In the Spring of 1996, undergraduate and graduate students at Eastern Kentucky U. and Texas Tech U. were linked together in an extended seminar on literature and science. The courses did not share identical syllabii, although there were fortuitous points where they coincided, and there was considerable overlap in primary and secondary readings. Both courses looked aggressively at the science behind science fiction, reviewing the history of science with special reference to physics, information theory, chaos and complexity theory. Neither course presumed scientific knowledge on the part of the students taking the course. The courses shared a discussion list, the times of the courses overlapped making extended moo session spossible, and websites were up and running by the 4th week of the course. Furthermore, we were able to invite several authors of secondary readings to the MOO sessions, exposing our students from regional universities to internationally recognized experts often accessible only at elite institutions. The experiment was a resounding success; yet, it has proven difficult to match that success in the two other semesters that linked courses were attempted at EKU. This paper will inquire into the diffeences among the three attempts in order to ask whether these kind of approaches offer a different model of distance education than one currently touted in Kentucky and elsewhere.

Presenter: Martin E. Rosenberg


Target Audience: Intermediate

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