Interactive Internet Training Workshop Web Archives


Posted by: Patrick Douglas Crispen
Date Mailed: Thursday, November 17th 1994 04:30 PM


As we bring the Roadmap workshop to a close, I want to give you an
opportunity to think about what role the Internet will play in
education in the years to come.

I can think of no better person to speak on this topic than
Richard Smith.

"Richard Smith discovered the information resources of the Internet
while doing work as a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh.
He taught the use of the Internet in graduate courses and followed
these by giving workshops called "Navigating the Internet" in 1991.

In the summer of 1992, Smith decided to offer a course on Internet
training -- over the Internet -- hoping to get 30 or 40 people to
participate. A total of 864 people from more than 20 countries
registered for his "Navigating the Internet: An Interactive Workshop."
A second workshop drew more than 15,000 participants from more than
50 countries.

The result of these ground-breaking international workshops is that
Smith has trained literally thousands of people around the world in how
to use Internet resources. This led to Smith being dubbed the "Internet
Mentor" in the January 1993 issue of American Libraries. He plans to
do bigger and better Internet workshops in the future because he enjoys
offering a service that is much needed and appreciated." (1)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to introduce *my* mentor, Richard Smith:


Patrick Crispen asked me to write a segment for his Roadmap
distance education workshop.  I'd like to give some general
thoughts on this new form of distance education and the new
technologies that are becoming a prominent force in the education

Vice President Al Gore speaks about building an information
superhighway that will keep the United States competitive in the
world of growing high technology.  The National Information
Infostructure (NII) is already in the making which will include
present computer, television and telephone, and telecommunication
technology, and promises that it will be available to everyone as
every classroom, library, hospital and clinic in the country should
have access to the network. (Recently Post Offices!) It is now so
common that the comic strip Outland makes fun of it with their
cyberpunk characters and MTV, Nightline, FX and other commercial
entities are now on-line.

This new means of communications is predicted to change the pattern
of scholarly work.  From the computer at home or office the
educator can now access hundreds of library catalogs, journal
indexes, reference books, full text books and journal articles,
major art exhibits, employment notices, or federal government
information.  Communication with colleagues on topics as diverse as
diabetes research, history of the Ancient Mediterranean, women in
science and engineering, university administration or the
Pittsburgh Pirates take place daily. There are thousands of
discussion groups available on almost any imaginable topic.

While this network of networks has its beginnings in the 1970's, it
is only recently that this communication phenomenon has expanded
beyond the computer and information science fields.  Today
librarians, health professionals, historians, lawyers, and many
other professionals are finding the Internet a valuable research
and education tool; the largest growing segment of the Internet
community is commercial firms.

Yet an important impact of this network has yet to be developed--
the delivery of information in formal education.  There is now
being generated formal credited courses via the Internet that may
change the way that current distant education or distant learning
takes place.  This aspect of distance education will continue to
grow as the number of schools equipped with telecommunications
equipment and computers increase and costs of such equipment

An initial attempt to use this network for education was an
experimental course attempted two years ago.  In the summer of 1992
I decided to offer a workshop on how to use this network, not in a
classroom or at a conference, but on-line over the Internet itself.
I expected 30 to 40 people to sign up and ended up with 864
participants.  The class consisted of e-mail instructions  for
accessing Internet resources and what to do once access was
achieved.  In theory, a person would read the e-mail in the morning
and follow the instructions for an hour to master the particular
segment being taught.  In reality, the three week course was a bit
much for most participants so that instructions were saved for
perusal at their convenience, a major advantage of this type of
distance education.

"Navigating the Internet: An Interactive Workshop" was so popular
that a second class was given within two months.  The announcement
for the second class allowed two weeks for registration.  The
registration had to be stopped when enrollment reached 15,000.
The last workshop given from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
"Navigating the Internet: Let's Go Gopherin'" (a popular Internet
interface) attracted 19,994 from 54 countries.

These informal basic e-mail courses demonstrate the potential of
this communication medium for distant education.  With the addition
of graphics, hypertext, compress video, sound and multimedia,
information distribution for educational courses in distance
education will be revolutionary.  Several universities are now
initiating degree programs that can be taken over the Internet.

Telecommunications technologies have provided a vast array of
teaching opportunities for educators and librarians charged with
providing information to students, staff, researchers and faculty.
The technology permits expanded communication among
teachers/student, and also provides a means of increasing
teacher/teacher and student/student communications.

