All incoming freshman journalism majors will be required to have either an iPod touch or an iPhone upon entering the School of Journalism this fall.
Brian Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the journalism school, said the iPod touch or iPhone would be a great advantage for freshman orientation.
Some lectures, such as those for the Career Explorations in Journalism class, will be recorded. Students will then be able to download the recorded lectures to their iPods or iPhones.
Brooks said research indicates students retain the information they have been taught much better if they can go back and listen to the lecture again.
Incoming freshman journalism student Ashley Crockett, of Memphis, Tenn., received a letter last month informing her of the new requirement.
"That would definitely help a lot, being able to go back and listen to exactly what was being said earlier," Crockett said.
For the past two years, the journalism school has strongly suggested students purchase a MacBook or MacBook Pro computer. Students who do not have Apple computers can still take all the same courses, but Brooks believes the journalism school has had great success with all students having the same computer. He said he hopes the iPod touch or iPhone requirement will have similar results.
"There are just a lot of things you can do if you've got that many students who have access to the content," said Mike McKean, professor and Information Technology Committee chairman.
Since students are strongly encouraged to purchase Apple computers, TigerTech has offered laptop bundles. Apple has given TigerTech rebates for free iPods, allowing any student who buys their Apple computer through TigerTech to also receive an iPod touch. But students who choose not to purchase an Apple computer will be required to purchase an iPod touch or iPhone on their own.
Brooks said there is a good chance Apple will once again provide TigerTech with this coupon. Apple usually announces the rebates by early June.
"If it does add to the cost, it will be covered under need-based aid for four semesters," Brooks said.
Required purchases are counted toward a student's financial need. Overall, though, Brooks thinks the cost of an iPod is relatively small compared to the cost of textbooks.
The decision only affects incoming freshman. Students already in the journalism school do not need to purchase an iPhone or iPod touch. The same can be said for upperclassmen who have already taken Career Explorations in Journalism and Principles of American Journalism, even if they have not been admitted into the journalism school yet.
McKean said journalism students have to be taught how to use mobile communication, and the number of applications available on the iPod makes it ideal for students.
"Truly, the mobile phone is going to be one of the key components for not only students communicating with each other, that's the obvious thing, but in terms of trying to reach audiences," McKean said. "It's probably one of the most ubiquitous means of reaching people with news and information if you know how to do it."
Brooks said it is unclear whether recorded lectures will be available to other mp3 players but doesn't anticipate much need for other file formats.
"TigerTech tells us that 85 percent of music players on campus are iPods," Brooks said.
Brooks said the decision was well thought-out, and students will benefit from the new requirement. If all works out as planned, the iPod touch will not cost anything for students buying an Apple computer from TigerTech.