iTunes has expanded its iTunes U section with more free educational content. Previously iTunes U contained only lectures and videos from universities. Now Apple has included content from other sources and it's not just for university-types. They call the new offerings Beyond Campus. Now Macintosh and Windows iTunes users can download specially selected public radio broadcasts, Supreme Court discussions, science videos, and more from institutions like Smithsonian Global Sound, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and KQED public television.
iTunes U's content looks very much like podcasts (and some iTunes U contributions are indeed podcasts) and are offered for free. Apple has hand-picked universities and organizations to participate. Most iTunes U content is very well produced. Unlike with podcasts, listeners and viewers can expect a high level of quality to iTunes U. Besides just audio or video, many iTunes U's productions are often accompanied by transcripts, educator guides, and discussion questions. When you get audio, video, or documents from iTunes U, iTunes might create a playlist in the Source panel where you can find what you downloaded. If the content is a podcast, it will show up in your Podcasts section of iTunes.
While all of this is available through iTunes, an iPod is not necessary to read, listen, or watch. You can do that on your computer. But don't forget you can drag and drop content from iTunes onto a memory card or player that is mounted as a flash drive or hard drive.As long as the player can deal with AAC audio and MPEG-4 video, it should play after copying the files to its memory.