Mizzou J-School Students: iPhone or iPod Touch Required

May 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Educational Podcasts, iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players

Used to be, the only tools aspiring journalists needed were pencils and a spiral notepad.

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.

Now, at the University of Missouri Journalism School, “must have” reporting gear for the student reporter includes an iPod Touch or an iPhone.

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:

“Lectures are the worst possible learning format,” Brooks said. “There’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.”

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.

“The reason we put required on it is to help the students on financial need,” Brooks said. “If it’s required, it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldn’t be able to do that.”

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?

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10 Responses to “Mizzou J-School Students: iPhone or iPod Touch Required”

  1. msbpodcast says:

    Boy, talk about anti-Apple-fan-boys out there… You didn’t read the article did you?

    When I see reporters flip open their little writing pad and start to scribble in ‘pseudo-Greek” short-hand (and don’t even try to say that you hadn’t noticed that all these reporters scribbling down the news that they were all fired in the video of when the Rocky Mountain News shut down,) I just want to weep, not at the fact that they have lost their jobs, but at their absolute knee-jerk reaction to it. Don’t think, just scribble your ass off.

    You’re all going on the dole because that is no way to report the news, and what do you do? You flip open your little note pads; the same little notepads that cost you tour jobs in the first place.

    Keerist. What do you all do? Share the same three brain cells?

    “Its Tuesday so its Freddy’s turn to think, and its my turn to lie in the middle of the street and pretend that I’m a squishy speed bump. Doh di doh di doh…”

    You need to use a platform which will let you report the news NOW.

    Information that exists only in your head is useless and worthless, and so are you (and expensive too.)

    I don’t care that the school i asking that the students use Apple.

    Its NOT exclusive anyway. (Read all the way through the article. I did.)

    If you can find a platform, ANY platform, that can give you the number of apps that the iPhone or the iPod Touch do, and will do it as seamlessly, go right ahead and USE it.

    But right now the business volume just isn’t there for the Microsoft’s of the world. (In case you hadn’t noticed, the Zune is a closed architecture and its not exactly a screaming success. [At least, anybody can develop stuff for the iPhone or the iPod Touch, {And until the Android phone takes off, the iPhone and the iPod Touch are “the ONLY game in town”.}])

    The guy using an an iPhone or an iPod Touch has a scoop on anybody else who ISN’T using an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

    The other guys, the ones without an iPhone or an iPod Touch, will soon be using their scoops for their new jobs, at Baskin Robbins.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “If you can find a platform, ANY platform, that can give you the number of apps that the iPhone or the iPod Touch do, and will do it as seamlessly, go right ahead and USE it. At least, anybody can develop stuff for the iPhone or the iPod Touch.”

    Have you even heard of Windows Mobile? It’s not just Apple hating either, $80/month minimum is bullshit, I had an HTC that can probably do everything that an iPhone can for $30/month, unlimited data. The only difference is that iPhones have massive amounts of storage space and cost too much.

    Distributing lectures through iTunes is ridiculous. No wonder that school is such crap.

  3. zoey says:

    Pro: i think only for school purpose and to be watched i fdont trust a person

    Con: i think people would be going on differant websites and using for anything other than school.

  4. Charlie says:

    This is interesting, you should post more often!

  5. following the blog, great stuff!

  6. Dr.Manish says:

    Can’t wait to see more similar posts,carry on the good work.

  7. I visit your blog on occasion and I just have to mention that I like your blog!

  8. Collin says:

    thank you for your post.nice to hear that school using i pod as part of education.

  9. punkromance says:

    This seems very awesome indeed. I adore iPhone apps, myself! 🙂

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