iPod at Duke

I read a post over at Macdailynews.com this morning that sort of bothered me a bit … its actually being reported from the full article available here. Here’s one of the quotes:

“Still, not all students are convinced. ‘They’re really useful to listen to music on – while I go running or on the bus – but mostly I don’t need them for my classes and I haven’t heard of anyone needing them. I think the program has a lot of room for growth. If the professors get more involved and know more ways to use the iPod during their classes, it would be really beneficial,’ says Katie Brehm, a freshman at Duke,” Rafael and Anderson report.”

I guess what bothers me is that the media isn’t reporting the real amazing parts of the story … there is so much going on behind the scene with the project that I can see why the reall word isn’t getting out. I have to say that Duke gets a serious thumbs up from me by having the guts to move into such a huge initaitve so quickly — talk about a living lab! At any rate, I did something I don’t usually do … I left a ranting comment at the site. Just thought I’d cross post it here …

I have been involved with the Duke iPod project as a part of an academic consortium working directly with Apple (I am not on the Duke faculty, but I am in higher education at another University) … we have been discussing the applications for some time and they are really doing some amazing things … it will take some time for it to really catch on. They have worked with Apple to create an academic version of the music store — it is a great idea and one that should grow as a model for content distribution.

Someone here said something like, all faculty have to do is record lectures and students will listen … well, I’ve been experimenting with that this semester with mixed results. The real power of the iPod is in its ability to do so much more — it can be used for assessment (with the built in ratings system), for creating “choose your own ending” style interactive scenarios that students can work through, and of course audio programs. With RSS enclosures, faculty can drop content directly on students’ desktops as they see fit.

The big rub in the Duke (or any other) project is that faculty have to take the lead to get the materials to students. When we release new instructional technology initiatives at my University, we focus our adoption efforts on faculty — students get it very quickly. Its faculty who have to take time, develop places for it in their classrooms and develop a comfort level with it. The bottom line is that Duke has made incredible progress on several fronts — their ability to work with Apple to build a customized “store,” building a support unit within the University, and for providing a vision for this type of mobile technology. The full effects and adoption will take several years — if it is going be successful. Sorry for the long rant.

One thought on “iPod at Duke

  1. This is a large quote from the comments posted in my blogger account that had to be moved over by hand … sorry–>

    Hey Cole, haven’t heard from you in a while … lots happening since our last communication.

    Recently, I posed an ethical question to Kaye Trammell, associate professor of communication at LSU. She is similar to you and utilizes blogs in her class room. Drop by and see her work sometime over at http://kaye.trammell.com/blog/ … I would think you have quite a bit in common.

    After posing the question to her and her class, it only makes sense to get the perspective from you students. So, if you will, please pass along the following “case study” to your students. If possible, pass it along to the Duke group as well … it would be interesting to triangulate the responses from 3 very different schools in 3 very different regions. Muchas gracias!

    please present the following scenario to your students…I am interested in how they view blog confidentiality and the potential impact upon a company. A case study for them.

    Via Pubsub, blog comments about a company can be obtained. Sometimes, blog comments can be posted by an employee of that company. These comments are really no different that water cooler conversations, but with the nature of a blog, they are very public.

    Here’s the issue for consideration…an employee has accepted a job with the company. This person’s job will be very critical to launch a new product into the marketplace. However, the employee is not really interested in the job, but needs the cash to move to another country. In his opinion, the company really could care less if he stays or goes. The criticality of his job and function bear little relation on his decision. He could care less that the company could be damaged by him spending time on a critical project, then leaving before project completion.

    Now, this stuff happens all of the time and it’s really the manager’s role to understand people well enough to mitigate such a situation. However, through the use of a blog, other people within the company now know the plans of the employee. The other employees want the company to succeed and do not feel kindly toward the indifferent employee who has been placed in a critical role that can enable company success. Since the blogger has used his real name within his blog, they know exactly the bloggers manager and could easily advise the manager to rescind the offer of employment to the blogger.

    So, for your students, would they allow the blogger to continue his anonymous plans, would they alert the manager to the plans or would they respond via blog commments to the blogger that they suggest he reconsider his current course of action? What would they say in each situation?

    Other things for the students to consider….the reader/discoverer of the blog could possibly have repercussions as they now possess knowledge of actions that could be detrimental to the company. Failing to act upon this knowledge may impact them as well. Also, this blogger is from a different country and culture. Does that bear weight on the situation?

    Let me know if you have any other questions about this case study. It will be very interesting to get their opinion and should make for a lively discussion in your class room. Looking forward to the verdict.

    By gunzz, at 10:19 PM

    Another hand moved comment

    So do you have any ideas how Ipod technology could be used in an academic medical center atmosphere??
    Nurses and physicians with an ongoing need for education/learning with little freetime to acquire.

    By Audrey, at 11:16 AM

    My response … also moved over from blogger

    There are a few ways the iPod could really impact what goes on in medical education … I have been thinking quite a bit about how powerful the concept of RSS and enclosures really are for delivering content to people … imagine iPods updated all day with critical audio learning materials.

    One thing I have been discussing with one of my friends at the University is the fact that people ignore the technology divide in hospitals … that nurses and doctors aren’t all into technology and may not have the skills to really take advantage of CBT/WBT … the iPod is a perfect bridge as it has lots of capabilities, but is so easy to use. I am currently working with a client to create HIPAA WBT and I have to say I have a few doubts with it being that practical. I believe they could be actually impacting outcomes more if they reduced the technology overhead.

    The iPod can also be used as a recording device, as a very portable hard drive, as a text reader via its notes feature, and if you have an iPod photo, as an image viewer. There are so many ways it can be a piece of the larger puzzle — but it really has the power to impact change.

    If you are interested in talking more, send me an email and we’ll take some time to discuss. Thanks for posting! istcole@mac.com–>


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