes for education. As part of a press release published today, the university - which is open to those seeking further education in the United Kingdom or Europe - reveals that its 52 courses have generated more than 50 million downloads globally to date, and says that it is seeing more than 40,000 new downloads each day.

"With more than 50 million downloads to date, we know that students value our high-quality learning materials, and that is really underlined by the speed with which we have reached one million iTunes U app course subscribers," said vice-chancellor Martin Bean, in a written statement. 

Open University's courses are delivered in Apple's iBook format to the app, where photos, videos and interactive diagrams run alongside the course texts. These courses vary from  ‘Moons: An Introduction’ (which allows you to zoom in and rotate parts of moon rocks) to ‘The New Entrepreneurs’ course, which has attracted more than 100,000 active subscribers via the iTunes U iPad app alone. Open University says that another six courses have managed to reach 50,000 subscribers each.

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