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Education Businesses Apple

Duke University Giving iPods To 1650 Freshmen 395

baptiste writes "Duke University has entered into an agreement with Apple to distribute iPods to all of the incoming freshmen this year - that's 1650 iPods! This agreement is part of an initiative to "encourage creative uses of technology in education and campus life" The iPods will have audio and text on them including special university content such as "faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures and audio books." Faculty will be assisted in creating new content for these devices by Duke's Center for Instructional Technology And here you thought iPods were just for music!"
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Duke University Giving iPods To 1650 Freshmen

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  • by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <strictfoo-slashdotNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:11AM (#9745820) Homepage Journal
    Free after your $30,000 tuition! Good for you! And if you're lucky enough to graduate after 4 years you're only down $120,000! But you got a "free" iPod!
    • Re:FREE! OH BOy! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antic ( 29198 )
      Is it all that different to other companies providing branded materials to schools servicing younger brackets (i.e., notepads, textbooks, rulers, etc). I've read that this is quite extensive in poorer regions within the US.
      • Re:FREE! OH BOy! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Hobadee ( 787558 )
        That goes on a lot in high schools. I've heard of for example, "Nike" gym at a high school. My high school was a "Pepsi" campus. (eww... Pepsi - I hate the stuff even more now) I have heard of other crazy stuff like that, however, it seems unprofessional for a college to be doing that.
    • You know what would suck? To be a sophomore at Duke University. I would be pissed.
    • Just like my shiny new IBM ThinkPad [wfu.edu] from my university. On the other hand I've managed a 96% faculty-dependant tution-concession rebate. I'm all for this sort of stuff.

      And if I can get our local Tech Quarters [wfu.edu] to run a pilot program of some sort, all the better. ;)

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:13AM (#9745829)
    What a creative way to add to the distractions that college students face when attending class. I can just see a lecture hall full of students lulled to sleep by the sweet music resonating from their spanking new iPods.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by livhan28 ( 749650 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:19AM (#9745872) Journal
      Next up, Harvard to distribute gameboy advance
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:24AM (#9745897)
      ha.. remember that musical montage scene in the movie "Real Genius" where the kid goes to physics lectures, each time he goes to class, there are fewer people and more tape recorders, until finally one day he goes in and there is nobody in the classroom, there's just a tape recorder delivering the lecture to a room full of tape recorders.

      I first heard this story in 1974 when I visited MIT, they publish an annual guide for freshmen and someone gave me one, that story was in it, supposedly it was true.

      But anyway, I can just see this happening with the iPods. They should have given away the Belkin voice recorder gadgets with the iPods.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sockonafish ( 228678 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:38AM (#9746246)
      Distractions? This ain't no high school. If the introduction of a free toy reveals that the entire student body is afflicted with ADD, I think it's time to switch schools. Either that or time for the school to enter into a simliar agreement with the makers of Ritalin.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wibs ( 696528 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @05:07AM (#9746529)
      I actually remember going to classes with my headphone on, my techno pumping, and being the only person awake in lecture halls seating 300. Every teacher I had was at first offended and annoyed, and then understood after seeing me for a couple of classes. Having a lively but non-distracting beat kept my focused, and my music was quiet enough to hear what was being taught and not disturb anyone around me. I even had a couple of teachers point it out in particularly sleep-inducing classes as something other people should try after they saw how I could keep writing the notes as other people snored.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is, I can see how and why music in the classroom could be a bad thing. But it was the best thing to ever happen to my college education.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GCP ( 122438 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @05:36AM (#9746610)
      Actually, I find that the educational potential of portable audio players like the iPod is enormous. The problem at the moment is the scarcity of audio course materials.

      I would love to have these universities that are beginning to put courseware online start providing downloadable audio lecture files. (OGG or MP3 to make them as vendor-neutral as possible.)

      If they value "broad, liberal education" so much and have such a hard time finding room for all the people who want to enroll, let them provide their history classes, foreign languages, music appreciation, philosophy, poli sci, etc., as downloadable audio courses that anyone can download and, to the extent possible, let those who want credit take a machine gradable test or series of tests so that attention from a live instructor is not needed.

