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More details on Duke-iPod deal

updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue July 20, 2004

Duke-iPod deal

Today's edition of The News & Observer sheds more light on Apple's . The initiative, which will see 1,650 20GB iPods given to incoming freshman, will cost the university about $500,000 and is currently a one-time agreement, but could be renewed if the program is deemed a success. Student iPods will come pre-loaded with orientation schedules, calendars, campus tours, and the Duke fight song, while a site modeled after the iTunes Music Store will offer students course content, lectures, and more. Returning students who enroll in a class where the iPod is used with be given loaner models for the semester.

by MacNN Staff





  1. lmhaffner

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Free Ginzu Knife!

    This idea seems rather on the borderline of being justified as 'constructive' use of technology. Giving/requiring laptops is one thing (esp. at a tech-ie school), but iPods?

    Some day, one wonders if places of higher learning will realize that cutting tuition is *also* a competitive maneuver that could attract students (er, parents, I mean). Let's hope that happens sometime before my two small ones get there. I don't know if I will be able to afford the equivalent of (at least) two small European vehicles a year...

  1. MacScientist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: Free Ginzu Knife!

    You might be on more solid ground if you knew the source of the money. All we know is the the students are not being charged for the iPods. The funds may come from a grant, a generous donation, or even a draw down on the University's substantial endowment. As these things go, $500K is chump change. As for your two small ones, they are not required to attend Duke. There are several wonderful universities in the Triangle. There are many others across the Nation.

  1. Hobeaux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPods in heavy use

    Actually, iPods get heavy use in many school curriculums in language classes, music classes, and the like. Technology, when used well, is an amazing tool to assist in learning.

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: MacScientist

    As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch. That money has to come from somewhere. If, for instance, the money did come from Duke's endowment, that's half a million that cannot be spent elsewhere, or things that are arguably more important.

    An interesting article on how student aid may actually increase tuition:

    So even if these iPods are "given away," tuition still increases as a result, even if the increase is hidden.

  1. boron

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPod and Edu

    If they are planning on taping lectures and having them available for download this could be a boon for the students.

    It is a little late in the year to be using this as a gimick to get students to enroll (Most schools are already holding orientation), but if it is, then it won't last.

  1. oshmady

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: jimothy

    Or, perhaps, if the money came from a fund designed specifically for these purposes, it would not have been spent elsewhere, and will not have any effect on tuition. After all, tuition is a drop in the bucket of what a university like Duke adds to its endowment every year after you account for investments and alumni contributions

    from a letter from Duke's provost:
    >Duke is paying for the project with strategic planning funds that
    >it has set aside for one-time innovative technology purposes,
    >rather than with funds that might be used for other operational

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's Great

    I like to see people innovating creatively while using Apple products. This is a closed architecture and it is still very versatile.

    Imagine if it were open —what kind of things people could accomplish with this cool tool called the iPod!

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No Coach K. highlight reel in Quicktime?!

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Money saved

    Looking at this as $500K lost, you're not looking at the savings. The schedules are all available in your hand, so there's saving of paper and calls (plus missed meetings/classes). Add that to the fact they'll be able to download and upload seminars/lectures, and they could pay for themselves (or at least make the whole first-year experience easier for freshmen).

  1. strictlyplaid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Money saved

    I don't see the savings. Paper schedules cost *maybe* 5 cents a sheet to print, right? There's no savings on labor, because the people who would print the schedules now have to upload the info to the iPods. The same people who designed the print schedule would have to design the electronic one. Downloading/uploading seminars and lectures is useful, but that's spending money on a new service -- not providing an old service at a lower cost. (The prof gives the lecture either way.)

    Honestly, this sounds like a giant boondoggle in considering what else they could have done with this money.

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