New Technology Requirements At University Of Missouri

By Staff
May 8, 2009

Incoming freshman at the University of Missouri School of Journalism will be required to have an iPhone or an iPod touch.

According to the Columbia Missourian, the Journalism School's student-run newspaper, the move is intended to allow the music player to become a learning device.

"Lectures are the worst possible learning format," explained Brian Brooks, the associate dean of the Journalism School. "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."

Brooks noted that the requirement will not be strictly enforced, and that the device was listed as required in order to help students receiving financial aid. "If it's required," he explained, "it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldn't be able to do that."

He also noted that students would have the option of using laptops instead to review lectures.

But some students are not convinced, reports Fortune. One critic suggested that the real reason for the requirement is to help sales at TigerTech, the school's technology store. Meanwhile, a TigerTech salesman said that future journalism students had already begun to inquire about iPod discounts, which were offered in past years.

Other students questioned the School of Journalism's relationship with Apple, citing a possible conflict of interest. "I really like my Apple computer, but I don't think people should be forced to buy one brand of computer or one brand of anything," said Elizabeth Eberlin, an MU journalism student, who started the Facebook group "Rotten Apple" in response to the new requirement.

According to Apple's Web site, the iPod touch sells for about $229 and the iPhone starts at $199.

Brooks remarked that other schools, such as Stanford and Abilene Christian University, also utilize new technology as educational tools.

UM's new program will be evaluated at the end of the year to determine its effectiveness. But Brooks was optimistic.

"I anticipate it doing very well because it has proven to be valuable to other universities," he said.

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