University of Missouri Requires Students Buy iPhone or iPod

Budding reporters and editors at the Missouri School of Journalism will be required to own an Apple iPhone or iPod touch starting this fall.

Journalism students at the University of Missouri's School of Journalism are going to be getting a taste of Apple, whether they like it or not: According to the university's Website, journalism students starting classes in the fall will be required to purchase an Apple iPhone or an iPod touch. The requirement has been imposed to allow for the delivery of "freshman-orientation information" as well as course material.
A release from Mizzou states students will be able to electronically download material to either of the devices from iTunes University, a no-cost component of the iTunes Store. The university said students who do not yet own an iPod touch, classified as "the minimum requirement," or an iPhone should contact the school's computer store.
"Many, many schools are starting to do this. We will start recording lectures so that students may review them before exams," the Web page states. "Students also will have ready access to critical information on where to find help to solve various problems thanks to material we will deliver in conjunction with freshman orientation."
The university admits that the iPhone and particularly the iPod touch are music players, but argues the devices offer much more to students. TigerTech, the school's technology store, estimates that 90 percent of Missouri students have iPods. Students with financial aid packages may include the cost of the iPod touch or iPhone (the school offers the touch for $229 on its store site) and packages because it is required, the Web page says.
"We are trying to take advantage of that as a means to deliver course content," the university said. "The video capability of the iPod touch and iPhone makes this an ideal delivery platform and gives students a device on which they can review lectures and other course material while on the go or working out."
The news comes a week after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced plans to introduce a large-screen version of the company's e-reader, the Kindle, to five colleges this fall as part of a trial program. In addition, Amazon announced textbook publishers representing more than 60 percent of the U.S. higher education textbook market will begin offering textbooks through the Kindle Store beginning this summer.
Incidentally, Amazon also recently announced a Kindle reader application designed for the iPhone and iPod touch, which is available through Apple's App Store. While one could argue the classic scene of students struggling with backpacks loaded with books is far from gone, a survey from electronic content and technology provider Ebrary suggests electronic texts are gaining in acceptance.
A June 2008 survey of 6,452 students worldwide found 51 percent of students say that when they have a choice, they opt to use an electronic version over a print version of a book "often" or "very often."