14 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 14, 1996
Ott on lin6,e
Hig er education has moved
rom classrooms and campuses
to the information
By Chris Metinko
Daily Staff Reporter
Imagine not having to get out of
bed, rush through breakfast and battle
Michigan's bitter-cold temperatures to get
Online technology has made this a realit
many institutions around the country. And rec
the University has begun to explore the inforr
superhighway as an alternative to classroom e
"We envision technology making it possil
an extended learning environment," said Mark
the University's director of Academic Outrea
program dedicated to breaking down educat
barriers and bringing the virtual classroom t
dents across the world.
Academic Outreach began less than two year
and has already made a significant impact on 1
nology in the classroom. The program 11
helped develop projects such as the School of
Public Health's On-Job, On-Campus pro-
gram. Academic Outreach also has pro-
moted the Virtual Auto U, a joint oper-
ation between the University,
Michigan State University and the
three major automakers - Ford,
General Motors and Chrysler
The School of Public Health's OJ/OC
makes communication between staff, facult,
students possible online with both e-mail and
ferencing. Students, however, still must att
four-day session on campus once a month.
The new Virtual Auto U is a program start
Michigan Gov. John Engler to help autor
workers in the state of Michigan by keeping
up-to-date with automotive technology.
Academic Outreach also had a hand in puttir
English Composition Board services on the
Now, cyber-tutoring by University ECB tuts
possible off campus. At Murray-Wright
School in Detroit, for example, students c,
tutored by ECB members.
Along these lines, Academic Outreach isi
process of creating a college preparation prc
complete with CD-ROMs and Internet use, t
prepare high school students for college.
Today is the first day students can linkt
But the debate still continues over whether
Internet education is a legitimate way to promote
"It depends on the subject," said James
Duderstadt, former University president.
Currently, Duderstadt is working to expand edu-
cation online through the Virtual University and
the Virtual Auto U. Although enthusiastic about
the possibilities for online education,
Duderstadt said the classroom is still at the
heart of learning.
"There is quite a bit of evidence that
distance learning is very effective,"
Duderstadt said. "I don't think it will
ever substitute for the residential educa-
Duderstadt added that elite schools will probably
never offer degrees over the Internet.
"The secret is not relying exclusively on the
Internet," said Jerome Johnston, adjunct professor
in the School of Education and the department of
communication studies at the University. "For exam-
ple, my class of students still meets once a week, but
the Internet and Web provide a space for presenta-
tions and for continuing work in-between meetings
of the class.
"Motivated students can learn from TV or Internet
instruction," Johnston continued, adding that the Net
has a place in academia.
Duderstadt said online education offers conve-
nience to people who would otherwise be limited by
"The real advantage is it releases you of the
restraints of space and time," Duderstadt said. "(For)
someone who has a job or family, it is very difficult
to stop and go to a campus."
Not only does technology-based education pro-
vide easy access to an environment of higher learn-
ing, it also provides the institutions with the ability
to offer it at a cheaper cost. Advances like the
--- --- - -- ----- - ----- - - -
to offer 8-10 courses next fall."
New York University recently announced a program
that will allow IBM employees around the world to
earn a degree in information science.
Academic Outreach website and
of the Academic Outreach
1997 spring/summer courses.
"I think we've had some
success," said School of
Information Prof. Douglas
Van Houweling, dean of
However, program organizers
are talking with deans of
other colleges in an effort to
further expand Academic
Outreach, he said.
Barabra Nanzig, assistant
dean for Academic Outreach,
also has a vision for expan-
sion. "What I would really
like to be doing is offering
two dozen courses," Nanzig
get the full listing
Haas sees the
space and timeE,"
th eso- Jam es Duderstadt
Former University president
University is following a path simi-
lar to the program at NYU. "It's
just a matter of time before the
University of Michigan starts
this," Haas said.
The University online
While the University does not
offer the selection of long dis-
tance learning programs some
other schools provide, it is
branching out onto the Web.
The College of Engineering
offers masters degree programs
in automotive engineering and
manufacturing for people
already working in those fields.
