Teachers and lecturers are getting the lowdown on how to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo in an educational way.
Most schools and colleges in the UK block access to the websites but they are missing out on their potential for education, a government-funded guide says.
The report for Childnet International and funded by Becta, the government body for technology in learning, says while teachers and lecturers may be using social networking services they may not recognise the educational potential for their students.
Schools could help students develop "e-portfolios" where learners can record their achievements and collect examples of their work, the guide suggests. Or teachers could use social networking services to set up groups that "semi-formalise" students' online communications and "document discussions and milestones as they go".
Prof Peter Mobbs, who leads the academic aspect of UCL on iTunes U, said: "Our students will be able to revisit materials presented to them in lectures, so they can learn anywhere and anytime.
"Furthermore, our students are among the world's best and brightest, and I want them to be involved in generating and sharing their own content - discovery, analysis, imaginings - through audio and visual media, in collaboration with staff and other students."
Prof Denise Kirkpatrick, pro-vice-chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at The Open University, said: "Making available selected video and audio items from among the university's highly-rated course materials via iTunes U to audiences worldwide offers a new channel for the university. We can open up free access to educational resources as well as a window for our potential students." A number of top US universities, including, Stanford, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, already publish materials via the iTunes U service.