Apple’s education based iTunes platform iTunes U has topped the one billion downloads milestone. iTunes U is one of the world’s largest collections of free educational content from some of the country’s top schools and well-known libraries, museums and various other organizations.

iTunes U offers lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and other documents that can be downloaded and viewed free of charge by iOS users.

Speaking of Apple’s platform Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, notes:

“It’s inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U. 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.”

iTunes U

The Apple iTunes program has been so successful that more than 1,200 universities and colleges around the country have enrolled more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses. According to a press release from Apple:

“Stanford University and The Open University have each surpassed 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.”

While the program offers courses from many US institutions, more than 60 percent of all iTunes U app downloads originate from outside of the United States.

The goal of the program is too educate the masses while at the same time provided international recognition and acclaim for US schools and top teachers in their respective fields.

iTunes U courses can currently be created by teachers in 30 countries including  Brazil, South Korea, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The courses after being created can then be accessed via the iTunes U app in 155 countries.

Apple notes that aside from iTunes U the company hosts more than 75,000 educational apps that provide free and cheap learning materials in many cases.

The program has been so successful that Professor Stokols, whose Environmental Psychology course enrolls over 170,000 students, had this to say about iTunes U:

“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. 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.”

Do you see the value in more teachers implementing iTunes U based courses around the world?

[Image via RedmondPie]