From the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required):
Stanford University unveiled an arrangement with Apple Computer on Thursday that makes hundreds of Stanford podcasts available free to anyone through the company’s popular iTunes Music Store. The podcasts include lectures by the university’s professors, music from its students, and play-by-play descriptions of its football games.
Though several professors at other institutions have posted individual lectures to iTunes’ directory of podcasts over the past few months, Stanford is the first university to make an institutional commitment to offering podcasts through the Apple music hub. Apple officials say they are also working with other colleges that want to use iTunes as a repository for both academic and extracurricular materials.
“We’ve used the iTunes store as a service to distribute their intellectual content,” said John Couch, Apple’s vice president for education.
Apple essentially gave Stanford its own section of the iTunes store, which anyone with the free iTunes software can visit by pointing a Web browser to http://itunes.stanford.edu
So far about 400 audio files are available on the service, called Stanford on iTunes. Examples include a lecture on speech disorders that was given as part of a series on public health, a talk on “Sex, Lies, and the Theatre: Shakespeare for Today” given last year during the university’s reunion, and a talk about technology given as part of the Stanford Aurora Forum. Stanford officials said they planned to add more material regularly.
It’s surprising that universities have been so slow to adopt this new form of channeling information and messages to their communities. Stanford is sending a clear and positive message here in regards to podcasting.