Poster4 Abstract

Bearcat Forum: Academic Coursework Using AltaVista Forum

Northwest Missouri State has adopted AltaVista's Forum conferencing software for courses and academic collaboration. Piloted during the Spring of 1997 in selected classes, the local "Bearcat Forum" is growing in use during the 1997-98 academic year. Alta Vista Forum organizes Team Areas for various groups or classes, accessible throught the world wide web. Having used Northwest's Bearcat Forum with several classes, I will demonstrate the functions such as discussion, document sharing, and real-time chatting.

Interested visitors to the poster session can explore the Forum interface with some hands-on navigation of its features. Samples left from the spring classes can be browsed. With the right Internet hookups and preparation, we could even have a "distance interaction" component, by setting up a C&W Conference Team Area as if it was a course space. Visitors could login from the Networked Writing Environment facilities at the conference site or from their home locations through the Online Conference.

There are a lot of choices of conferencing software available. Seeing demonstrations and getting some hands-on practice can help decision makers through the maze of possibilities. Institutionally chosen software is not always the best for addressing the needs of English classes, but any such electronic space for writing can engage readers and writers in sharing and responding to collaboratively evolving texts and thought processes.

Target Audience: Novice

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