Thursday, June 28, 2007

iTunes U

As this project gets rolling, one of my challenges is to get acquainted with the various digital efforts going on at Duke, both at The Chronicle, but also throughout the campus. I was thinking about this a couple weeks ago, when I got this random email from the Duke alumni association:

If you want to keep up with what's happening at Duke, check out iTunes U, your electronic campus. Duke is now one of 16 universities whose content makes up the new iTunes U section of the iTunes store. You can find audio and video of major speakers, student-made movies, music, news, or a wealth of other topics.

I just got the video iPod for xMas and I've been a true convert, after years of being an Apple skeptic and clinging tightly to my antiquated portable CD player. In particular, it really got me much more tuned into the podcasting phenomenon. My 30GB player is regularly filled with audio and video podcasts. So I went to check out Duke's iTunes site, and it's pretty impressive. It seems that you don't really need to be at Duke anymore to experience life at Duke.

I'm sure I'll spend hours exploring a lot of these offerings. But there's a couple off the bat that caught my eye. Duke's iTunes page highlighted a video series called "Froshlife." I watched one of the videos based at Aycock dorm, one of the places I used to live. The videos are shot and directed by freshmen (first years?), and the quality is very good. I suspected that new students at Duke must have a high media literacy rate, and this certainly bolsters that idea.

The other item I checked out was, an audio news feature produced by the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. It reminded me that The Chronicle, or even student TV station Cable 13 or radio station WXDU don't have monopoly on news gathering and production on campus. Everyone is getting in on the act.

Still, I would love to see something that functions as a hub for this incredible breadth of activity. I wonder how many people on campus are generally aware of all these efforts? Or whether they're all taking place in isolation? If that's the case, there's certainly an opening for a newsroom or media center that could serve as a unifying force for all this media creation and participation.

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