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Smithsonian Libraries releases courses on iTunes U

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The Smithsonian Libraries has launched three courses of selected content on iTunes U. The courses focus on topics in early aviation and space history. According to the libraries' this release 'increases exposure of libraries' material and is an innovative way to reach new audiences'. iTunes U is a dedicated area within iTunes that gives users public access to hundreds of thousands of free lectures, videos books, podcasts and courses from learning institutions all over the world. With the iTunes U app, users can download content directly onto their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Three of the Libraries’ courses are available now: The Great Moon HoaxEarly Aviation and the Media and How Things Fly: Parts of an Aircraft in the World War I Period. More courses will be rolled out during the first half of 2014 with additional topics related to transportation: Women in AviationWorldwide Aircraft Design and Experimentation in Pre-World War I,Ballooning and Airship Dirigibles: Lighter-than-air Aircraft HistoryMilitary Aviation in World War IEarly Rocketry DevelopmentThe Development of the Automobile in the 19th and 20th Centuries and Railroad Development in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

The courses include vocabulary and guided questions to help process more difficult materials. They also include, for teachers, learning goals, common core standards for grades 6–12, national history standards and a guided-inquiry section that suggests how the courses and materials can be effectively used in the classroom or school library. They are said to be designed to be self-paced experiences, and it is up to the teacher or student to decide which parts of the course they use.

The courses are built around materials from the Libraries’ Galaxy of Images and the Smithsonian Digital Library, supplemented with additional resources from the Smithsonian Channel, Smithsonian magazine, Air and Space magazine and NASA materials.