THE ONLINE market for professional lectures and academic material is soaring new figures indicate that despite Coventry University’s relatively short time online it is still one one of the front running Universities in the UK for offering free online material.
One of the most successful facets of Coventry University’s content has been the Coventry Conversations series, which in their various forms across the web have received over 500,000 hits. Since March last year the Coventry Conversations series of podcasts have received over 19,000 downloads, with each podcast averaging 354 downloads on the Universities site. With the podcasts proving even more popular on ITunes U has Coventry University secured it’s place in the University of ITunes just as the culture of self-improvement reveals a real demand for online academic material.
One of the most popular podcasts of the last year has been Pete Clifton head of editorial development for multimedia journalism at the BBC who has received over 6000 hits, some of the other popular lectures of the last year have included editor-in-chief of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger, Investigative reporter Shelley Jofre and Jon Snow, whose talk ‘The best and worst of times’ has received 1,500 hits on Youtube.
Inventor and producer of Coventry Conversations, John Mair spoke about the opportunities that free University content offers, saying: “ITunes U takes the university into the real world, exactly where it should be”
Coventry University’s online community has been active for around 18 months and joined the likes of Cambridge, Yale and MIT on ITunes U, a source of free academic podcasts and video online. Coventry University’s site has come from humble beginnings, originally offering around 150 podcasts, it now features 400 podcasts and videos and is one of only a few UK universities to have utilised the format.
The University is currently accessible via Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc and it’s producing hours of content every week to satisfy the insatiable appetite of social media, creative and multimedia manager at Coventry University, Peter Woodbridge compared Coventry University to the explosion of free online material available from other Universities in the UK, saying that: “Lots of universities are seeing it as a way to engage with students, with researchers, with the press etc. ”
Speaking about the University’s online content, Peter Woodbridge concluded that: “Lots of students and staff from around the university are taking part and are content is regularly getting thousands of downloads. We’re building up lots of subscribers and the key is getting people coming back. The Coventry Conversations are great at doing that”