      A lot of classes couldn't be done this way (calculus, circuit analysis, etc.), but many could, and this is one way a university could enable engineering students (for ex.) to get more liberal arts and humanities without the need to double tuition and make the university ever tougher to get in to. And once they did the work to create these audio courses, they could let anyone (not just students) download them for just the marginal cost of additional bandwidth. They could then minimize even that cost by putting the material in the public domain and explicitly allowing P2P sharing.

      (For that matter, I'd like to see organizations like the BBC, NPR, NHK, etc. start providing their archives in downloadable OGG or MP3 instead of just streaming RealAudio. NHK has terrific language courses available on the radio every day in Japan, but you have to live in Japan to hear them. As far as I know, you can't download them and that seems absurdly wasteful since they put so much work into creating them.)

      Then, universities could require students to have portable audio players capable of playing MP3s & OGGs or provide them with one that can and serve more and better courses to more students with fewer faculty and staff and help reduce the outrageous rate of inflation in costs of higher ed.

      • iPod U. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dan Crash ( 22904 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @10:08AM (#9748398) Journal
        I would love to have these universities that are beginning to put courseware online start providing downloadable audio lecture files. (OGG or MP3 to make them as vendor-neutral as possible.)

        The University of Minnesota is already starting to do that with their Digital Audio Initiative [umn.edu]. Want to learn Pashtun or Punjabi? You can. [umn.edu] You can also study Shakespeare [umn.edu], British literature [umn.edu], science fiction [umn.edu], or learn how to write a short story [umn.edu].

        More courses can be found here [umn.edu]. They're adding courses, but slowly. It's worth bookmarking.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:13AM (#9745830)
    Duke University has also raised tuition by $299.
  • by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:14AM (#9745832)
    The first time one of those Freshman herds wanders their way into Frat row looking for beer, it's going to get ugly.

    I can see a bunch of pissed of Seniors beating the ever loving crap out of incoming freshman for their iPods. How do you tell them apart (unless they laser engrave them all).

  • Why not a PDA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:14AM (#9745841)
    Why did the Duke university had to shed out $300+ dollars for an iPod, while they could do the same thing (regarding text scheduling) with a Zire 31 that costs $140, and it can be expanded with SD cards if the students need to also listen to music.

    I mean, this way the university could save a truck load of money and give out a handheld that is way more capable than the iPod in running real applications, plus having the ability to play mp3s!

    I think that some people who take such decisions are just not practical.
    • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Uhhh, you've completely ignore the part about listening to voice recordings. The iPod has a tremendous price/storage advantage over the Zire (no matter how much you expand it). I can just see all the Duke students listening to only the first five minutes of every lecture on their truckload-of-money-saving Palm...
    • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by emilienne ( 647608 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:33AM (#9745953) Journal
      As someone whose friend was the student advisor to OIT (Duke's equivalent of the department that breaks computers on campus) on this monumental (and drool-worthy, click wheels...) project, I think that they made this decision based on several factors, including the "ooh, pretty!" factor.

      Duke has reasonable coverage of computers everywhere, but their filesystem on campus is pretty esoteric (and a pain to navigate) if you want to transfer files back and forth. We're pretty much still stuck on Zips and transferring by email, etc etc. I think the latest stat was that 91% of kids on campus had one computer (at least). The thing is, though, you walk into a computer lab on campus and the bigger ones are almost always full of people, because it's a easy way to check email or do whatever without braving our really lame transportation system.

      In the grand tradition of certain majors, too, we huddle in unix and windows labs at odd hours to program. Yes, we're still learning about OS using NACHOS. Duke's tried making us use CVS for stuff, but CVS is broken on our system and we have to resort to really weird measures in order to backup our files.

      Sure, we could get a Zire, but how much would that cover with people carrying huge files back and forth? iPods are just hard drives anyways. I've seen some engineers (and computer science majors) hauling substantial fileage back and forth between dorm and class (and their Solaris lab, crappy as hell but comfy for all nighters).

