Duke Continues To Adjust iPod Program

from the not-so-free-any-more dept

When Duke University first announced plans to give iPods to all incoming students, a lot of people asked what educational benefit the system would have (other than hooking a bunch of students on the Apple device). A year into the program, the University realized that perhaps it really only made sense to offer iPods to students who actually needed them in classes with professors who really wanted to use them for educational purposes. So, they changed their plans and cut back on the program to only offer free iPods to students in classes that would actually use them. This made some sense… but it seems that some people were still asking why Duke should be paying for the iPods (or, rather, why tuition money should be going towards iPods instead of other programs). It appears that the University has adjusted again. The latest revamp of the program has more classes making use of the iPod, but the University is now only willing to loan out the iPods, or offer them at the discounted price of $99. Again, this seems like a step in the right direction. It’s great to encourage the use of new technologies in education, but not just for the sake of the technology.

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Comments on “Duke Continues To Adjust iPod Program”

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Chi-Man says:


Ok… terrible joke, but seriously. If you’re going to be shelling out a peice of equipment, rather than a “stylish” and seemingly common entertainment device, IPod’s are not where it’s at. There are loads of alternative devices that do these intended functions dramatically better than the IPod. It’s just a savage “be-a-cool-school” gimmick, they thought their students would like (and fall for). But I’d react the same way.

“I don’t want this crap. If I wanted to get a device that everyone else is getting, I’d get it on my own timm/money. I don’t need you fools stripping it from my tuition!”

Plus, IPod’s primary function isn’t even top notch… but that’s an entirely different discussion altogether…


David says:


I’m a little late, but I thought I’d throw out some answers to those who stumble across this news feed a little late (like myself).

Oh yeah, I’m a sophomore at Duke.

1) Some professors are podcasting their lectures, and this is actually the primary use for them at school. I was personally very thankful I could listen to my Econ teacher give her lecture over at two in the morning before the exam. Without the ipod, she would never have posted it online.

2) They gave out recording devices along with the ipods. So… I suppose the idea was to create miniature, stylish dictaphone/playback devices.

3) I agree that they might have picked a better device to hand out to students. I was part of a small focus group last year who were looking into academic uses beyond the above so that we might better utilize the technology. I don’t believe it was particularly effective, mostly because actually maintaining a calendar and contact list on the ipod is a pain (for any Windows user that is… Macs are blessed with the proper tools already). A more suitable device would’ve been… well… any PDA would’ve been a better choice.

I think that about covers it.

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