Brian Brooks, associate dean of the University of Missouri's Journalism School, knows how his students learn. "Lectures are the worst possible learning format," he told Columbia Missourian. "There's been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much of that lecture."
I can distinctly remember a former French instructor giving us cassette tapes of lessons from week to week (this was long before iPods, kids), and walking around with the voices of Mireille and Robert in my ears. Even all these years later, I can still manage marginally useless phrases like, "The red shirt of my brother is on the dresser."
The point is repetition increases retention, and that's why Mizzou is requiring incoming journalism students to have iPod touches or iPhones to carry audio versions of class lectures. Mr. Brooks points out that students who lack an iPhone or iPod touch won't be punished or miss out on anything, but they've described them as "required" so that students with financial need can include their cost in aid.
Apple has historically offered a laptop/iPod combo as a back-to-school special that these students could potentially take part in, provided that the touch is included (the iPod is typically a nano in the bundle).
The good news is, if you're going to Mizzou next year for journalism, you've got an excuse to buy a shiny new gadget.