Delivering unprecedented access to learning through podcasting as OER, but who's listening? A profile of the external iTunes U user

Rosell-Aguilar, Fernando (2013). Delivering unprecedented access to learning through podcasting as OER, but who's listening? A profile of the external iTunes U user. Computers & Education, 67 pp. 121–129.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.03.008

Abstract

Little is known about the learners who download iTunes U resources but do not belong to the Higher Education institutions that provide them. This paper presents the first full profile of the external iTunes U learner and their practices and opinions of the materials they download. The data was gathered through a large survey (over 2000 responses) carried out over two years using the iTunes U site from The Open University. It shows that external iTunes U learners are very different from the internal users and practices described in the literature so far: there are more men than women, mostly middle-aged, and they use the resources mostly for personal reasons. Despite the fact that respondents used the iTunes U site from a distance university, the paper argues that the respondents are comparable to external learners who use resources from other iTunes U sites. This profile of the iTunes U user provides a clearer picture of the target listener and can help inform and improve the materials design and delivery strategies for iTunes U as an independent learning tool and Open Educational Resources (OER) in general. The article also proposes areas for further research and argues for more studies into external learners' use of podcasting resources.

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