I flirt on the subway. When I’m not flirting, I’m listening to iTunes U lectures, particularly the Introduction to Psychology course from MIT.
The iTunes U iPad app is an education revolution. 500,000 lectures from top universities are now available anywhere, any time, complete with video, audio, books, articles and a global notepad so people can compare notes. Unlike university, you can pause, mix, and choose your courses. There’s more quality teacher time and less idiotic student time. And best of all, the lectures are FREE. Nobody needs to go to university any more.
While contemplating where this movement might be headed, I got very excited. Here’s my vision for iTunes U:
Apple TAs mark your essays. I want to be able to submit written assignments and pay to have them graded by approved teaching assistants (TAs). The Apple TAs would be approved by the course organisers at the university, not by Apple; as their background knowledge needs to be specific to the course in question. Each Apple TA will have a profile page (like the pages in the App Store) with sample essay comments, star-ratings and feedback from previous students.
Apple TAs earn money. Apple gets 30%, while TAs get 70% of the essay fee. There would be rules (such as 72-hour turnaround; comment guidelines, and recommended prices). I would love to earn money as an Apple TA. This is a logical extension of how millions of developers can now make money via the App Store and the iBooks Store.
Apple issues diplomas. These could one day be worth credit in a brick-and-mortar university.
Nobody needs to go to university any more. Long live iTunes U.