Oxford University is currently topping the charts on iTunes U, a free lecture podcast service.A lecture by Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stigwitz has shot to the top of the list less than two weeks after Oxford joined the iTunes university portal, beating Cambridge who joined the service on the same day.Oxford University also has a further eight entries in the top thirty.Stiglitz focuses on the credit crunch and the “darker side of globalisation” in his talk titled “Global Financial Debacle: Meeting the Challenges of Global Governance”.Student reaction to Stiglitz has not been wholly positive. One Magdalen student said, “I tuned out within the first 30 seconds.”However, she said the idea was good in theory, “it’s like having the radio on.” She dismissed the idea that podcasts could take over from normal lectures because of the purely audio content: “you’ve got to have the visual. There’s so much to write down.”Another student commented, “people have different working patterns… Other universities have done this. I’m very glad to hear that Oxford is catching up with the times.”Oxford and Cambridge have been accused of bringing their rivalry into the electronic age by both launching their sites on iTunes U on the same day. However, both universities claim they simply want to give wider access to their academic material.Oxford and Cambridge have an impressive cast of celebrity lecturers appearing on their sites. Sir Nicholas Stern, the climate change academic features alongside Michael Palin in Oxford’s offerings, whilst Cambridge has a talk from historian David Starkey.Oxford’s vice-chancellor John Hood hopes that all the podcasts will appeal to “applicants, alumni, supporters of the university, and the intellectually curious.”In its first week of joining iTunes, Oxford University’s page had 168,000 visitors.