The School of Business
Administration has offered
classes to employees of Cathy
in Hong Kong and workers of the
Eastern Michigan University is
offering Internet-based courses,
McCafferty, associate dean for
learning resource and technolo-
gy. "We will have some ready
for the fall. We're looking at
McCafferty said Eastern
Michigan has several people
working on Internet courses A
and trying to decide which o
ones offer a high-quality edu- s
The courses' schedule has t
not yet been determined, but i
one program is expected to be
a computer course for teachers.d
"We're looking at some pro- s
grams," McCafferty said. I
"There is a lot of interest in it.C
There is no question there is aa
market for it. People don't want J
to come to campus."e
Some parts of existing cours- t
es at Eastern Michigan use the b
Internet, and Eastern Michigan b
already is involved in video
Dr. Connie Krustin, a profes-
The history of
Although most think the idea
of long-distance education
started with video conferenc-
ng on the Internet, long-dis-
tance education was started
n Great Britain years ago.
"There is a long tradition of
distance learning by televi-
sion that precedes the
nternet," said Education and
adjunct Prof. Jerome
Johnston. "The BBC discov-
ered several decades ago
that one always needs to
bring a class together face-
to-face at various times to be
Internet and interactive video moni-
tors have made it easier for universi-
ties to reach remote sites around the
world, expanding class size by as
much as four times.
However, institutions that look to
the Internet in that context are taking
the wrong approach, Duderstadt said.
"I think those institutions that
approach the Internet as a cheaper
way to educate are' going to fail,"
The future of Internet
"I could very easily see the bulk of
a master's degree being given over the
Net," Haas said.
Duderstadt predicts even more.
"Many students, maybe the majori-
ty, will get their education this way,"
However, Academic Outreach has
far to go before it can achieve goals
"The process we're going through
now is to educate the campus about
Outreach," Haas said. "My hope we can
The idea of learning over the Internet is not a new
one. The University of Phoenix already offers full
degrees over the Internet. Duke University is now
offering a Bacherlor of Arts program online, and
Daewoo Group in Korea. The classes, which rely
heavily on the Internet and interactive video, also
involve short campus visits to the University.
However, potential stu-
dents hoping for that under-
graduate degree over the
Internet may have a long
wait. Academic Outreach
does not offer many under-
graduate credit courses at the
"We haven't provided
much in the way of Internet-
based course work," Van
Houweling said, adding that
he doesn't see the University
or Academic Outreach aban-
doning the classroom.
"For the forseeable future,
there will be a residential
aspect," Van Houweling said.
"I think student-to-teacher
interaction is important; also,
But if students want class-
es taught solely through the
Internet, they can look just
beyond the Ann Arbor cam-
Michigan State University
recently announced plans to
offer courses in home com-
puting, nursing, social work
and telecommunications over
the Internet and there are
sor of business technology, teaches a legal research
course that incorporates the Internet. She said she
can see the appeal of Internet courses because at
Eastern Michigan, there are many commuters trying
to juggle jobs and education.
Cyberspace vs. the classroom
The Internet is not a replacement for the class-
room, but rather a valuable educational tool, Krustin
"I felt that the face-to-face element is very impor-
tant," Krustin said. "I would be hesitant to do it all
over the Internet. It's a supplemental tool. I don't
see it as a replacement," Krustin said.
Many point to the loss of personal interaction as a
major drawback to Internet- and technology-based
education. The drop-out rate with these type of
courses is higher than residence courses at some col-
leges, but Van Houweling said this will not be the
case if students are taking the Internet classes in
addition to classes on campus.
"Courses offered to individuals not involved in a
learning community have a higher drop-out rate,"
Van Houweling said. "There is no reason to suppose
we will be any less selective for Academic Outreach
than is the residential community."
The new mode of learning shouldn't prompt reg-
istered students to quit the classes though, Haas said.
"The early indication is people can learn very,
vrv e ffectivelv from technolop-v I think the dron-
create excitement around the idea."
Links to Internet
Potential students can
browse the Spring/Summer
course listings for Academic
Outreach. The website opens
today for these courses.
Cyber-tutoring by English
Composition Board tutors via
ThnIIinct nin-a ri tra