This document will explain how to create an iTunes U course using content from an Echo 360 or Echo Personal Capture feed. In order to complete this tutorial, you will need to have your Echo course feed and iTunes U course shell already created. If you need to request either of these, please contact the UKIT Customer Service Center Helpdesk before continuing. For more information about the Echo system, please visit the Echo 360 wiki.
- Work with your IT support technician or the Echo support team to determine which format(s) you want to use to share your content. The options are:
- Podcast - audio only
- Vodcast - video of display screen capture with audio
- Have at least one content item published to your Echo course, either through the Echo 360 automatic classroom lecture capture system, or by using Echo Personal Capture and your personal computer.
- Customize your iTunes U shell, adding author, description, links, and a course graphic (example).
- Log into http://echo.uky.edu with your link blue userID and password.
- You will see a list of your "echoes," or uploaded content items. Locate any item that is in the course that you want to link into iTunes. If you have created content for more than one course, you can use the filter or keyword search options to locate videos from the desired course.
- Click the title of your selected content item, which may appear in blue text, to see the details for that item.
- At the top of the Echo Details page, you will see one or more RSS Feed URLs labeled "Podcast," "Enhanced Podcast," and/or "Vodcast" depending on the output formats you selected.
- Leave this window open and continue to the next step.
- Log into iTunes U using the unique content maintainer URL (sent to you when your course was created) and your link blue userID and password. If you do not have your URL, contact the iTunes U support team.
- Navigate to your course shell and click the Edit Page link in the upper right corner of the iTunes window to switch into edit mode.
- Select a tab for your feed and click the small pencil icon beside the name of the tab to edit it.
- In the grey section that appears, locate the Type menu and select Feed.
- Switch back to the browser window containing your Echo content item details page.
- Locate the RSS feed for the media format you want to add to iTunes and copy the URL by highlighting it and selecting Copy from the Edit menu. (Note: do NOT try to copy the URL by right-clicking on it. You will not get the full URL.)
- Return to your iTunes U shell and paste the link into the Feed URL field.
- Do not change the Security, Signature, and Check for Changes menu options.
- Enter your email address in the Feed Owner Email field. You will automatically receive an email from iTunes U if there are any problems with your feed.
- Click the Apply button. It may take a few minutes for iTunes to process your feed, depending on the number of items in it.
- If all goes well, you will see a green circle with a check mark and your feed content will appear in the iTunes U tab. If you receive an error message, please see our troubleshooting section below.
- To add additional feeds containing the same content in different formats, you can create additional tabs. If you have feeds with different content, please request additional iTunes U course shells.
Why would I want to link Echo and iTunes U?
Although Echo content can be viewed directly in a web browser, some viewers may prefer to be able to download content to their personal computers so they can watch it offline, transfer it to a mobile device, or archive it for later reference. Placing your content in iTunes U provides an easy way for viewers to select and download individual episodes directly into their iTunes media library. It also gives them the option of subscribing to your feed, so new content is automatically downloaded for them whenever you post it.
What are the benefits of using an RSS feed instead of manually uploading my content?
Populating your shell with an RSS feed can save a significant amount of time because the feed will automatically update your shell whenever you post new content to Echo. After you set up the initial connection, there is no additional work you have to do with iTunes U. Also, your content stays on UK's Echo server here on campus, so it may be quicker for your viewers to download than content from Apple's servers, which are off-site.
Where is my content stored? What happens if I delete content from Echo?
All Echo content remains on the Echo server. iTunes simply acts as a conduit to provide students and members of the public with another way to access Echo content. Unlike manually uploaded content, content added to a shell with an RSS feed is not copied to UK's iTunes U storage area. Content deleted from the Echo server will also disappear from the iTunes U shell the next time the RSS feed is refreshed.
How secure or private is my content?
iTunes U is designed for open sharing of content and there is no digital rights management (DRM) placed on files posted on iTunes U. This means your viewers will be able to watch or listen to your content on just about any computer or mobile device without any hassles or restrictions. We can restrict visibility of your course to the UK community only, but if you are concerned about privacy or your content includes copyrighted materials or confidential information, iTunes U may not be the best method of distribution.
When is my content available for my audience?
Content availability is dependent on two factors: the time required to process the video on the Echo server and the time between RSS feed refreshes on iTunes U. Recordings posted to Echo are placed in a processing queue and handled in order of upload. New content is processed by the Echo server within 24 hours of being posted and is frequently ready much faster.
iTunes U automatically refreshes RSS feeds for new content once a day, around 2 AM. Any new content that has finished processing by that time will be added to the iTunes U episode list. Instructors can manually refresh their feeds by logging into the iTunes U course shell, clicking Edit Page, clicking the pencil icon beside the tab name to see the tab options, and then clicking the Apply button. Even though no changes are being made, iTunes will re-check the feed and display any new content that has been fully processed by the Echo server. This method will not show content that has not yet been processed or is otherwise not available on Echo.
Can I upload only certain videos and not the entire Echo course?
Unfortunately, no. The RSS feed contains information for all of the content contained in a single Echo course and because of the automated nature of the updating process, it is not possible to pick and choose which content is shared with iTunes. If you only want certain content shared to iTunes, you can either work with your IT support technician or the Echo support team to create a separate Echo feed for the iTunes U content, or you can use the iTunes U Simple tab type and upload the content manually instead.
Can I add more than one Echo RSS feed to my iTunes U shell?
Yes! To add additional feeds containing the same content in different formats, you can create additional tabs. For example, you could have one tab for a video version of your lectures and another for an audio-only version. However, you cannot combine two feeds in the same tab.
If you have feeds with different content and/or multiple Echo courses, you can request additional iTunes U course shells.
If you are having trouble with your RSS feed, please keep the following in mind:
- All episodes in your Echo course must have unique names.
- A single RSS feed cannot be used more than once on iTunes U.
- The RSS feed for your course must use the "iTunes RSS" publisher and be public. Your Echo support technician can verify this.
- The URL must begin with http://, contain a "feed?id", and end with type=MP3, M4B, or M4V. If your URL does not have these elements, you may be using the wrong URL. These are example of three types of RSS feed links: