The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
F**k iDuke!

As if there weren't enough reasons to hate on Duke, this is one is sure to make your blood boil to even greater heights. According to the Duke website, the university will be giving each student of its incoming freshmen class a complimentary iPod for "educational use." I mean what the hell? 1,650 fresh meat will be receiving the 20GB version of the MP3 player during orientation this fall, preloaded with information such as the University's academic calendar and activity schedules.

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 or more, which includes hiring an academic computing specialist for the project, grant funding for faculty, associated research costs and the purchase of the iPods.

"The iPod project will encourage faculty to experiment with adding elements such as music, foreign language and poetry to class curricula," she said. 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. In another course on environmental ethics, taught by adjunct professor Sally Schauman, students will use their iPods to record lectures and, while in the field, take notes and record interviews.

Let's be realistic here. Yes, I could definitely see the Dukies bringing their precious iPods to lecture, but taking notes with it??? C'monnnn. I could imagine during the third week of Sociology 101 the professor would finally lose his cool after observing the fact that the 150 students in his class are rocking out to TV on the Radio instead of recording the theories of Freud. Still, it effin sucks that all these first year students are each receiving an iPod while every other college freshman gets stuck with some Resident Life Post-It's and a fridge magnet. I remember back in the fall of '99 when Maryland gave me a free Mach 3 razor at my orientation. Now that was high-tech.

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