Staff Ed: Bring on the iPod

William Dalsen

Several colleges are giving their incoming freshmen a practical piece of pop culture: an iPod, free of charge. While students have plenty of reasons to rejoice after receiving the hottest MP3 player in existence, there are also enough practical reasons behind this initiative that Lawrence should seriously consider it.
Promising an iPod upon arrival is an excellent incentive for prospective students. Digital music is everywhere: huge collections of CDs are now things of the past, and music is more portable than ever before. Being hip never shrunk a college’s applicant pool, and this small benefit will be much-used and well-remembered.
But there are also many more practical reasons why Lawrence should consider a similar initiative. In addition to being an MP3 player, the iPod also functions as a portable hard drive. Given the size of files that students work with — particularly those studying art and music — it is necessary to have something larger than our meager network space to facilitate our work.
Also, with the correct accessories, students can digitally record lectures and reference them with incredible ease. This would help students to prepare for exams and review introductory and mid-level courses for their capstone courses. It would also allow professors to keep a record of their lectures. What’s more, music students could digitally record their lessons and master classes and recall specifically what they can do to improve.
Such an endeavor could be pricy, but more than likely Apple will cut a deal with a customer promising to purchase several hundred iPods annually. In short, given the potential benefits, administrators and trustees should consider this idea and look to other schools – like Duke – to see how best to implement it.