During its Q3 2012 earnings conference call, Apple revealed that the quarter was its best yet for educational sales of the Mac and the iPad. To capitalize on this expansion into education, Apple updated iTunes U and now allows K-12 teachers to create private courses for their students.
Previously, teachers could add their lectures to Apple's repository, but only if their school or institution was enrolled in the iTunes U program. Now, all K-12 teachers can sign in with their Apple ID and create private courses using the free iTunes Course Manager web app. Public courses, however, still require school or institution enrollment.
Teachers can add traditional course material like a syllabus, handouts, and quizzes. They can also add audio and video recordings of their lectures and point to reference material that's available in the iBookstore, App Store and iTunes. The app is solely for disseminating course content and not management as there is no grading or attendance features built into the app.
Teacher can send a code or the URL of the course to students, who can enroll in the course and access content via the iTunes U app on the iPad and iPhone. They can read the course material and even take timestamped notes when listening to a lecture. Interested teachers can read more about iTunes U on Apple's website.