Missouri U. says you'll need an iPhone for that journalism class

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The Missouri University School of Journalism has told students that they will be required to have either an iPod Touch or an iPhone for their classes. Those gadgets start at $199 a pop -- no small expense for a state university student.

The school says that recording lectures improves information retention.

But an iPod? Really? Aren't there cheaper ways to record things like this vintage Fisher Price tape recorder I found eBay for $4.99? I'm exaggerating, of course, but the point is that there are much, much cheaper ways to make recorded lectures available to students. The professor could record himself and then email every student a WAV or MP3 file of the lecture -- The sound quality would be better too that way.

In fairness to the journalism department, the "requirement" is "not enforced" and Brian Brooks, associate dean of the journalism school, told the student newspaper that "The reason we put required on it is to help the students on financial need. If it's required, it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldn't be able to do that."

Great: So now financial aid dollars are being used to buy people iPhones. Is that really a good thing? Given the rising cost of college, I'd much rather see limited resources used to make higher education more affordable and accessible to a larger number of people than have tax money used to help Steve Jobs demolish his 84-year old mansion. But that's just me.
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