Mizzou J-School Students: iPhone or iPod Touch RequiredMay 11th, 2009 | By Elisabeth Lewin | Category: Educational Podcasts, iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players
Then, in the last decade, journalism schools recommended that their students have access to a computer (preferably portable) and an Internet connection.
That seemed perfectly up-to-date in terms of media hardware, until today.
Incoming freshmen in the School of Journalism will be notified over the summer about purchasing the iPhone or iPod Touch as the school’s “required media player.”
The devices will be used for podcast versions of lectures, which will be recorded and published with a new system being installed this summer.
Brian Brooks, associate dean of the Journalism School, told the school’s Columbia Missourian:
â€œLectures are the worst possible learning format,â€ Brooks said. â€œThereâ€™s been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much of that lecture.â€
The requirement will not be enforced, however, and there will not be a penalty for students who chose not to buy an iPod touch or iPhone, Brooks said.
â€œThe reason we put required on it is to help the students on financial need,â€ Brooks said. â€œIf itâ€™s required, it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldnâ€™t be able to do that.â€
Brooks said students have the choice of just using their laptops to review lectures.
Bloggers like Valleywag’s Owen Thomas voiced outrage at the announcement, crying foul. By *requiring* the purchase of the media players, students can use their financial aid money to pay for their gear. “So basically, this is a scam to let students take out federally subsidized loans to buy iPhones,” Thomas rants.
Other pundits are complaining about the decision with the argument that it’s unfair to have a school supply list “with a pro-Cupertino [Apple products] bent.”
Apple bias and “federal subsidy” aside, does this equipment requirement make sense? It might be handy for cash-strapped students to be able to use financial aid money to get an iPod Touch or iPhone, but if their sole “academic” use is the download and replay of podcast lectures, a basic, less-expensive video-enabled iPod would certainly do the trick.
Will the idea of a required media player catch on at other schools? The iPod is, at many colleges, a recommended student purchase. It’s not a cheap gadget, but it doubles as a music repository, too. Lots of students already have iPods. And many institutions are making course lectures available as free podcasts on iTunesU.
And as far as the educational media device contest goes, it’s not limited to audio and video players. Last week, the new ($489) Amazon Kindle DX was unveiled. The big-screen e-book reader is being celebrated as a groundbreaking e-textbook solution. Trial programs will be underway this fall at Princeton and several other universities. It’s a great-looking device, but even more expensive and proprietary than the Apple hardware — before the students pay to load up the Kindles with their required course textbooks.
What hardware (if any) should be required for kids entering university?