iHarvard: The University Goes Online

Harvard launched its own channel yesterday on iTunes U, a part of the online store that provides largely free access to educational materials. It joined other educational heavyweights distributing knowledge to the masses.

As of this afternoon, the majority of the material posted on the channel consisted of informational videos and recordings of public lectures and events. Overscheduled Harvard students can now watch John F. Kennedy Forum events as a means of procrastination.

The new channel also provides access to Michael Sandel's collaboration with PBS, the 12 episode version of his massively popular course, Moral Reasoning 22: Justice. And it's free!

Along with Sandel's erudition, you can also find an enlightening podcast from the Kuumba singers on how to join their e-mail list.

But administrators say they plan to expand the channel's offerings to include more lectures. Currently, only Justice is available.

"For the launch we focused primarily on public events and lectures," Perry Hewitt, the University's director of digital communications and communications services, wrote in an e-mail. "We will be adding more content, including some lectures, in the coming months and we hope to add more in the future by working with people across Harvard's schools, institutes, and centers."

Other universities offer a wide selection of courses on their iTunes U channels with audio recordings on a whole host of topics. Yale, for example, offers courses like "The American Novel since 1945", "Introduction to Political Philsophy," and a course on Milton. MIT also outshines Harvard as far as online course offerings go. Our nerdy neighbor offers a range of complicated sounding science courses.

Here's to hoping Harvard catches up.

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