Rethinking The Academy:

Virtual Classes


Teaching via computers with modem or hard-wire connection can afford teachers and students the opportunity to work virtually. That is, students and teachers alike can, in place of a face-to-face meeting, agree to "meet" via e-mail, in a moo such as Lingua or Daedalus Moo, an on-line environment which simulates a "real" environment with "rooms" and "halls" and even "classrooms" and "lecture centers."

Other interfaces are possible: for instance, one could teach a class using a newsgroup on the Internet, or on a web page using such software as hypernews, in which members of the classroom community can post messages on an interactive and changing web page, and to which other members of the community can respond. As the page grows, it develops into an outline of the conversation.

Commercial products can also be used by teachers - Norton Connect creates a space in which composition classes can distribute papers, comment on each other's work, and otherwise carry one the work of the class. IBM Notes (previously Lotus Notes) also offers possibility for teaching since it allows for the collaborative creation of various kinds of texts. And, of course, Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment was written by compositionists for compositionists.

Entire classes can be held in cyberspace; there are three main models for the use of computers and the Internet in classroom teaching.


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Last Modified: August 2, 1996

Copyright 1996 by Keith Dorwick