J school redefines iPod touch requirement

Other similar devices besides the iPod will be accepted.
Joe Bradley / Graphic Designer

When the School of Journalism sent an e-mail to incoming freshmen in April, Brian Brooks, associate dean of undergraduate studies, specified the school was requiring students to purchase an iPod touch or iPhone for the fall.

In the two months since, news outlets such as the Denver Post, UWire and The New Zealand Herald have reported on the school's new prerequisite and the J school has redefined the specifics of the requirement.

In May, the J school's Web site was updated to reflect a change in the requirement, the acceptance of other devices such as the Zune or Blackberry.

"The Zune and similar audio players will perform some of the functions the School intends to implement, such as allowing students to review lectures," the Web site stated. "It also will play video files in standard formats."

The J school Web site also stated only Apple's iPod touch or iPhone would be able to fulfill all the uses planned for the required device.

"There is no device on the market other than the iPod touch (and the more expensive iPhone) that will provide students with access to all the features the School intends to implement," the Web site stated.

After the letter regarding the requirement was sent to freshmen and the announcement was made, journalism faculty debated the integrity of suggesting the Apple iPod touch and iPhone at a meeting May 8. The faculty approved the requirement of either of those devices by a 40 to 9 vote, but several of the dissenting faculty members, including Print and Digital News professor Clyde Bentley, objected to requiring one brand of technology.

"I have always objected to a requirement for a certain brand of technology device," Bentley said. "I do, however, think that it is perfectly logical to require equipment or software that will perform certain technology functions. This accommodates the extremely rapid changes of the technology world."

Brooks also said the word "requirement" was used not because the prerequisite would be enforced, but in order for students to use financial aid to purchase the device.

"It's a requirement in that you're required to have a device like that, but can we enforce it? No," Brooks said. "It's just like the laptop. We want you to have it. We say it's required and that enables you to use your financial aid on it."

Students who purchase one of TigerTech's laptop bundles can also receive a rebate for a free iPod touch, but students who want to solely buy an iPod touch can use financial aid.

Brooks said the Web enabled video and audio player will be used extensively for the introductory journalism classes and for freshmen orientation, as well as for downloading lectures.

"We've talked to students who've said 'You know, I won't listen to a lecture a second time at my laptop but I'll listen to it again if I go out jogging or something along those lines,'" Brooks said.

Although a laptop can do almost everything the iPod touch or iPhone would be capable of, the devices are valuable because of their mobility, Brooks said.

"We might decide after this year that the whole iPod touch thing was a dumb idea and we might not decide to do it again," Brooks said. "But, I'd be surprised if we did that."

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