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Apple revamps iTunes U, makes it class portal

The company says the iTunes U application will let teachers post messages, share syllabi, and much more.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
Just some of the schools already using Apple's new iTunes U service.
Just some of the schools already using Apple's new iTunes U service. Bridget Carey/CNET

Apple's iTunes U has received a major facelift.

The company announced today at its New York City education-focused event that iTunes U will now become a go-to hub for both students and professors at the college level. The service allows professors to post messages, send out assignments, and share syllabi.

On the student side, the application allows full access to course material, including video, documents, apps, textbooks, and other content. As one might expect, the service will have full integration with iBooks.

When new assignments pop up in iTunes U, students will be able to complete them and then mark them off from the iPad. A Notes section in iTunes U includes all the notes they might have taken on digital textbooks. The Notes tab also includes all the content that has been highlighted in the digital textbooks.

Lastly, Apple has also moved into the registrar space with iTunes U, allowing students to sign up for a class from their iPads with just a single tap.

The iPad iTunes U application is available for free. However, students won't totally get off easy: e-textbooks and apps that are used in their classes will still cost them.

This story has been updated throughout the morning with new details.