May 3, 2010
iTunes Downloads Hit Milestone
Top Five Emory iTunes Collections
5. Alice Walker
Since its launch in October 2008, people globally have downloaded nearly 6 million audio and video tracks from Emory's iTunes U site. Lectures, special events and language lessons are downloaded at a staggering average rate of 67,000 tracks a week.
Emory developed its iTunes U site as part of Apple Inc.'s larger collection of educational content, freely shared, from many of the great participating institutions around the world. The University's strategic vision to become a "destination university" had set a direction to establish Emory as a digital destination, as well.
People from more than 60 countries access Emory's materials on iTunes U. A great majority of the downloads originate from the United States, Japan, Canada, Great Britain and Germany, but there are small pockets of interest as well, ranging from Papua New Guinea to Kenya. The wealth of language materials Emory College has on iTunes U is consistently among the highest weekly downloads, with Japanese Kana, Kanji and Chinese Mandarin taking the top three collections spots.
The downloads by country are some of the only data available about users connecting with Emory's iTunes U site, and the ITunes U team wondered, "who, exactly, are we reaching?"
For one, a young Chinese-American mother studying in Guangzhou, China.
Molli Chen contacted Jose Rodriguez, technology director of the Emory College Language Center, earlier this year to express her gratitude for the Chinese language lessons she'd been downloading from Emory's iTunes U site to use for study. Chen and her family moved from Hong Kong to Guangzhou last year.
"Now that I'm here", said Chen, "I have finally decided to continue formal studies in Chinese as a second language...Your recordings are allowing me to brush up on my listening comprehension and overall abilities before I test for placement." Chen, an American living abroad in China, had never heard of Emory before her foray onto the University's iTunes U site.
Chen found the Chinese materials simply by doing a search on "Chinese" in Apple's online iTunes store and quickly found the "Chinese Beyond Emory" podcast, created by Wan-Li Ho, senior lecturer in Chinese at Emory. Chen said that "In a case like this...I just had a look at samples of the podcasts, and since I have some prior knowledge of the Chinese language, I found that the quality and content of the podcasts were just what I was hoping to find."
This act of discovery is one repeated thousands of times a day at Emory's iTunes U site. It speaks to both a global outreach and a global presence where content is shared from the Emory community to beyond our geographical bounds here in Atlanta. As Chen reflected in her e-mail on the "Emory" that she has come to know, "I have these fabulous recordings and I am very grateful for access to these podcasts. They open up a vast amount of possibilities for learning. Although my life is full of caring for my children and home, I am a lifelong student at heart. I won't give up."