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ITunes U downloads top 1 billion

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple­ Inc. says people have downloaded more than 1 billion items from iTunes U, which features free books, lectures, and other information from schools, libraries, and museums around the world.

Apple said there are now single iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them. Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, called it a ‘‘phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn.’’

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Apple says more than 1,200 universities and 1,200 K-12 schools host courses on iTunes U. Stanford University and The Open University, an online learning center based in the United Kingdom, each had more than 60 million pieces of content downloaded.

More than 60 percent of the iTunes U app downloads are outside the United States.

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