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Colleges enthused as iTunes classes go live

There's a pretty high level of excitement flowing from Thursday's arrival of the iTunes U app. Harvard University is now adding its science + cooking lectures from its school of Engineering and Science for what will likely be an interesting public offering. Titles like 'Olive Oil and Viscosity' and 'Meat Glue Mania' sound intriguing.

Anyone with an iPad or iPhone can use the app and access the free classes on iTunes U. Having this new standalone app should be a boon to users and educators. The Inside Higher Ed website is highlighting material from Harrisburg Community College, where there are free courses in differential equations and astronomy. It's the first iTunes U offering from a community college.

Apple approached some major educational institutions last year to start preparing the courses, and the app contains content from places like Duke, Cornell and Yale universities. Older versions of iTunes U, introduced in 2006, offered audio and video podcasts, but this new app provides self-contained courses allowing users to download handouts and worksheets they can reference while listening to a recorded lecture.

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