Incoming Duke Freshmen Receive Apple iPods
Duke University has distributed Apple iPods to its incoming freshmen in an effort to encourage innovative uses of technology in education and campus life, according to school officials. The pocket-sized digital devices, which can download and make use of both audio and text material, was preloaded with Duke-related content, such as information for freshman orientation and the academic calendar. Through a special Duke Web site modeled on the Apple iTunes site, students also can download faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures and audio books. They are also able to purchase music through the site.
“This iPod pilot program is an exciting new component of Duke’s strategic plan, which seeks to use information technology in innovative ways within the classroom and across the campus,” said Duke Provost Dr. Peter Lange.
Duke officials said the iPod distribution is part of a pilot program between Duke and Apple Computer Inc. that will be evaluated after a year. Duke is paying for the project with strategic planning funds that it has set aside for one-time innovative technology purposes. The total cost of the project is expected to reach $500,000 or more, which includes hiring an academic computing specialist for the project, grant funding for faculty, associated research costs and the purchase of the iPods.
Since introducing the iPods to the freshmen, Duke has established five academic and course iPod projects. They are as follows: Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing; Perspectives on Information Science and Information Studies; Living Downstream: Ethics, Communities and Water Conservation; Intensive Elementary Spanish; and Computational Methods in Engineering. Those receiving iPods will use them throughout the year to download course information, record field interviews and class lectures, and in various as-yet-determined innovative ways to enhance their academic experience, according to school officials.
“We’re approaching this as an experiment, one we hope will motivate our faculty and students to think creatively about using digital audio content and a mobile computing environment to advance educational goals in the same way that iPods and similar devices have had such a big impact on music distribution,” said Tracy Futhey, Duke vice president for information technology.
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