I am not a big fan of iTunes U. I know there is a lot of great content there, but unless you use iTunes it is inaccessible (and if you do know a way to access iTunes U content without iTunes I would love to hear about it). So, I am always on the lookout for resources like Academic Earth.
While collections like Academic Earth are not new (you could find many of these lectures on each institutions YouTube channel), what is nice about Academic Earth is that it filters and packages the collections in a very friendly and easy to use way. For example, on the Playlist page you can view thematic collections put together by the site editors that group lectures from different instructors and institutions around certain themes like Love is in the Air, a group of videos on emotion, love, dating, marriage, and sex that cross disciplines and combine lectures from Psychology, English, and Economics.
The site also features all the Web 2.0 goodness you would expect from a video site these days – embedding, the ability to subscribe to specific courses, and user feedback where logged in users can grade the lectures. One added academic feature of the site you don’t normally find on other video sharing sites is the citation feature, which gives you a nicely formatted snippet of citation code that you can cut and paste when referencing the video. There are also links to transcripts and other related resources like PowerPoint slides and (in some cases) captures of blackboard/whiteboard notes, adding further value to the video lecture.
Right now there are over 1500 lectures on the site, which seems to be heavy on Business lectures. But as the site grows I would expect that to change and balance out in terms of subject matter. Still, sites like Academic Earth are nice alternatives to the locked down world of iTunes U.
Image Credits: Open Ed Poster by riacale. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license