Narrow casting for specific audiences and for specific subject
areas, both for formal credit courses and informal workshops, is an
option being considered by many educators and librarians.

Unlike traditional distance education systems which relied heavily
on print base materials supported by audiotape, telephone contact,
videotape, color slides, study pictures, or kits containing
samples, The Internet gives increased access to graphics, sound,
and video files via software like Mosaic, as well as real time
communications. Innovative computer and telecommunication
technologies' expand and enhance traditional distance education by
adding additional means of communication.

To be productive, distance education must be able to communicate
information between participants in an effective and efficient
manner.  Computer and telecommunication technologies are providing
unique ways to communicate, and examples of the benefits and
drawbacks of using these techniques are abundant in the literature.

Hiltz used computer-mediated communication as both an adjunct
function of supplementing traditional classroom instruction and as
a primary mode of course delivery for postsecondary education.
Electronic conferencing, where students answered questions and
reacted to other student responses produced communications in the
"virtual classroom" and was found to be a positive yet different
type of communications from the traditional classroom.  This change
in communication was noted by others where the experience showed
that communication within a paperless network tends to spread power
horizontally across the writing community, with instructor's
information equal to the student's, and every message, because of
identical font and identical screen size, commanding the same
respect when read by a student.

In a distance education class at Houston Community College System,
years of experience in giving credited courses by modem found that
distance education had several benefits over traditional classroom
instruction and older distance education courses.  Some of the
results showed these benefits:

(1)   Immediacy -- especially compared to print-based correspondence
(2)   Sense of group identity -- the computer system became a
      meeting place for students.
(3)   Improved dialogue -- students correspond more than traditional
      classroom setting.
(4)   Improved instructor control -- the computer system can log
(5)   Active learning -- student participation improved.

Finally, the Internet, provides a convenient means of delivering
information to thousand of people geographically dispersed and
removes barriers such as distance and cultural diversity that are
common in the traditional classroom educational setting.

For example, this segment was written in my house and transferred
to my local account in Louisiana via a 2,400 baud modem; I then
ftpped the document, in seconds, to my account in Pittsburgh;
finally, I e-mailed it to Patrick in Alabama who then distributed
it to you.  I co-authored a book, "Navigating the Internet" in
three months without ever meeting Mark Gibbs, the co-author in
California, or the Publisher, SAMS in Indianapolis. Distance
education is a bonus for the Instructor also.  "Let's Go Gopherin'"
was distributed from numerous locations, Ohio, Mississippi,
Pennsylvania, and other locations while I was on the road.

Distance education via electronic delivery is not a new concept.
Australia and the United Kingdom have made dramatic steps in
providing electronic information to a multitude of people via
telecommunications.  In the United States, with the explosive
growth of the Internet and the proposed National Research and
Education Network (NREN), it is now possible for delivery of
information in formal education in an economical and efficient

Of course, promises of new technologies that would impact education
have been made before and never reached their potential.  Public
television is the prime example.  Predicted to impact education
from k-12 to higher education, public television has only served as
a minor supplement to the traditional classroom setting.  Yet
today's technologies are entering not only the classroom, but are
commonly found on professors' and teachers' desks in their office
and even at home.  This easy access to the technology is mainly
responsible for its impact on education.

Higher education will play a vital role in Al Gore's vision of the
information superhighway. Major commercial telecommunication giants
such as MCI and Bell are changing the current Internet into an
information distribution system that is easy to use, providing
access for the general population.  Because of this widespread
access, the way we teach and pass on information to learners around
the world, with collaboration from educators from interdisciplinary
backgrounds and from diverse institutions and cultures, education
will change from the traditional teacher/classroom environment to
a virtual classroom with no walls.


(Sorry,  pulled from several sources so not all in one style.)

Blaschke, Charles L. "Distance Learning: A Rapidly Growing State
Priority," Classroom Computer Learning October 1988  16.

Blumen, Goldie. "Many Attempts at 'Distance Learning' are Impeded
by Unforeseen Political and Financial Problems." The Chronicle of
Higher Education. October 23, 1991 a23-a24.

Boston, Roger L. (1992). "Remote Delivery of Instruction via the PC
and Modem: What Have we learned." The American Journal of Distance
Education, 6, 45-52.

