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A spirit that is not afraid

Classes tuned in for iTunes

Universities all across the county are moving to a new beat as they incorporate evolving technology into the classroom.

Auburn professors can now deliver recorded lectures and other information to their students through podcasts using a new program called Authenticated AU iTunes.

Students seem to like the idea of iTunes being used more in the classroom.

"It would be a great idea for professors to use podcasts for their lectures, because it would allow students to better understand what their professors are talking about," said Chris Hawkins, a sophomore in physical education. "It would be better than using a tape recorder, because the quality of sound would be at a higher level."

iTunes began providing schools with mobile education when it launched iTunes University, a section of the iTunes Store that gives students access to audio books, lectures and other educational information.

Professors using podcasts through Authenticated AU iTunes can send content only to students in their class sections. They can create both audio and video podcasts and can also convert PowerPoint presentations with narration to podcasts.

Professors can also edit their podcasts to get rid of unwanted sounds like coughing, background noise and pauses.

Students can view their professors' podcasts by clicking AU iTunes under My Courses in AU Access. They can only view podcasts for classes in which they are enrolled, but can subscribe to their professors podcasts so the podcasts added by their professors are downloaded to the student's iTunes automatically.

Students can use these podcasts to download anything from class lectures they miss, from symphonies for music classes to lessons to excel in foreign languages.

In French Phonetics and Diction, a class taught by associate professor Pamela Paine, students are given CDs at the beginning of the year to import to their iTunes. The class, which focuses on improving French accents, uses iTunes to listen to native French speakers and repeat phrases with a correct accent.

"It is really helpful to listen to certain words and sentences pronounced on iTunes so that I can practice speaking at home whenever I want," said Rachel Naftel, a student in the class and political science major.

Music appreciation students also use iTunes to listen to the music of composers from different time periods. It is helpful because students are able to rewind, fast-forward and pause as much as necessary to understand all they need to know about the music.

Before Auburn is able to use iTunes and podcasts more widely like other schools, faculty must learn the ropes of the program.

Though many college students of this generation have been raised using computers and becoming acquainted with complicated technology, Dawn Browning, school psychologist, said some professors struggle to learn how to use iTunes for the classroom. To overcome this obstacle, Browning presented a program to teach faculty how to appropriately use iTunes and podcasts on PCs and Macs.

"The program included several 20-minute sessions during which faculty could practice podcasting and obtain help doing so correctly," Browning said.

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