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Sheffield on iTunes U: information for contributors

What is iTunes U?

iTunes U is part of Apple's iTunes online store, that has been specially set up to allow universities, colleges, schools and other public bodies (e.g. the British Museum) to provide freely available audio-visual educational materials. The materials can be downloaded using Apple’s iTunes software, for PC and Mac computers, the iTunes U App for iPhones and iPads, or the TuneSpace App that is available for Android phones via Google’s Play store.

There are over 600 Institutions currently on iTunes U, and it is the largest source of free audio visual educational resources anywhere in the world.

What is Sheffield on iTunes U?

Sheffield on iTunes U (or SiTU) is The University of Sheffield’s presence on this truly global educational repository. Our broad vision for this presence is represent the fantastic diversity of excellence that is the University, and distribute this in digital form.

It currently contains over 480 items, including videos, audio recordings, screencast recordings and some PDF documents. A growing number of subjects are represented, with materials from each of the five Sheffield based faculties, and a number of professional services.

Why contribute to Sheffield on iTunes U?

We have joined the iTunes U platform for two key reasons:

  • We believe that education can transform the lives of individuals and the world around us, and this sits at the core of the University’s mission. By contributing to iTunes U, you can contribute to this mission by sharing our knowledge and passion for discovery with everyone - from our local community to a global audience.
  • Because iTunes U has a truly global audience, contributing to iTunes U means you can raise your own international profile, as well as that of your subject, department, and the University. Some Universities have reported downloads entering into the millions, from around the world. Already in the relatively short time we have had our own site, over 80% of our visitors are coming from outside of the UK.

What type of content are we looking for?

The broad aim of Sheffield on iTunes U means it can contain a wide range of content, but we have distilled it down into six broad areas. We want the site to demonstrate our excellence in

  • Learning and Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Engagement
  • Outreach
  • Supporting the student experience
  • Student generated materials

Materials that are suitable for our iTunes U site would normally fit into one or more of these broad categories. There are a very wide range of types of content that would be included in this - for example:

  • Video or audio recordings of lectures - timetabled or special events
  • Screencast tutorials
  • Interviews or discussions between colleagues
  • Student presentations
  • Instructional videos to teach methods or techniques
  • Short introductory audio or video podcasts
  • Materials to support students more broadly
  • Audio podcasts to support language learning
  • Dissemination of research findings

We have many examples of different types of approaches on our site, and new ones are being produced all the time. We have picked some specific examples in our gallery of featured content, available from the right hand menu.You may want to try a different approach to presenting something that you might not normally get a chance to do, and SiTU might the ideal platform. We are limited only by our imaginations.

Materials gathered in collections

Generally speaking, we are looking for materials that can be gathered together into collections, rather than one-off items. The theme that links a collection together can be fairly arbitrary - so it could be based around some learning and teaching resources to support a specific module, the exploration of a conceptual theme, or a collection of recorded lectures from a specific event or conference. Collections can also contain a mixture of different items including videos, audio podcasts and PDF documents

Legal considerations

All materials on iTunes U must be legal, and this means that there are no infringing copyrighted material, and that all contributors must give their written consent to be included.

Any materials on iTunes U must be free of any copyright infringing material. In summary this means you need to have the rights to use:

  • any images or diagrams used in your materials
  • any music used in your materials
  • any quotes used in your materials

You (or the University) either need to own the rights to these, have received clearance from the rights holder, or be using Creative Commons materials that have been attributed correctly. All materials on SiTU are reviewed for copyrighted material, and must conform to these requirements for inclusion. Follow the link to Copyright Online for moredetailed guidance.

You or anyone who is contributing content to any of the University’s outward facing digital channels, which currently include iTunes U, our FutureLearn MOOCs, or our various YouTube sites, need to sign a form to consent. The consent form is a legal requirement that gives you or any other contributor permission to the University to make recordings of you and to distribute them online via these channels. We define “contribution” as meaning a video or audio recording in which you are recognisably speaking - we do not for example require consent from everyone in the audience of a public lecture being filmed, but we do require consent from the speaker.

By signing the consent form you are also agreeing to abide by the University’s copyright guidelines. For more information, please follow the link on the right hand menu to Consent Forms.

Where to go next

Developing an idea or finding out more

If you have an idea you would like to develop for creating some content for iTunes U, a specific query about a technical or production manner, or just wish to find out more, follow the link on the right hand menu to Request Support. Alternatively email us at

Submitting existing content to Sheffield on iTunes U

If you already have some material you have produced, please follow the link on the right hand menu to Submit Content (registered Sheffield University users only) . It will ask you some background information about your materials. If you have not done so, please also see the Technical Specifications link for more information about making sure your content is in the right format for us to use, and also has the University’s official branding applied. There is also some important information here about metadata - data used to describe your content that we will also need.

Producing your own material

The Creative Media Team in IT Services can provide a wide range of support to help you create your own content. This includes training and access to equipment. To find out more follow the link to Creative Media Team in the "Useful links" box.