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Apple updates iTunes U with iPad tools

Starting July 8, new features will be available on iTunes U, a free educational application, including student discussions and course creation.

iTunes U on the iPad. Apple

Apple has updated its iTunes U application with a handful of new capabilities, including the ability for teachers to build whole courses directly on an Apple iPad tablet for the first time.

The iTunes U software is a clearinghouse of educational information that allows teachers to create public and private courses that include lectures, assignments, books, and quizzes. Apple says thousands of educational institutions use iTunes U, which has over 750,000 individual learnings materials available for free.

Apple's iTunes U is part of a broader surge in new educational technology offerings that work to educate students, provide teacher resources, and manage classes. Some of the players in the space include the not-for-profit educator Khan Academy, software provider Renaissance Learning, and online-course operator Coursera.

Starting July 8, the free iTunes U application will be integrated more closely with the iPad, allowing teachers to create and edit courses fully on the device, using content from over 75,000 educational apps on the iPad and incorporating photos or videos using the iPad's built-in camera.

Additionally, students using iPads can ask questions, start topic discussions and collaborate using the new Discussions feature. Teachers can participate in forums, as well, and will be able to moderate discussions.