      At the same time, Duke's pretty much plastered with iPods already. A frosh class with ipods will just be the equivalent of previous frosh classes with their little Duke lanyards. A thousand or so more really won't make THAT much of a difference.

      And let's face it, when you're talking 20000 for tuition, 4000 for an average crappy double, then 2500 or so for meals and way too much for books later, a few hundred for a white hard drive that your kid is going to phone home about in a few weeks and whine to get isn't going to hurt anymore than what you're already shelling out.

      Besides, Duke's already raised the tuition for this year, even before the inclusion of the iPod. My firstborn is being auctioned on eBay as we speak.
      • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Matt - Duke '05 ( 321176 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:48AM (#9746019)
        but their filesystem on campus is pretty esoteric (and a pain to navigate) if you want to transfer files back and forth

        Are you serious? Have you ever used AFS [duke.edu] on campus? There is absolutely no need whatsoever to use a floppy/zip disk. If you don't have your own computer, every single Mac/Windows computer on campus has a shortcut on the desktop to your AFS home directory and if you login from a Unix box, your home directory _is_ your AFS directory.

        As for CVS being broken, again, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

        1. setenv CVSROOT ~/MyRepositoryDirectory
        2. cvs init
        3. pts creategroup myusername:mynewgroupname
        4. pts adduser someuser myusername:mynewgroupname
        5. pts adduser someuser2 myusername:mynewgroupname
        6. pts adduser someuser3 myusername:mynewgroupname
        7. fs setacl ~/MyRepositoryDirectory myusername:mynewgroupname write

        If that doesn't suit your needs, you can always setup an account on sourceforge.cs.duke.edu. All of this information was almost certainly provided to you in whatever class you took, by the way.
        • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:4, Informative)

          by emilienne ( 647608 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:03AM (#9746094) Journal
          I have used AFS, which died three times on three or four computers that I owned the first two years I was at Duke (I've also been using DukeNet for about 10 years now, but that's another story). Saving to AFS is a pain. It's slow and inconvenient and more often than not, it's confusing for the users. Saving a word file to AFS at times can be a test of wills while you wait for it to write and discover that the pretty new IBM boxen has frozen. Granted, it works pretty well mostly, but sitting in Teer at 1 in the morning and realizing that the filesystem crashed utterly (files don't exist for this hour) is not really something you want to go through more than four times.

          As for CVS, we pretty much gave up on it due to the fact that it never worked while we slogged through 104 and 108 (even 110, it might have worked, but then it was a choice of either track down whatever the hell it was or get some sleep).

          All this information was almost certainly provided and was certainly received, but was it certainly put to use effectively? I'm guessing certainly not.

          CS, Trinity '05
        • Yeah, the windows AFS client is great and all, but it's only been around for a year or two IIRC. Certaintly wasn't an option when I first showed up at duke. And as anyone who still uses SSH compulsively (pine!) will tell you--the AFS system does go down with somewhat alarming frequency (similar to ePrint--btw, have fun paying for that next year! bwaahah).

          as for cvs, i used it for a personal project ok, but have heard of others having issues with library versioning issues. Actually I once got a bummed CVS c
        • Sadly, I have. It's so slow I can hardly believe it at times. Both the Windows and Mac OS X clients are very young and not very refined...they are a beast to setup on one's personal machine, and can cause kernel issues. The fact that ResNet is so inundated with P2P traffic makes me cringe about using any network drive, let alone one as slow as AFS to begin with.

          When I go to the labs, I have my files either on my personal machine (vanity name!), or sftp them to ACPUB space first...then at least I only h

      • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TiMac ( 621390 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:53AM (#9746304)
        I think that they made this decision based on several factors, including the "ooh, pretty!" factor.

        Now that that's out of your system, let me assure you that while many were attracted to the iPod's pop-culture cult status as a part of this project, the academic and educational uses were the primary discussion. The "ooh, pretty!" factor, as you call it, was taken into consideration so the students would actually want to use the device given to them. Imagine Duke giving every student a Palm Zire...which most students would promptly toss in their desk after a month of occasional use if their classes didn't require it--most still won't, btw. But an iPod...the students will love those and use them!

