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We most often hear about how many music tracks have been downloaded from the iTunes Store, but Apple has reached a milestone of a different kind: one billion pieces of educational content have been downloaded from iTunes U.

Apple's iTunes U delivers free educational content from a range of organisations around the world. Prominent participants include Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and Yale Universities, the Palace of Versailles, CERN, the Tate Gallery, and the Smithsonian.

Closer to home, there's the ANU, Bond University, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, and others.

According to Apple, more than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts host over 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more.

Some individual courses have attracted more than 100,000 enrolments, and both Stanford University and the Open University have passed the 60 million download mark.

University of California, Irvine Professor Dan Stokols presents a course on Environmental Psychology on iTunes U that enrols over 170,000 students. "Because of iTunes U, I have been able to introduce students and colleagues in China to research on the links between chronic multi-tasking, information overload and stress; discuss research publications and degree programs with students in Europe; and exchange information about the influence of neighbourhood design on community levels of physical activity and obesity with students in Australia.

"The opportunity to impact so many students who are gaining interest in environmental psychology by taking my free course on iTunes U has been highly rewarding and gratifying for me as an educator and learner."

iTunes U courses can be created in 30 countries and accessed in 155 countries, along with other iTunes U content.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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