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OU Launches Bold New Digital Initiative

The Core

mn/10-15-12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          
CONTACT: Erin Yarbrough, (405) 325-0206

Norman – The University of Oklahoma has launched an exciting digital initiative embracing digital technologies to create an even more dynamic classroom experience for its students.

The One University digital initiative will utilize iTunes U to promote dynamic learning experiences, enhance services to students, tap the creativity of OU research, build OU’s national and international brand as an innovative university, and implement investments in OU’s information technology infrastructure to enable the widespread use of technology in the future.

This bold new initiative captures the opportunities brought by new technologies to individualize and improve the educational outcomes for the students who fill our classrooms.  President Boren has challenged OU’s academic community to broadly implement technology through videos and dynamic online course materials.  This will allow for more time in the classroom and laboratory for discussion, student engagement, hands-on experiences, active peer learning, and undergraduate research.  In this digital age, an OU education can be more unique, more individualized, and more powerful than ever.  OU’s role as a leader in the implementation of emerging technologies and commitment to dynamic classroom instruction will distinguish its digital initiative from those of other universities.

Strategic partnerships will be a hallmark of OU’s digital initiative.  iTunes U offers a unique opportunity to create global access to OU and opens new opportunities for using online content to enhance the traditional classroom experience.  As additional popular content continues to become available to the public through iTunes U, access to this content continues to rise as well.   People from over 30 different countries have accessed OU content via iTunes U.  The University will continually make additional content available to the public through iTunes U, allowing unprecedented access to many of the University’s finest academic resources.

“We are extremely excited about using iTunes U to share OU programs,” said OU President David Boren. “iTunes U gives us the best way to make educational opportunities available to our students through our digital education initiatives.”
 
Along with exceptional lectures, guest speakers and courses being offered on itunes.ou.edu, students are now taking advantage of this public stage to promote their programs, future careers and passions. Currently being featured on the iTunes U homepage is OU’s “Talking Up A Storm” series on weather-related content from the Oklahoma Weather Lab (OWL).  OWL is a student organization on the Norman campus that allows current students the opportunity to produce weather forecasts for the world. As one of the most successful videos on OU iTunes U, this collection has been downloaded more than 250 times each week in the past three months and offers students a new way to teach, learn and showcase their talents.

Now available on iTunes U is OU’s “Freedom 101,” a series featuring some of OU’s outstanding professors delivering short, 15-minute lectures on various themes in American constitutional history.  In conjunction with this series, “The Story of Freedom in America,” an 18-lecture course will soon be released featuring the late Dr. J. Rufus Fears, whose career as a classics and letters professor was nationally renowned. They were taped by Dr. Fears prior to his untimely death.  These lectures will be featured on the website freedom.ou.edu.

Additional iTunes U lectures, guest speakers, courses and more from OU feature the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, the Institute for American Constitutional Heritage and more.
Demonstrating the University’s simultaneous focus on dynamic classroom experiences, the University established its first active learning classroom, call “The Core,” which is being utilized by a full schedule of classes this fall.

As part of this overall digital initiative, the University will also implement additional pilot programs to explore the educational benefits of using iPads in the classroom.  The OU Athletics Department is currently exploring the use of iPads to enhance the academic experience for student athletes.  The iPad offers the opportunity to offer iBooks to students as a more portable and lower cost alternative to textbooks.  iBooks are being developed across campus including “A Living Library,” from the History of Science Collection. This is an engaging and dynamic iBook featuring some of the University’s most historic texts, including works by Galileo and Copernicus.  The University will also create its first iPad app to offer additional services to students.

For more information, please visit itunes.ou.edu, freedom.ou.edu and http://bit.ly/OneUniversity.

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