        I don't know who your friend is--I have some ideas--but if the "wow" factor is his explanation, he fell asleep at a few of the briefings, methinks. Take my word for it.

        As for NACHOS....I didn't like it any more than you did, but many factors prevent 110 and 210 from switching to other options...I'd rather not rock the boat in the CS Dept right now.

    • Because then the headline wouldn't read "Duke University Gives Freshmen iPods." You don't think they bought them retail, do you? I highly doubt the dean walking into the nearest Apple Store and said "I'll take 1,600 of.. these."
    • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:00AM (#9746667)
      Because most people would leave the Zire 31 at home, and go out and buy their own iPod. Sure, it's cheaper, but the iPod has a large hard disk in it, and firewire/usb2 interface. It also looks good and performs well... I bet you listen to Ogg files, don't you ;)
    • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ronny Cook ( 725228 )
      I mean, this way the university could save a truck load of money and give out a handheld that is way more capable than the iPod in running real applications, plus having the ability to play mp3s!

      Getting enough memory expansion on a Zire to hold a decent amount of audio would be painfully expensive. The default 16MB will hold between 15 minutes and a couple of hours of audio depending on the audio quality; it's nowhere near the bottomless pit the iPod gives you.

      The iPod is not successful only because of

    • Re:Why not a PDA? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @10:42AM (#9748865) Journal
      Because no one will use a Zire and everyone will use an iPod? During the days when PDAs were "The Next Big Thing(TM)" I bought a Visor Prism. Nice device, and I liked it a lot, but after about 2 months, it became mostly useless. Sure it was nice having an organizer but I'm not particularly organized to begin with. So I tossed it in my drawer for a while. It's been 2 years since I took the think out, and I haven't missed it. By contrast, a little over a year ago, I bought a 10 gig iPod that has since been used for everything from an MP3 player, to a boot disk, to a repair disk, to a test bed and a backup unit. All of this on a single unit, that I never shelled out any money for an expansion for, and I use it almost every day. When I bought the iPod, it was twice as expensive as my PDA, and has gotten 4 times as much use.

      You tell me which was the better investment.
  • by webslacker ( 15723 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:16AM (#9745850)
    It must really suck to be a sophomore at Duke!
  • by scoser ( 780371 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:18AM (#9745857) Journal
    With all the Napster subscriptions and iPods being handed out by other universities, I felt like I was getting screwed by Iowa State, until I realized I was getting something as well when I return this fall.

    A nice, big tuition increase. Yay!

    Oh wait...

    • Utah Sate University Students get the same! Here in Utah, even the legislature got into the act. They made it mandatory for all students entering the state primarily to go to school pay out-of-state tuition for 2 years instead of one. Yay! They claimed that students didn't contribute anything to the state (taxes or otherwise), so they didn't deserve in-state tuition after just one year. This just goes to show that students should vote. Then they might be able to put a little fear into the politicians.
  • Hum... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xenostar ( 746407 )
    That's some good advertising. It seems like a ploy to lure more kids to their college, rather than a sincere techonological initiative. It's disgusting how colleges in the US are becoming more and more expensive, and entering a competitive advertisement scenario similar to the corporate arena. Hey, with the amount of money they charge for tuition, it's a business well worth it.
  • Upperclassmen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Matt - Duke '05 ( 321176 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:18AM (#9745863)
    Guess it's time to reapply as a freshman?

    Also, considering that Gates and his wife have donated $55 million [duke.edu] to Duke since 1998, I wonder how/if this will affect the university's relationship with Microsoft.
  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:19AM (#9745870)
    Jeez, I wonder what the cost of that deal was. Even at wholesale quantity pricing, that's a boatload of money. Let's see, 1650 iPods, let's assume a hugely generous discount so the wholesale cost is $200 each, that's $330k. Yow.

