Students used iPods as essential part of coursework
A US university has given iPod digital music players to its students to help them with their coursework.
The students at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia have found that, far from distracting them from their studies, the music players are an integral part of coursework.
Apple donated about 50 iPods as part of an experimental project to illustrate creative uses for the machine.
University professors say the gadgets have helped the students think more critically about their course.
Students enrolled on the Gothic Imagination course, which looks at 18th to 20th century art, architecture, literature and music, were given 5GB of music on their iPods.
Assignments included looking at how the music related to other art forms of the day.
A course entitled War, Politics and Shakespeare incorporated war-related music, asking students to make connections between a variety of protest songs and a selection of Shakespeare plays.
As well as specific music functions, the iPods also offered a way to share other students' work, with some assignments being downloaded on to everyone's machine.
Dr Rob Viau, who teaches the Gothic Imagination course, said he was pleased with the results of the project.
"The iPod has enabled me to require the students to pre-engage the musical materials before class," he said.
Already incorporating a sophisticated website as a study aid for the course, Dr Viau found the iPods added an extra dimension.
"I have deliberately not included sound files on my website because of the obvious problems of file size and variable user interface at home. The "take home" iPod solves this problem for me entirely," he said.
The students too have been pleased with their new study aid.
"I think they are an excellent learning tool that allows students to learn about music as a form of art instead of just as noise in the background of our lives," commented one.
"I am definitely a lover of my iPod. I've been bragging to all of my friends how we get to use this cool little gadget in my class," said another.
"I not only use it for class assignments but for personal use as well."