With Apple’s announcement of its iTunes U app, educators now have access to over 100 free, online courses. Duke has contributed the Open Chemistry materials – created by Professor Stephen Craig and his colleagues in Duke’s Chemistry Department – to the iTunes U course collection.

Duke’s work with the iTunes U app is a continuation of ongoing experimentation with new technologies for creating and delivering educational content. For example, the Duke School of Nursing is using e-textbooks delivered via the Kno, Inc. app as part of Prof. Sharon Hawk’s exploration of iPads for clinical training.  Last year, Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) supported Prof. Dave Johnston in his development of a digital multimedia textbook about marine mammals. Johnston worked with students from a Duke Computer Science course to turn his textbook into the Cachalot app and developed course activities where students use iPads for underwater acoustics visualization using a hydrophone and audio subsystem.  The CIT previously hosted faculty events featuring speakers from Flat World Knowledge and Connexions, both publishers of open-access textbooks.

We look forward to further experimentation with the new iTunes U app in the weeks ahead. Instructors who are interested in learning more about e-textbooks, online courses, open-access course materials and uses of mobile devices in education can contact the Center for Instruction at cit@duke.edu.

Note:  The Duke University Open Chemistry project was made possible with support from Duke University’s Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Office of Information Technology, the Center for Instructional Technology, the Duke Libraries and the Department of Chemistry.

The course materials are drawn from digital open educational resources that have been created and made freely available by educators and students from around the world. We acknowledge and are grateful for their collective efforts, which are credited individually within the collection. A team of Duke University chemists curated open educational resources and developed additional materials to teach chemistry, with support from instructional technology, information technology and library staff.

Lynne O Brien, Ph.D.

Lynne O'Brien is Director of Academic Technology and Instructional Services for Perkins Library at Duke University. She works with faculty, librarians, campus IT planners and academic technology groups around the country to develop programs to support the use of technology in teaching and research initiatives. Her interests include strategic planning for libraries and for academic technology, open access and open source educational materials and mobile learning.

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