Apple reported today that iTunes U — its catalog of educational files on iTunes — has topped 300 million downloads following a flurry of new content.
The section now offers more than 350,000 audio and video files from over 800 universities across the world. Most recently, schools from Japan, China, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Singapore have added content to the collection.
Currently, well-known schools like MIT, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford use iTunes U to make their course content freely available to the public. It’s an easy way for curious iTunes users to brush up on specific topics, and it also gives prospective students a glance at the sort of education these schools offer. For students of the schools, it’s also an easy way to get course material — including presentations shown in class, or even lectures in podcast form. Content from iTunes U can be viewed on Mac and PC computers, as well as on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Many schools choose to adopt iTunes U because it allows them to offer content through an interface students already know, and it means they don’t have to rely on an internal content management system as much. Expect to see even more schools jumping on services like iTunes U over the next few years as they look for ways to engage with a more tech-savvy student population.