What is it?

iTunes is a free software product of Apple Inc. that is at once a multimedia library, a podcast subscription tool and a management tool for Apple iPod equipment. It is available for download from Apple for Macintosh and Windows. Through its link to the Apple iTunes Store, it provides free access to thousands of podcasts as well as to an ever-growing library of commercial audio and video content, such as songs, television shows and movies, that are available for purchase and download.

Key Features
  • Management of digital audio and video content in an easy-to-search library
  • Easy importing of audio tracks from your legally-owned audio CDs
  • Integration with iTunes Store for download of free and purchased content directly into iTunes
  • Podcast subscription tool to check for and download new podcasts automatically to your local computer
  • Direct playback of audio and video content on the computer – no iPod required
  • Easy synchronization of the iTunes Library with an iPod device
  • Creation of custom playlists to organize content and share easily with others
  • Configuration of settings for an associated iPod device to allow the use of the iPod as a hard drive and more
  • Ability to add metadata for digital content, along with album art and lyrics
  • Built-in tools to convert digital audio and video content from one format to another (such as converting an audio file in WAV format to MP3 format)
Who uses it?

iTunes has become one of the most ubiquitous tools for managing and purchasing multimedia content. Through it, Apple has become one of the major players in the entertainment industry by making commercial and audio video content available for easy purchase, download and synchronization to an iPod device. Since iTunes is required to set up an iPod device, the software is now installed on many computers in schools and academic institutions that are using iPods for instructional programs. Any user who wishes to move content onto and off of an iPod will need to have access to a computer with iTunes installed.

How does it work?

You begin by downloading a copy of the free software program to your desktop and running an installation program. Once you have done that, you can start to build your library of audio tracks, podcasts and even videos. You can do this by importing audio CDs, downloading free content, purchasing content from the iTunes store, or creating original audio and video recordings that can be added to the iTunes library. If you have created voice memos (recordings) using an iPod and microphone attachment, you can use iTunes to import them into your library and add titles and other descriptive labels to the files before uploading them to a course space.

Things to Consider Before Using iTunes
  • You need to have administrative rights on your computer to install downloaded software, so you may need to ask your technical support staff member for assistance with the installation process or for upgrades to the software.
  • Apple issues frequent updates to the iTunes software; you should try to keep your version current, especially if you are using iTunes to manage an iPod device.
  • Although you do not need to have an iPod to use iTunes and play back audio and video content in its Library, you do need to have iTunes to transfer content to an iPod.
  • Setup of a free Apple account is required to download free and purchased content from the iTunes Store.
  • Network access is required to take advantage of the podcast subscription features and to acquire content via the iTunes Store.
  • Content purchased from the iTunes Store may have DRM (digital rights management) protection to prevent unauthorized users from playing it.
  • Residents of the United States may purchase content only from the United States iTunes Store, not from iTunes Stores in other countries.

Uses as an Instructional Technology

Although iTunes is a consumer market tool not designed directly for academic use, its features still have many uses in supporting the creation and use of instructional media content.

Prepare Digital Audio and Video for Use By a Course or Academic Group
  • Convert audio and video files created with other tools to the format needed for iPod playback, to allow students to review materials when away from their computer
  • Import voice memos created on your iPod for re-use as course materials
  • Add title, genre, album and other metadata information that will help students organize and easily retrieve their course materials
Enrich audio course materials with enhanced features
  • Add images as album art to audio tracks to provide accompanying visuals
  • Add the text of lyrics to audio tracks to provide more support for learners who benefit from listening and reading at the same time
Share instructional content with students and colleagues
  • Post links to your podcasts in the iTunes Store podcast directory
  • If you want your students to buy certain recordings for your course (such as specific performances of a vocal work, foreign language songs used in class activities, etc.), you can easily set up a playlist of tracks that they can purchase directly from the iTunes Store
Organize and enhance your use of in-class multimedia content with an iPod
  • Subscribe to audio and video podcasts that you can play back in the classroom
  • Set up playlists to organize the audio and video content you plan to play back or display in the classroom by day, week, theme or topic
  • Select folders of images to transfer to the iPod for classroom display

Resources at The College of Wooster

  • iTunes is available for use in most computer labs and most classrooms on campus.
  • Assistance using the advanced features of itunes is available from Instructional Technology.
  • Click here for documentation on iTunes

The content on this page was derived from webpages maintained by the Duke University Center for Instructional Technology