Dean: iPhone, iTouch distribution not in university plans

Editor’s note: This story was edited for accuracy at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. The Abilene Christian University chief information officer Kevin Roberts was misidentified.

TCU does not plan on following in the footsteps of Abilene Christian University by giving free electronic devices to students, a university official said.

This fall, ACU distributed a free Apple iPhone or an Apple iTouch to all 950-plus incoming freshmen.

“I just don’t see any need for it at this point,” dean of admissions Raymond Brown, said. “We at TCU can be sure that we can communicate with each student and faculty on campus, whether through e-mail or text messaging.”

ACU chief information officer Kevin Roberts said the iPhone and iTouch are part of a plan for an innovative learning experience

“The iPhone or iTouch will be used for homework alerts, in-class quizzes and surveys, and students will be able to check their meal account and balance,” Roberts said, adding that ACU is the first university in the nation to provide students with this cutting-edge classroom experience.

When asked about the opportunity of receiving an Apple product, TCU students gave mixed opinions.

“I wish we got a free iPhone,” said junior business major Andy Bohlig. “That would make life a lot easier.”

Others felt differently about the idea. Junior philosophy major Raevan Valadez said with eCollege and the text alert system already in order, the iPhone craze would just cause distractions in the classroom.

According to schools such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford are expected to adopt the idea within the next couple years.

Roberts said the cost of the iPhone and iTouch is free for students, but added that those who opt for an iPhone 3G will be responsible for setting up and paying for their own service contracts.

With the iPhone or iTouch present in every classroom at ACU, some are worried the devices will cause a distraction in the classroom and present problems for professors and student participation.

“It’s tough to stay off the phone during class, but it’s really up to the student,” ACU freshman Ijeoma Moronu said. “If you want to do well, you will put your phone away and participate.”