    Of course the students end up paying for it anyway, in the "computer fees" that are usually tacked on to tuition.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:30AM (#9745941) Homepage Journal
      It's pretty simple. You don't do a marketing campaign unless you can make back at least 10x your investment. The average Duke student's family probably makes well over $100,000/year. Many students' parents hold jobs where they interact with other wealthy people. Give 1650 iPods to privilidged students, watch them come home, dad or mom asks "let me see that neat toy they gave you that everyone's been talking about... hey, that's pretty neat. We should get Johnny (your little brother) one for christmas. The wife could probably use an iPod mini..." Johnny and Wife get iPods, their (rich) friends see them, want one, and buy one (or more). Not to mention the fact that this greatly increases the likelyhood that Joe freshman will buy a mac to work with his iPod, furthering sales.

      Talk about the perfect targeted advertising.
      • No, I'm not talking about how much it cost APPLE, I'm talking about how much it cost Duke. Apple didn't give these iPods away for free. The Duke website says the deal will cost about $500k, so we can extrapolate the wholesale cost of each iPod is around $300.
  • The cutting edge! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by demogorgonx ( 785903 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:21AM (#9745880)
    "O'Brien cited as an example the elementary Spanish course taught by visiting assistant professor Lisa Merschel. Students in that course will use the iPods to listen to audio examples of textbook exercises, hear Spanish songs and record their own efforts to speak Spanish." When I was in high school we did these things with cassette tapes...for a lot cheaper...
    • by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) * on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @04:35AM (#9746441) Homepage Journal
      What is this "cassette tapes" you speak of?

      Face it folks - the iPod (or any large audio player) has massive potential on campus. I've been trying to get my campus to pursue something like this for a while:

      Special version of iTunes, that links into the university's library. Using your ID and password, it returns all of the lectures you are a part of and allows you to download them. Taking a humanities class concerning Candide? Download it. History class talking about FDR's fireside chats? Download them. Tired of floppies that are still cluttering up your PC labs (until this very day - arrrrrrggghhhh!)? Let the kids save to the iPod.

      The iPod just becomes the central repository for things that, until now, were spread out across the dorm room. If the kid loses it, the kid loses it - same could be said about anything else (books, tapes, DVDs, etc.).

      The only application that I don't think will work: audiobooks. It's really difficult to study from an audiobook. Even more difficult to use an audiobook in an open-book test, too...

  • Tuition Hikes (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dominatus ( 796241 )
    I see the tuition hike posts being modded as funny, but there's actual seriousness to that. The university I go to decided to give "free" laptops to the engineers, but in return hike up their tuition another 2,000 dollars in addition to the annual hike the whole university got. Free...more like "forced"
  • Oh come on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrLaminar ( 774857 )
    And here you thought iPods were just for music!

    Oh come on, give me a break... Sure they can be used for something else, in the same way that you can save any file you want on the iPod, but how many students are really going to use it that way?

    WOW! Audio files that aren't music on my iPod. w00t!

  • next up... (Score:5, Funny)

    by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:25AM (#9745912) Journal

    ...all the freshmen gets sued by the RIAA for pirating music...

    (It's logical - they own a digital playbackdevice and has access to 'da interweb'; off course they steal music, and at least 10 gig each)

    • Doubt they'd need to download anything. Just think how many CDs 1650 students bring to University with them?

      A few weeks of swapping and ripping with iTunes and they could all have all the music they want without needing to download a single track, and what's more important, without appearing on the RIAAs radar. Having iPods, they'll all have iTunes and probably a large hard drive as well... it won't take long for CD-ripping to become second nature.
  • by Psyonic ( 547207 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:29AM (#9745928) Homepage
    . . . Especially the ones working all summer to barely pay their tuition as it is. I mean... who needs food when you have an iPod? Good call Duke! At least schools with mandatory laptop programs can claim they are for school... I don't really know what Duke was thinking. Probably just wanted to gain the image of the most "hip" university or something like that... but it just comes off to me as stupid.
    • You can't work enough over the summer to pay for tuition at Duke. You've either got a loan, a grant, or a rich family.

      Well, if you CAN make $30k over a summer, you're kinda wasting your time in college....

