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iTunes U graduates into separate iOS app

Announced today at Apple's education event, iTunes U -- a long-standing feature of the iTunes Store -- is now a separate application (universal) for iOS devices running iOS 5.

Since 2006, iTunes U has been a way to electronically distribute class lectures. Both Berkeley and Stanford have released courses on iTunes U, as have many other schools. Now, the iTunes U app offers lectures from a wide variety of high-powered schools, plus more.

Apple demonstrated a course overview, required credits, a syllabus, and office hours this morning. We also saw a place for posts from teachers so there's an easy way to update the class, and a spot where students can take notes. Tapping on an assignment automagically takes a student straight to the specific materials in iBooks, and there's even a task list for students to cross off items as they are completed.

iTunes U is a free application for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, available now.

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