University joins hands with Internet media outlets

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    The university has partnered with three independent media outlets to publicize campus news and information, an official for the Center for Instructional Services said.

    Jess Price, media producer for CIS, said the university has officially adopted Web sites with YouTube, Twitter and iTunes U to keep people connected to the school.

    Twitter is a free social networking and blogging site.

    Price said people can go to the Web site to sign up to receive university news either through the Web site or through their cell phones.

    Price has put up videos of current activities on campus, guest speaker videos and visual tour clips on YouTube.com/TCU.

    Price said YouTube.com/TCU and Twitter.com/TCU are already active, but the school has not officially started promoting these sites. So far there are more than 60 subscribers for Twitter.com/TCU and 20 subscribers for YouTube.com/TCU.

    Shawn Kornegay, assistant director of communications, said the communication landscape is changing and TCU is keeping up with the trend to interactively reach various groups at TCU such as faculty, students, perspective students and alumni.

    Price said iTunes U uses the iTunes platform as a portal that collects course podcasts from instructors.

    Other universities such as Stanford University and Duke University have already launched iTunes U where students can download podcasts for many courses.

    Compared to YouTube and Twitter, iTunes U takes longer to launch, Price said, because it requires more technology support.

    Price said the school plans to use all three outlets as marketing tools at first, but iTunes U can be used as a distant learning tool. He said the university may launch iTunes U in the spring.

    Kornegay said iTunes U will not feature podcasts for all courses, but notable, interesting research or selected courses will be considered.

    Price said it will take some time for professors and instructors to adjust to the concept and learn to record lectures and put them online. So far, there are nearly 20 existing podcasts that can be transferred to the iTunes U platform, he said.

    Doug Ingram, instructor of physics and astronomy, said he has been watching astronomy lectures from other universities on iTunes U to see how the other professors are teaching the same subject.

    He said he would consider podcasting his lectures on iTunes U, but added there is not enough time to record all the lectures as there are many other priorities.

    Ingram said iTunes U is a great application as long as students view it as a supplement instead of a substitute of their courses.

    Jennifer Lockett, adjunct instructor of anthropology, said she is a fan of technology education and has offered her podcasts online for students to download since last spring.

    She said she feared poor attendance once students knew they could download lectures online, but students still came to class and engaged in classroom activities.

    Lockett said students from other schools even contacted her through podcasting and those who have never heard of TCU started getting information from her courses. “It’s just a way to get TCU recognized,” Lockett said.

    Lockett said iTunes U is a much more accessible tool to demonstrate to the community what the university has to offer.

    Phil Hartman, professor of biology, said many students videotape his lectures, which he encourages.

    Hartman said he is in favor of using iTunes U, but students need to use the tool to their own benefit.

    “It’s good for serious students because they will ultimately take advantage of the course,” Hartman said. “But some students might abuse it too.”