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Apple accepts ACU into the iTunes U content distribution system

June 1, 2006

Apple Computers has granted approval for Abilene Christian University's inclusion in Apple's iTunes U, allowing ACU to post a variety of ACU-oriented content, including course materials, on the Apple iTunes U content distribution system.

ACU is one of only 100 institutions selected for the first implementation of iTunes U, and only one of two universities in Texas so far. "ACU was selected from applicants because we are considered by Apple to be a showcase school; an example institution that personifies innovation and progressive application of technology," said Dr. Gary Tucker, director of distance education. "ACU will use iTunes U institutionally, and the ACU WorldWide program will also benefit greatly."

The university will utilize iTunes U content distribution system to share a wide spectrum of mind-broadening information related to activities on campus, plus it will use the Apple system to post coursework for ACU's online distance education program, ACU WorldWide.

Both ACU and Apple are part of the New Media Consortium, an international not-for-profit consortium of nearly 200 leading colleges, universities, museums, corporations and other learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. "We're both leaders in innovation and creativity in learning," Tucker said. For more information about the New Media Consortium, go to http://www.nmc.org/about/more.shtml.

ACU WorldWide is the university's recently launched program offering two master's degree programs online and utilizing Apple's Video iPod technology as an educational tool to download and access study materials at the convenience of the iPod user. It's a new level of online learning designed to empower the busy professional.

"Through the unique integration of dedicated instructors, innovative curriculum, and fresh technology, we provide a quality experience designed to enhance your personal success," Tucker said.

Being a part of iTunes U makes it very easy for ACU to offer a wide variety of course materials available for download and use by students.

"You download content into different sections of iTunes called playlists, which can be audio or video. It gives students a lot of control to use their course materials anywhere," said Vonn Miller, ACU's Apple account executive. "The growth potential with what people are doing with iPods is exponential."

ACU's presence on the iTunes U content distribution system opens significant doors in the digital learning environment. Dr. Carol Williams, dean of ACU's graduate school, said, "We will be able to put podcasts of university events and special lectures on the website, and alumni and friends from around the world can subscribe to these podcasts for free."

She explained that information specific to individual classes on the iTunes U content distribution system will be behind a password so only students can access that information, while general university materials will be available to the general public by subscription. See http://www.apple.com/education/solutions/podcasting/ for more information about podcasting.

The two master's programs currently offered are a master's degree in Leadership of Learning and a master's degree in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation.

"Both of these new degrees aim to further our mission of educating for Christian service and leadership," Williams said. "Whether teaching people to be peacemakers in the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation degree or helping school personnel to nurture children's minds in a safe and caring environment in the Leadership of Learning degree, the courses will infuse Christian ethics and values throughout."

The Master of Education in Leadership of Learning is a 39-hour online degree program designed to empower educational leaders who promote instruction in safe and productive learning environments. The 36-hour Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation exposes students to theory and skill development experiences while learning multiple perspectives on conflict and developing a creative foundation for problem solving.

A 15-hour graduate certificate in conflict resolution is also available for individuals who are not seeking a master's degree yet desire specialized education in conflict management.

Online registration is now open, but course work doesn't start until the 2006 fall semester. The enrollment process begins at worldwide.acu.edu.

Inquiries are coming in from around the world, Williams said.

"As Abilene Christian University enters its second century, we are affirming our commitment to lifelong learning," Tucker said. “Understanding that today's graduate students face a complex world of challenges and clashing ideologies that place unprecedented demands on time and personal resources, ACU is dedicated to meeting specific needs by providing new innovative technologically-advanced services."

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