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Apple's iTunes U Apps Top 1B Downloads

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) continues to put out more press releases this year, perhaps in an effort to change public opinion. The latest one shows that iTunes U content downloads have topped 1 billion.

The company said more than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts are now hosting over 2,500 public and thousands of private courses as a result of iTunes U. Such universities as Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford are leading the way, with more than 100,000 students enrolled in single iTunes U courses.

"It's inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U," said Apple's Eddy Cue in a press release. "With the incredible content offered on iTunes U, students can learn like never before; there are now iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them, which is a phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn."

Here is the press release in its entirety:

Apple® today announced that iTunes U® content downloads have topped one billion. iTunes U features the world's largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums and organizations helping educators create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and more for iOS users around the world.

"It's inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "With the incredible content offered on iTunes U, students can learn like never before―there are now iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them, which is a phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn."

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. Leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford continue to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University each surpassing 60 million content downloads. The Ohio State University's Matthew "Dr. Fus" Stoltzfus' General Chemistry course enrolled over 100,000 iTunes U students in the first year it was offered.

"The interest my iTunes U course receives from non-college students is overwhelming," said Professor Stoltzfus. "I've been working with high school teachers who use my iTunes U material to prepare to teach their own classes, high school students all over the world who are leveraging the course to tutor their fellow classmates, even retirees who download my iTunes U course to stay intellectually active."

Over 60 percent of iTunes U app downloads originate from outside the US, giving schools of any size the ability to share their content with a worldwide audience. The unmatched global reach of iTunes U gives educators, like University of California, Irvine Professor Dan Stokols, international recognition and acclaim in their fields. "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 neighborhood design on community levels of physical activity and obesity with students in Australia," said Professor Stokols, whose Environmental Psychology course enrolls over 170,000 students on iTunes U. "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."

"I see success unfolding before me on a daily basis," says Chrissy Boydstun, a teacher from Mansfield Independent School District in Texas which provides each of their over 10,000 high school students and faculty with an iPad®. "Students are engaged and working hard as they use the incredible amount of information at their fingertips in a way that is meaningful and impactful. I love the way iTunes U provides a roadmap to take students beyond what a typical lesson or lecture could achieve."

Educators can create iTunes U courses in 30 countries including recent additions: Brazil, South Korea, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. These courses, and other education content, can be accessed via the iTunes U app in 155 countries. In addition to thousands of individual iTunes U learning materials, over 75,000 educational apps are now available for iOS devices on the App Store℠. Additionally, with the free iBooks® Author app on the Mac® App Store, writers and publishers continue to bring ideas and stories to life sharing more than 10,000 original Multi-Touch¿ books with the world.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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