Advent of the Insurgent Creative, Day Fifteen – iTunes U

To be an Insurgent Creative, you need to be a Jack-of-All-Trades. A multi-tasker. If you’re going to make a go of it yourself, you need to have as many of the necessary skills as you can possibly learn — skills which in the old model were provided by the gatekeepers. It’s not enough for you to just be a writer, or an artist, or a musician — you must also be a marketer, a web designer, a finance manager, etc. It is possible for you to hire freelance contractors to do some of that for you (see the next entry for more details), but that will cost. If you’re looking to keep your costs down, that means you’re going to need to throw yourself against some fairly steep learning curves. Time to go back to school.

Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be a bank-breaking prospect. Apple has launched iTunes U, a service that distributes free course lectures, videos, readings, tours, documents and podcasts from learning institutions all over the world, directly to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or computer. Courses on any subject, with video lectures, class materials, and more — and again, this is free.

There are many courses that would be incredibly useful to any Insurgent Creative, including:

  • iPad/iPhone Application Development by Stanford University: Development of touch-based mobile applications in IOS5. The top download at iTunes U.
  • Building Dynamic Websites by Harvard Extension School: Instruction on site design using Ajax, Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, how to structure with XHTML and CSS, programming in JavaScript, etc.
  • Elements of Drawing by Oxford University: Teaching the basic principles of drawing, links to a browsable online collection of additional materials.
  • Digital Media, Part 1 by Michigan’s MI Learning program: A massively comprehensive course covering digital production in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • Essentials of Advertising and Marketing by Arizona State University: Introductory course in the form of audio podcasts of lectures on the principles of communications in marketing and advertising.
  • Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Series by Yale University: A series of podcast lectures and guest speakers from the program devoted to helping Yale undergrads and graduates start new ventures.

…and this is just barely scratching the surface. Take some time to dig around in iTunes and see what’s available. You’ll never know what you might find applicable to your work, anything from Business courses to lectures on History or Philosophy. Time spent learning is not time wasted — and remember: The more you’re capable of doing yourself, the less you have to depend on others to make your living.

Storm the gates.

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