      $299 iPod/$30,000 tuition = an insignificant fraction.
  • by Reverant ( 581129 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:31AM (#9745944) Homepage
    ..Orders placed on the new "iPod" music player from Apple Computers Inc, on it's "Applestore" online store will be delayed, sources confirmed. Rumours are that a high-priority customer ordered more than 1600 units of the new iPod, causing significant delays to end consumers. Angry Apple customers have once again, turned to sites like "Crazy Apple Rumours" for immediate relief.
  • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:32AM (#9745952) Homepage
    While this may seem weird at first, it's really not all that different from Universities that require (or give) students have laptops to a certain specification. Knowing that every student has an iPod lets you do cool things like distribute language lessons for them, be able to standardly trade music for a music class (no more problems with students or teachers that don't have a CD burner or a tape player or a computer to play the music on). Now whether it really makes sense considering the cost of the iPods is another matter, but who knows, Apple is certainly giving them a massive discount because they're both buying in bulk and giving Apple more positive press (just like the G5 cluster did).
  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:36AM (#9745971) Homepage
    Here at Microsoft, we recently launched Office 2004 for OS X. The entirety of MacBU (that's Mac Business Unit) received iPods as ship presents. Kinda makes me feel like I'm working for the wrong group :)
    • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:17AM (#9746170) Journal
      How come when Microsoft gives away 'free' stuff to academic/government organisations the slashdot crowd slams them for unethical business practices, witchcraft and other unwholesome activities... but when Apple effectively locks in iPod and iTunes as the essential student/music listening tools for an entire university campus, the VERY SAME slashdot readers all post about how super kewl Apple is and how they wish they went to the University in question.

      I have read this far down the comments list and not one comment has been critical of Apple, and only a few critical of the University. Is a little objectivity too much to ask? I know that it's not quite on the same level as MS using free software to try to wipe out competition across entire markets, but it is nonetheless a shameless commercial ploy to eliminate competition, albeit in a rather smaller market.
      • Because Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, and Apple is not.

        There are many tactics which are perfectly acceptable when you own 5% of the market and which are not only unacceptable but illegal when you own 95% of the market.
        • We're talking about MP3 players here, and Apple. Apple sell THE MOST POPULAR MP3 player out there. By far. It's entered every-day use. I even saw it in a comic in the newspaper the other day. We're not talking about Apple trying to get OSX into the universities...
        • by antin ( 185674 )
          "Because Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, and Apple is not."

          You know what? Every time a post suggests a little bit of objectivity, and slightly less hypocrisy where Microsoft is involved (which seems to happen in *every* thread on slashdot) the automatic reply seems to be what you just said.

          What is worse is that little sentance almost guarantees a +5 score. I wish slashdot just posted a huge banner on the front page saying "F@CK MICROSOFT" and then banned any posts regarding them; the thoughtful conte
      • by lmfr ( 567586 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @05:55AM (#9746651) Journal
        Because it wasn't Apple's decision:

        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, which includes hiring an academic computing specialist for the project, grant funding for faculty, associated research costs and the purchase of the iPods, which Apple is providing to Duke at a discount.

        And even if Apple decided to give the iPods for free, it would still cost them money. How much would cost Microsoft to give 1,650 licenses of Windows and/or Office?

        Finally, the iPod is usuable under other plataforms than Apple's.

  • iPods ~ Cheating (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lifix ( 791281 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:41AM (#9745993) Homepage
    I will be a senior at a "laptop school" on the east coast. At my school, each student is forced to rent an iBook to use during the four school years. Now since the entire school is based on Macs, many many students purchase iPods to go along with their Macs. In the last month of school, several dozen students found a program that would allow iPods to display text from files on the iPod. Six of these students were caught cheating on their final exams, and two were caught after having downloaded a 32 gig dictionary to their iPods and using them on the SAT. iPods are a great tool as long as everyone realizes that they are not radios, they are hard drives and can be used to remove data surreptitiously, or to covertly access data, or just general data storage.
    • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:04AM (#9746100) Homepage
      Sounds like the proctors were doing their job.

