A US college has begun an experiment that uses video iPods as distance learning tools.

Abilene Christian University has introduced new iPod-based tuition resources for external students enrolling in two of its courses: the MA in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation and the MAe in Leadership of Learning.

Students following either course will receive a video iPod as part of their course costs. They will be able to download video, audio and other study materials for their iPods.

The scheme is intended to make degree-level education accessible to graduate students who need to keep their jobs and maintain their families. They are the first two courses in the university's new "ACU Worldwide" attempt at creating an infrastructure for global distance learning, according to Dr Gary Tucker, director of distance learning there.

"People who need graduate degrees are busy professionals, and they don't have the time to come to a university,'' he said. ''This will allow them to take classes that will fit into their lifestyles.''