Duke is providing all of its 1,650 new freshmen with an iPod, reports the Durham Herald-Sun.
The iPods, which can download and make use of both audio and text material, will come stocked with Duke-related downloads, including information for freshman orientation and the academic calendar. Duke also will create a special Web site modeled on the Apple iTunes site from which students will be able to download music and course content from faculty, including language lessons, recorded lectures and audio books.
Students in visiting assistant professor Lisa Merschel’s elementary Spanish class will use the iPods to listen to audio examples of textbook exercises and hear Spanish songs.
And adjunct professor Sally Schauman’s students will use their iPods to record lectures in class and interviews while out in the field for her freshman seminar about the ethics and science of urban water conservation.
I can see why language and music classes might find iPods useful, but surely taping interviews can be done with a tape recorder. And students would do better to listen once to a lecture and then review their notes. Listening to tapes is very time-consuming.
Duke got a discount from Apple on 20-gigabyte iPods, which retail for $299. “The cost for the entire project, including hiring an academic computing specialist, grant funding for faculty, research and purchasing the iPods, is expected to reach $500,000,” reports the Herald-Sun. No wonder college tuition keeps going up.
SCSU Scholars suggests this may be an easy way to avoid lawsuits over student downloading of music.