      Anybody fooling with any object other than a pencil and the test booklet in the SAT room should be summarily dismissed and fined.
      • and take another look at the SAT Acceptable Calculators policy [collegeboard.com].

        SAT II Math IC & IIC even require them. And my TI-89 may not have the storage of the iPod, but it has a hell of a lot more functionality and programmability.

        All that being said, it sounds like these students had them out during the verbal section - which is not allowed. Just wanted to point out why all blanket statements are bad... including this one. ;-)
        • Re:Slow down... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Moofie ( 22272 )
          Yet another excellent reason to go back to the good ol' days of no calculators on the SAT.

          You'll pry my HP 48G out of my cold, dead hands, but I already passed the SAT with flying colors, using only a pencil and my brain.

          I am a huge fan of computer-augmented math capabilities (I write a spreadsheet to do simple math), but the SAT need not test that. It should test basic mathematical abilities (such as might be found in a post-holocaust Earth).

          But hey, it's just my opinion.
          • Re:Slow down... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mosb1000 ( 710161 )
            Besides, they don't really need to test your abilities to do arithmetic and the like. Why not just write the test so that there is no real need to use a calculator? Arithmetic is so mindless and it doesn't really relate to modern day job skills.
      • "It was horrible. I sat in the big hall and put my packet of Polos on the desk. And my spare pencil and my support gonk. And my chewing gum and my extra pen. And my extra Polos and my lucky gonk. And my pencil sharpener shaped like a cream cracker. And more gonks with a packet of Polos in each. And lead for my retractable pencil. And my retractable pencil. And spare lead for my retractable pencil. And chewing gum and pencils and pens and more gonks, and the guy says "Stop writing, please."
    • Re:iPods ~ Cheating (Score:3, Informative)

      by RevAaron ( 125240 )
      I use my PDA on college tests all the time. I could cheat- and boy, would cheating be easy. But I don't. I use my PDA as a calculator, as I'm more comfortable using GNU Maxima, Octave, a Lisp interpreter, or Palm OS LyME [calerga.com] than a TI-8x calculator. That, and I don't have a fancy calculator and no desire to buy one or carry one around. I take all of my notes on my PDA.

      In Computer Science exams where calculators were allowed, I've had profs who were a little wiser about it. In those cases, I gave them the
  • Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nougatmachine ( 445974 ) <johndagen AT netscape DOT net> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:44AM (#9746003) Homepage
    ...and what happens when the students attach the iPods to their own computers, and get all of the 'educational' audio erased?
  • some actual EDUCATION? Isn't this what they're there for?
  • Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flopsy mopsalon ( 635863 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:55AM (#9746052)
    Apple has always been strongly involved in education, even when losing ground to PCs in the market, Apple's market share in the educational arena has remained sizeable.

    This new move, however, is worrisome. It is clear that is scheme to "distribute" Ipods among Duke freshmen is nothing but a naked marketing move on Apple's part: sellng the already high-margin Ipods at a so-called "discount" to Duke under the thin pretext of using them as an educational device, then pushing Itunes, and relying on the soon-to-be-well-paid Duke graduates to keep buying Apple products in the future.

    It is a shame that a fine institution Duke has gone in for such a blatant moneymaking gimmick. This is little different from allowing companies like Coca-Cola to produce "educational" material for our public schools. I would hope the Duke adminsistration would have taken a page from and choose integrity over money, but such is not to be. For shame. [msn.com]
  • The iPods will have audio and text on them including special university content such as "faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures and audio books."

    ...and pr0n. Maybe not exactly when they are handed out, but give it time.
  • by JazzXP ( 770338 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:07AM (#9746112) Homepage
    And you thought the BMW was going to be the biggest iPod accessory ever! Now all the students have a whole university to plug into them!
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:19AM (#9746178)
    The iPods will have audio and text on them including special university content such as "faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures and audio books."

    Yup, until Johnny Freshman doesn't have room for the latest Avril song.

    Hmm. Delete Linkin Park song, or some professor yacking about french. Hmmmm.

