updated 4/7/2005 9:54:43 PM ET 2005-04-08T01:54:43

An iPod in every new student's hand? Not this year at Duke. The private university in Durham has decided not reprise last year's experimental mass handout to all incoming freshman of the pricey hard-disk portable digital players.

Only students enrolled in certain classes will get the free gadgets.

The school, which hoped the $300 players would enhance students' learning by allowing them to record lectures, capture oral notes, and play language-training recordings, spent $500,000 on the pilot project.

That covered the iPods, salary for an academic computing specialist and grants to faculty members who participated in the program.

After a preliminary report on the project, Duke now plans to issue iPods to students enrolled in selected classes. Tracy Futhey, Duke's vice president for information technology, said the scope will depend on the demand from faculty.

In a memo to faculty, Peter Lange, the university's provost and senior academic officer, said the administration was pleased with how the free iPod project encouraged faculty and students "to consider new ways of using the technology in fields from engineering to foreign languages."

He said the iPods helped the school jump-start a process of broadly integrating technology into the teaching and learning process.

Last year, newly arrived freshmen were given the high-tech welcome gift engraved with the school's crest and the words "Class of 2008."

Some students questioned the need for the giveaway, given that many students already owned iPods or similar devices, with some saying the money would be better spent on financial aid or campus security.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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