When is a course not a course?

Note the spiral coil on the left of this icon.

You may have noticed that iTunesU has a new section on its front page entitled New Courses. And you may also have noticed that some of these courses are not really true university courses, but are instead collections of lectures on a similar topic, for example the group of TED talks entitled Exploring the Evolution of Language.

So, what gives? Are the folks at Apple confused about the meaning of the word “course?”

No – but it turns out that they’ve given the word “course” whole new meaning. In the world of iTunesU, a course is a group of lectures that are bundled together with supplementary material and available as a neat package in Apple’s iTunesU app, which is available on its many idevices. A visual cue that a set of lectures is an iTunesU course is the spiral coil on the left of the course’s icon, making it appear that the course is inside a spiral-bound notebook.

And what about all the courses on iTunesU that don’t have the spiral coil? In Apple’s lingo, they are “collections.”

 

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