Brown, John Seely. "Idea Amplifiers-New Kinds of Electronic
Learning Environments." Educational Horizons, 63 (Spring 1985):

Clyde, Laurel. "Distance Education and the Challenges of Continuing
Professional Education," in Woolls, Blanche, ed., Continuing
Professional Education and IFLA:  Past, Present, and a Vision for
the Future:  papers from the IFLA CPERT Second World Conference on
Continuing Professional Education for the Library and Information
Science Professions.  Munich:  K.G. Saur, 1993, 24-33.

Dykman, Charlene Ann. "Electronic Mail Systems: An Analysis of the
Use/Satisfaction Relationship." (Ph.D. diss., University of
Houston, 1986).

Freshwater, M. R. (1985). "Development in the application of new
technology to the delivery of open learning." Technological
Horizons in Education, 12, 105-106.

Goldberg, Fred S (1988). "Telecommunications and The Classroom:
Where We've Been and Where We should Be Going."  The Computing
Teacher, May 26-30.

Hammond, Morrison F. "The Use of Telecommunications in Australian
Education." Technological Horizons in Education, 13 (April 1986):

Hiltz, Starr Roxanne. "The 'Virtual Classroom': Using Computer-
Mediated Communication for University Teaching." Journal of
Communication, 36 (Spring 1986): 99-104.

Jones. Ann, Gill Kirkup, Adrian Kirkwood, and Robin Mason.  (1992)
"Providing Computing for Distance Learners: A Strategy for Home
Use."  Computers Education 18, 183-193.

Lautsch, John C. "Computers and Education: The Genie is Out of the
Bottle." Technological Horizons in Education, 8 (February 1981):

Manock, John J. (April 1986) "Assessing the Potential Use of
Computer-Mediated Conferencing Systems as Educational Delivery
Systems." T.H.E. Journal, 13 77-80.

Miller, Dusty. "Trim Travel Budgets with Distance Learning,"
Training & Development September 1991 71-74.

O'Shea, Mark R., Kimmel, Howard., Novemsky, Lisa F. "Computer
Mediated Telecommunications and Pre-College Education: A
Retrospect." Journal of Educational Computing Research, 6 (No. 1
1990): 65.

Rogers, Gil. "Teaching a Psychology Course by Electronic Mail."
Social Science Computer Review, 7 (Spring 1989): 60-64.

Roper, Fred W. "Shaping Distance Education in Library and
Information Science Education Through Technology: The South
Carolina Model," in Woolls, Blanche, ed., Continuing Professional
Education and IFLA:  Past, Present, and a Vision for the Future:
papers from the IFLA CPERT Second World Conference on Continuing
Professional Education for the Library and Information Science
Professions.  Munich:  K.G. Saur, 1993, 34-40.

Schroeder, Raymond E. "Computer Conferencing: Exploding the
Classroom Walls." Technological Horizons in Education, 8 (February
1981): 46.

Smith, Richard J. "International Training on the Internet" in
Continuing Professional Education and IFLA: Past, Present, and a
vision for the Future. Papers from the IFLA CPERT Second World
Conference on Continuing Professional Education for the Library and
Information Science Professions.  A Publication of the Continuing
Professional Education Round Table (CPERT) of the International
Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  Edited by
Blanche Woolls.  (London: K. G. Saur, 1993): 85-89.

Smith, Richard J. "The Electronic Information Course as an
Alternative Teaching Method,"  Research & Education Networking 2
(October 1991); 10-12.

Upitis, Rena. (1990) "Real and Contrived Uses of Electronic Mail in
Elementary Schools."  Computers Educ. 15 233-243.

Weingand, Darlene E. "Teleconferencing as a Continuing Education
Delivery System," in Woolls, Blanche, ed., Continuing Professional
Education and IFLA:  Past, Present, and a Vision for the Future:
papers from the IFLA CPERT Second World Conference on Continuing
Professional Education for the Library and Information Science
Professions.  Munich:  K.G. Saur, 1993, 48-58.

White, Mary Alice. "Synthesis of Research on Electronic Learning."
Educational Leadership, 40 (May 1983): 13-15.

Richard J. Smith
600 Wooddale Blvd. #101
Baton Rouge, LA 70806


My notes:

     (1) From "Navigating the Internet" by Mark Gibbs and Richard Smith



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