When it comes to online learning, there’s a new old kid in town. iTunes U is getting a killer feature that has been sorely lacking: social. Like relatively new start-ups Codecademy and Udacity, most iTunes U will finally let you learn alongside others, ask questions, and work on things in a more collaborative environment.
But it’s not just a simple tack-on version of Apple’s Ping (RIP). Apple is partnering with a Palo Alto-based startup called Piazza (like Mike) which helps add a social layer onto learning. So whether you’re interested in iTunes U or not, the work that Piazza is doing should be checked out regardless.
About The First Course
The first iTunes U course that is getting this new social layer is, of course, the uber-popular Stanford class on iOS development. Seems like a natural fit. Registration for the course just opened a few minutes ago and will stay open until July 6th. So if you’re itching to learn about cutting-edge technology while using cutting-edge technology, this is for you. The course runs from June 25 to August 27. If you’re on the fence, there’s an extra carrot to register: the first 1,000 students to register will be able to have the apps they develop evaluated for being given a prime spot on Stanford’s iTunes U website.
Available To You
The good news is that the social learning tools are available for ALL courses on iTunes U. So it’s now a free, socially-enabled, robust learning platform that has seen more than 700 million downloads. Hard to argue with that.
If you’re looking to take your classroom lectures and presentations online to share them with the world, this new development out of iTunes U could be just what you’ve been waiting for.
From Piazza (Marketing Speech Ahoy!)
For the first time, Stanford’s most celebrated iTunes U course includes peer collaboration, so you can learn alongside fellow mobile developers from around the world. If you’ve tried it alone and gotten stuck, now there will be people to help. If you’ve taken it before and aced it, now you can sharpen your knowledge by helping others. And if you’ve been meaning to learn Apps for iPhone & iPad, there may never be a better time.
We call this experiment Coding Together. It’s free, and it’s going on from June 25 through August 16. We think it will be fun, and you’re invited to join.
Coding Together uses Piazza, the same social learning platform that Stanford students use in the on-campus version of the class. You’ll follow along with Professor Hegarty’s lectures and complete the assignments in time with the class. Got a question? Ask on Piazza and one of your peers will help — probably within minutes. Stanford Course Captains are there to facilitate discussion and make sure questions get answered accurately.
There are no grades in Coding Together, but if you’re one of the first 1,000 people to register and you sign into Piazza regularly, your final project will be considered for special mention by Stanford and Apple.
To participate in Coding Together, you must register to create your Piazza account between June 18 and July 6.
- Class is in session from June 25 through August 16. The class will use Professor Hegarty’s materials from Fall 2011.
- You’ll complete assignments in time with the class schedule.
- Students are expected to help answer their peers’ questions on Piazza. Course Captains will prioritize questions that students have tried to answer and will focus on questions that pertain to the current week’s assignments, so you’ll need to keep up with the work.
- Assignments are ungraded, and there is no course credit for this class. Our goal is to extend the educational experience already provided on iTunes U by adding facilitated peer learning. If you’re one of the first 1,000 people to register and you log into Piazza at least once per week during the class, we’ll evaluate your final project — if it’s a real application — for possible promotion on the App Store and iTunes U.
- Trolls and spammers will be banned from the class without warning or recourse.