I found a workaround for the URL links issue, it's not awesome but it works.
1 - Sign into iTunes U as an Admin
2 - Click on the collection you want the link to
3 - Click on Upload and Manage Files (http://screencast.com/t/wjSCcdTrtU3h)
4 - This will open the link in your browser (is appends credential information, but otherwise it looks the same as before)