Learning While Exterminating

It won’t get you a degree but there’s a free education just waiting for you online. We all know iTunes is a great place for music, movies and podcasts, but less known is a an entire section dedicated to education–iTunes U.

First launched in 2007, iTunes U provides users, with an impressive list of courses, and offers classes on just about every topic imaginable.

For exterminator Jerry Solley every day at work is also a day in class with Apple’s virtual school.

“I’m listening to things like biology classes at MIT, sometimes quantum mechanics, physics, various things, interesting things,” says Solley.

He’s not a student, or even in a classroom, Jerry is an exterminator armed with pesticide, an iPhone, and a penchant for learning.

“iTunes U is the most valuable application on iPhone because it enables everyday person to access ivy league schools and have access to information that they would otherwise not have,” said Solley. “I think society could use it to improve and make themselves more knowledgeable.”

UCLA Biology Professor Jay Phelan is another advocate for iTunes U.

“I wanna teach them about science. The more people I can reach the better,” said Phelan.

For a few years now, he’s been using Apple’s free software to share his lectures way beyond the classroom.

“I would say once every two weeks I would get an email from China, Japan, Korea. People saying, ‘Hey thank you, I’ve been following your entire course and I really love it,'” shared Phelan.

Though a strong supporter of iTunes U today, Phelan says he had his concerns initially.

“No, when I first signed up I thought oh everybody is gonna now sit in their dorm room, they’ll never come to class. I was afraid of that and I gave it a try and it turns out they don’t.”

While there will always be the occasional class cutter, but iTunes supporters like Solley say they see the value in learning even if his classmates are pests.

“It’s just a window into ivy leagues schools, which I’ve always dreamed of going into,” Solley said. “This is my way of kind of getting knowledge while I work.”

iTunes U has been rising in popularity amongst many school. Apple says there have been 700 million downloads from iTunes U to date, and the comapny has also recently released a standalone app to make learning even easier.

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