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A collection of educational videos from the University of Alicante has been top rated in iTunes U courses

This is the first collection of “educational nuggets” (PUAs) offers open access to the contents of a full training course

Alicante, 28 March 2014

For the first time,  iTunes highlights in its front site page a collection of free online courses from the University of Alicante. Specifically, the Python Course for Scientists and Engineers, by Juan Luis Cano, reached last week the 3rd place in the list of top courses in the iTunes U portal that Apple has developed to provide open access to materials from a large number of universities and higher education centres worldwide.

The University of Alicante is one of the pioneering centres in this regard, as it provides content in this space since 2010 with short educational videos, recently called “educational nuggets”.

These short educational-focused recordings, with enclosed format and a maximum of 8 minutes long, are characterised by the ability to coordinate the recording of the teaching discourse and the multimedia expositional presentation. According to the Vice President for Information Technology, Francisco Macia, ”it is a process that follows the renewal of educational approaches, methodologies and resources at higher levels of education as an unavoidable and strategic requirement for a 21st-century university”.

The use of new technologies in the UA aims at improving the quality of education and promoting the student’s success skills, increasing the academic performance of students and the teacher’s productivity.

The development of the 'educational nuggets' service, offered by the Office of the Vice President of Information Technology, has led to the creation of thematic collections, ie. that the recordings are not loose and independent reproductions, but more complex videos such as collections or courses ordered as series of videos sharing a common subject.

 

Creation Process

When a user starts recording a "PUA Collection" , automatically a collection that can be published in block in any UA media portals available is generated; Campus Virtual, RUA, OCW, iTunes U and YouTube. Thus, the visibility and impact of the course or collection increases considerably as the same content is accessible from many different sites. This has been the case of the first outstanding collection for iTunes U on “Python” programming language, organised thanks to CAChemE Association, which is based in the UA Institute of Chemical Processes, and the funding awarded by the UA Department of Chemical Engineering and the Higher Polytechnic School.

According to the organisers, lecturers Francisco Navarro y Rubén Ruiz, “the success of the course is that Python is free and open programming that is replacing MATLAB, among others, in American universities such as MIT, Stanford or Caltech, and is being used by companies like Google or NASA”.


These short videos’ recording service, which has been running since July 2010, has more than 2,150 videos produced, with several educational initiatives that have been incorporated into this video production system in the planning and organisation of multimedia materials as is the case of  XarxaMOOC and UniMOOC, among others.

 

Links to the course:

* RUA: http://rua.ua.es/dspace/handle/10045/36116

* iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/es/course/curso-python-para-cientificos/id840794776

* YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoGFizEtm_6iheDXw2-8onKClyxgstBO1

 

Caption: captures of iTunes U front site highlighting the collection "Python course for scientists and engineers" of the University of Alicante.

 

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