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28 Sep University Requires Students to Own iPhone

In the first case we’ve heard of school-smartphone alliances, starting with this fall’s semester sessions, all Missouri School of Journalism students will be required to buy either an iPhone or an iPod touch.

If you read the school’s directive on the subject, you’ll see it sounds baldly reminiscent of an Apple advertisement, describing the required smartphone as “much much more” than just a music player. In terms of academia, what is meant by this statement is that students will be able to download lectures, podcasts, other course materials, and even freshman orientation information, all from iTunes U, the free educational “department” of the iTunes Music Store.

Future plans for this marriage of iPhones and education, say Mizzou representatives, will include the ability to look up answers to pertinent school-related questions students may have, such as where to locate information integral to solving problems related to their program of study.

This new mandate follows logically in step with a prior (and still standing) requirement for all students to purchase a laptop computer, with the school’s preference for Apple notebooks made crystal clear in that 4-year-old edict, stating that while PC laptops are permitted, they are not recommended, as purchasing a PC plus all the necessary multimedia software – audio, video, photo, etc. – would be far more costly than just purchasing the Apple with everything already included. Additionally, the school notes that Apple’s Unix-based OS X is much less vulnerable to computer viruses.

A bonus for students of having their college require iPhones (besides the obvious telecommunications and multimedia benefits) is the iPhone app design contest, the iPhone Student Competition, run by the school’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. A team of four students last year won free trips to Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference worth $1,295 each for their invention of the real estate search app, NearBuy (now free for download on iTunes).

Luckily for many financially-strapped Missouri School of Journalism students, because the school considers it a requirement, their financial aid packages may cover the purchase. More than half of college students surveyed worldwide in 2008 said that when given a choice, they would prefer electronic texts over paper and print texts. This is bound to make students’ backpacks a whole lot lighter.



Corey T Bruhn

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