Students enrolling at the Missouri School of Journalism this autumn will be required to own an iPhone or an iPod Touch.
The school is mandating the hardware in addition to the wireless laptop already required. While many US universities require students to own a laptop, this is believed to be the first time that a university has mandated an internet-capable media player as well.
"Effective with the Fall 2009 semester, incoming freshmen journalism and pre-journalism students are required to have a web-enabled audio/video player," said the university in a statement on its web site.
"This requirement is best met by purchasing the Apple iPod Touch, which has all the features the Missouri School of Journalism intends to implement to achieve its academic objectives and those of its students. There are alternatives to the iPod Touch, but none that we consider equally capable."
The school intends to use the devices to allow students to view class assignments and lectures, listen to podcasts and gain freshman-orientation information.
The school said that while Microsoft’s Zune or RIM's BackBerry devices may be able to receive some of the material, they would not be able to handle all the applications.
One of the advantages of mandating the hardware is that the equipment can be purchased using a student loan, rather than forcing students to pay from their discretionary income.
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