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Frequently Asked Questions

USERS

What is iTunes U?
iTunes U is a free hosted content distribution system from Apple that enables colleges and universities to make audio and video material from lectures, interviews, audio books and other sources available to students with the ease of the iTunes Store. It allows users to download the content to their Mac or PC, transfer the information to a portable device and view or listen to it anywhere and at any time. Apple offers an introductory video for more information.
What is Texas A&M on iTunes U?
Texas A&M on iTunes U is a university-wide educational site that provides educational, marketing, and service content using a multi-media experience (video, audio, and PDF) that appeals to the user's mobile lifestyle (MP3 Player, iPod/iPod Touch, iPhone).
Who uses Texas A&M iTunes U?
Texas A&M students, faculty and staff download podcasts from iTunes U. Our service is also open to the general public. Future and former students are also connecting with Texas A&M through iTunes U.
Do I need an Apple computer to use this site?
No, you may listen to or view podcasts using a Microsoft Windows based personal computer by installing the free iTunes software.
Do I need an iPod or iPhone to synch podcasts to a mobile device?
If you have a non-Apple MP3 player you will not be able to play .mp4 AAC files. To re-encode the AAC (.mp4) files into MP3 format, download the content into your iTunes application. Next, in the iTunes preferences, click on the "Advanced" icon and navigate to the "Importing" tab. Then select "MP3 Encoder" in the import using menu. Finally, highlight the file(s) that you wish to convert, go to the Advanced menu, and click on "Convert Selection to .mp3."
Is there a fee to use Texas A&M on iTunes U?
No, the podcasts and iTunes software are available at no charge, including the school songs and valuable educational content.
How do I get started?
First, make sure you have the most current version of iTunes installed on your Mac or PC computer. To download the application, visit www.apple.com/itunes/download/. Also make sure that you are running the most current update of your system software. Next, launch the iTunes application and click on "iTunes Store" in the source list. Select "iTunes U" in the top left navigation area, and click on "Texas A&M University" on the resulting page. Alternatively, you can go directly to our iTunes U page at itunes.tamu.edu.

CONTRIBUTORS

Who can distribute podcasts via Texas A&M on iTunes U?
Current Texas A&M faculty, staff, and student organizations from the College Station, Qatar, and Galveston campuses can distribute content to Texas A&M on iTunes U.
What are the advantages of iTunes U over other venues?
iTunes U provides mobile learning and access. Many current, former, and future students already visit the iTunes Store to download music and video into their iPods or iPhones.
What type of content can be uploaded to Texas A&M on iTunes U?
Educational content, informational podcasts, campus services and resources, news, and topics of interest to the general public are some of the options. Content must:
  1. Reflect the Aggie Code of Honor
  2. Contain no profanity
  3. Comply with all copyright laws

See User's Terms for more information.

Can access to my content be restricted to certain users?
No, all content on Texas A&M on iTunes U is publicly accessed. If you would like to restrict access to your content, consider using Media Matrix from Internet Media Services.
Do I need special software to allow users to view my podcasts?
No, your content can be downloaded automatically, using an RSS feed.
What is an RSS feed?
RSS is a file format used to publish updated digital content, such as podcasts.
Where is my content stored?
Manually-uploaded content is placed directly on the Apple server. Content uploaded through a Smart Feed is pulled from your server via RSS feeds and uploaded automatically to the Apple server. This option allows your content to appear in iTunes U as well as residing on your own servers.
How do I contribute content?
College Station faculty, staff and student organizations may upload content to iTunes U by providing an RSS feed to the podcasts hosted on their websites. iTunes U creates and populates collection page information based on RSS feeds hosted on your servers. Please email itunes@tamu.edu with the name of your collection, suggested artwork, a brief description, URLs and the RSS feed to your podcasts. NOTE: If you need help with hosting your podcasts and setting up an RSS feed, please contact Internet Media Services to set up an account on MediaMatrix. MediaMatrix can provide a public RSS feed to populate your collection on iTunes U.
Is podcast training available?
Yes, free monthly podcasting workshops are available to Texas A&M College Station faculty, staff, and student organizations. For more information on these workshops and individual consulting, please visit Instructional Technology Services. Faculty may contact Internet Media Services for assistance with creating a podcast.
What format is required for iTunes U?
Audio — AAC, MP3, with .m4a, .mp3 extensions
  • Data Rate: 128kbits/sec
  • Channels: Stereo Output
  • Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz
  • Encoding Quality: Better
Video — MPEG-4, H.264 with .mp4, .m4v, .mov file extensions.
  • File type H.264 will work best with iPods for those of you anticipating that your files will be downloaded to an iPod.
  • Data rate: 256 kbits/sec
  • Image size: 320 x 240
  • Frame Rate: 30
  • Key Frame: every 24 frames
PDFs — .pdf extension

For those who are hosting their content on Apple servers, the individual file size limit has been increased from 500MB to 1GB. This will enable the upload of larger files.

How do I convert a DVD video to the MP4 format required by iTunes U?
To convert files using your own computer, several application software programs are available such as Hand Brake. Please consult with your IT representative. Internet Media Services provides free transfer services if the content is related to course material or promoting your educational program.
Individual faculty and Texas A&M retain all ownership rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property of the content uploaded to Texas A&M on iTunes U. Apple has the right to store Texas A&M content that is uploaded to Apple servers and to serve Texas A&M content through the Texas A&M on iTunes U site. Apple also has the option to use Texas A&M public content for promotional, marketing, and demonstration purposes. More information is available in the iTunes U Terms of Use agreement.
Do I need a Media Release from participants in my audio or video podcast?
Yes, you will need a signed Media Release Form (PDF) from all participants. This step is especially important if you are recording students. There is a similar release for guest speakers (PDF).
Where can faculty, staff, and students check out iPods and video cameras for viewing and creating podcasts?
Educational Media Services Department (EdMS), located on the 4th floor, Library Annex, Evans Library, offers iPods and video cameras for check out.
How do I create accessible iTunes U content?
The National Center for Accessible Media has created guidelines for content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media, including:
  • Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as needed.
  • Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or listening.
  • Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files.
  • Accessible PDFs.

Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create content that all people can learn from including those with vision and hearing impairments.

To access the Creating Accessible iTunes U Content guidelines document and related media, see Creating Accessible iTunes U Content on iTunes.