Duke University has announced that it will distribute Apple iPods to its incoming freshmen, as part of an initiative to encourage creative uses of technology in education and campus life. The devices, will be preloaded with Duke-related content, such as information for freshman orientation and the academic calendar. Through a Duke Web site modeled on the Apple iTunes site, students also can download faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures, and audio books. They also will be able to purchase music through the site.
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 1,650 20-GB iPods distributed to Duke freshmen are compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, as are an additional 150 iPods slated for other academic and support needs.
The iPods given to the first-year students will become property of the recipients. Students who do not own their own computers will also be able to participate in the project through computing laboratories on campus. The university has developed a technical support plan for students that includes a one-year warranty on each iPod and assistance through the Duke Computer Store and the OIT help desk. Students who lose their iPods will be able to purchase a new one through the Duke Computer Store. Upperclassmen enrolled in classes utilizing iPods will be given loaners for the duration of the course. Duke's CIT, Office of Student Affairs, Office of the Provost, Office of the Executive Vice President and Office of Information Technology (OIT) are collaborating with Apple on the iPod project.