  • by Hypharse ( 633766 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:29AM (#9746212)
    On paper this is a nice idea, allowing students to download information from their professors. In reality it is not so useful.

    Many professors have still refused to adopt the internet as a way of getting information to students and Al Gore invented that over 10 years ago. Other than the CS classes and a few tech-savy professors elsewhere this won't even be attempted.

    For those that do, It will take a long time for them to gather audio lectures and exactly how helpful are they without the visual aids behind them? The same is true for audio books. Technical audio books are not exactly the easiest way to learn a subject. The best use for audio books would be for literature, but as stated above, humanities professors are the ones least inclined to adopt this type of idea. Even then trying to learn the theme or symbolism from an audio book is quite hard. You can't flip back and forth as easily as you can with the written form.

    My guess is that there will be a big craze and initial educational push as professors *try* to make the idea work, but after a month it will only be used by students to trade prOn and music before class starts or during lunch. Not that that's a bad thing. I am all for easier to access prOn, but for the majority the educational benefit is little.

  • by sockonafish ( 228678 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @03:30AM (#9746217)
    Apple to Napster:

    "Haha, fuck you."
  • To quote Fark.com (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iLEZ ( 594245 )
    "Duke sucks!"
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:42AM (#9747086) Homepage Journal
    Of course air conditioning the Freshmen dorms in hot fetid North Carolina wouldn't be a bad idea either.
  • by Nutrimentia ( 467408 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:09AM (#9747213) Homepage
    My college, a small private women's college in Japan [wilmina.ac.jp], gave (actually rolled the cost into student fees) 15G iPods to this year's incoming class of freshman. We pre-installed a series of listening materials (conversations, etc) and are involved in developing more advanced and comprehensive materials for future classes. We've been covered in MacFan magazine here but I don't think its been published in English.

    It's been a good program so far and a large percentage of students are using the machines. Unfortunately many of our students are computer illiterate or have very low skills and thus aren't able to use the iPod on their own for personal study or amusement. But we're off in the right direction and the program will be getting better as it grows, undoubtedly.

    We might go with iPod minis next year since they don't need the extra space. We are encouraging students to use them as hard disks as well as listening devices.
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @10:32AM (#9748696)
    There is a great deal of chatter about how Duke is so stupid as to fall for Apple's marketing and this thinly vailed disguise to get the students buying iTunes and so on.

    Let me give a different perspective. The high school I went to (yeah it was private but I read /. every day so you tell me if you think I was in the 'in crowd') was the first in the US to distribute Palm PDAs to incoming Freshmen. The idea was that they would be able to keep organized, download class schedules, take quizes, etc. (read more [palmone.com]). This was seen by some as just a way to get local media attention and promote the school.

    But it really did help the students. Sure you can beam stuff and play games and otherwise goof off with the device, but it also helped the students stay organized and keep their digital documents with them when they need them.

    Now I'm not saying the iPod is going to help Duke students graduate in 3 years, and there are huge differences between the iPod and a PDA, but for digital arts students who need to work on a project outside the studio, or the Comp Sci student who wants a backup of the source for their thesis, there are applications outside the music realm.

    Not to mention, this huge roaming profile rumor that one will be able to keep their user profile on an iPod, and when connected to a Mac, at home or on campus, log into their user account with their background and preferences, desktop files, user directory files, iCal calendar, address book contacts, Safari browser bookmarks, etc.

    Now THAT would make huge sense on a campus setting.
  • It's about Kazaa (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hythlodaeus ( 411441 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:04PM (#9750863)
    As a 2004 grad of Duke, I'm guessing this has a lot to do with Kazaa. There are untold gigabytes per day of illegal files zooming around the campus network. They don't want to put stops on internet use, but its clearly a problem both from a network infrastructure standpoint and an RIAA CYA standpoint. If they can push iTunes, it could ameliorate the problems caused by file sharing and soften the student outcry should they decide to block Kazaa traffic.

    As for language tapes, there's already a library of cassettes no one bothers with anyway.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson