iTunes U: The Business Tool You Aren’t Using (but should be)

Posted by on November 10, 2009 in Business News, Business Start Up Advice, Business Technology, Marketing, SEO, Social Networking, VoIP, Web Design [ 0 Comments ]

Didn’t go to Stanford for your MBA? Well, now you can. Top notch universities in the US and abroad, business schools, museums, public broadcasting stations and state education organizations are all part of YouTube EDU, Academic Earth, MIT Open Course Ware and iTunes U which offer free downloads of educational podcasts or videos. These presentations cover a range of topics from VoIP security forums to language courses. iTunes U is the most popular platform for these free downloads. iTunes U’s popularity is most likely attributed to its promotion of free and mobile learning. Although released in 2007, not many users are maximizing its true potential. iTunes U has the prospective of creating a more empowered business person.

How it works:

iTunes U is accessed through iTunes and is found at the top of the menu bar. The podcasts can be downloaded individually or you can subscribe for automatic downloads as they become available. This second feature is used primarily for an on-going series podcast which operates like an on-going course.

How to Use it:

iTunes U’s direct relationship with iTunes means podcasts can be watched or listened to through a computer or can be taken anywhere with an iPod or an iPhone. iTunes U can be accessed from mobile devices through their cellular networks and via Wi-Fi. When accessing iTunes U from a computer, you can even send the podcast to your employees to ensure they are also up-to-date with current technologies or business concepts.

Whether your company is trying to break into a new industry, revamp your company logo or stay current with trends, there is probably a lecture for it.

Here is an exaggerated hypothetical situation illustrating how to utilize iTunes U to improve your business:

A small business owner is deciding between a social media focused online marketing campaign or a direct mail campaign. From listening to some iTunes U lectures, he decides that an online marketing campaign would be best and could be part of a larger search engine optimization effort. This savvy businessman decides to learn more about online marketing strategies before hiring anyone. After several lectures, he hires an experienced graphic design firm familiar with techniques referenced in the podcasts. He managed to do all of this free research on his iPod while on his daily subway commute to work each day.

As with the hypothetical example above, listening to these lectures may not illicit the necessary skills to do the project yourself, but will create a more knowledgeable entrepreneur. This knowledge creates a more confident negotiator and may eliminate the need to outsource more basic projects. Whether trying to learn Spanish to attract new clients or learn about social networking sites, with over 200,000 free educational files available through iTunes U alone, not taking advantage of this educational opportunity is too expensive of a mistake to make.

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