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The ivory tower, via cell phone

A new college in Japan offers classes exclusively online, and is looking into expanding offerings via cell phone.

It would seem course materials, textbooks, and professorial fireside chats are going the way of the newspaper--online. But this Japanese college takes things a step further, offering courses over the phone. Cyber University will live-stream a PowerPoint slide show, accompanied by the instructor's lecture through your cellie's tiny screen and speaker. Imagine sitting on the Tokyo subway, annoying (or intriguing) your fellow passengers with a scholarly discourse on the Egyptian pyramids or (insert obscure scientific topic here).

Yes, of course there's a catch. Like Apple and so many others, for now they've got an exclusive contract with one, and only one, service provider. It's their version of a test-drive, but makes you wonder: is the University's mission to adapt to the changing needs of learners really headed in the right direction?

Read the full AP story at SFGate.