I( FOLKS, YOUR VIRTUAL TERM
papers are due Friday. And I
expect at least two rap video clips
to go with each section of commentary. If you have any
questions, just catch me on the Web chat...."
Students at many colleges have "Since I teach media and pop
come to expect this kind of assign- culture analysis courses, the ability
ment. Innovative computer-orient- to use visual, moving images is a
ed courses are popping up in every big bonus," says Tom Kushman,
discipline, from philosophy to professor of sociology at Wellesley
agriculture. College in Massachusetts.
Kushman pioneered the virtual
term paper in 1993. "It allows stu-
dents to break away from using
magazines and newspapers as their
only sources for media examples,"
Wendy Wong, a sophomore at
Wellesley who took Kushman's
media analysis class, says, "The
emphasis on computers made
[sociology] seem less dry. We
could really personalize our work."
Lucinda Roy, a Virginia Tech
professor, has taught interactive
classes, but she cautions against
relying too heavily on computers.
"My students seemed to really
enjoy the class I taught online last
summer," Roy says. "But the topic
- the civil rights movement -
included some highly emotional
material. Students seem to need
[some] face-to-face discussion with
that kind of subject matter."
David Hibler, an English pro-
fessor at the U. of Nebraska, Lin-
coln, is blazing a trail with a Web-
based class. "Students of the 21st
century will need to know how to
manipulate text effectively, and
they will have to manipulate the
entire environment in which that
text is displayed."
Hibler's students have created
a class home page (http://cwis.
have completed many projects and
assignments on the Web.
So hold on to your hard drives,
computerphobes, your class may
be the next to go online.
Tara Tuckwiller, Virginia Tech/
Illustration by Darrin Bell, U. of
Bits & Bytes
Towering above the rest
Northwest Missouri State U. stu-
dents will be getting a bonus in their
1995-9 Toweryearbooks: a CD. No,
not Alanis Morissette. CD-ROMs, with
audio and videoto accompany the
stories in the printed version. The
Towerwill be the first college year-
book with an interactive component.
The book won't cost any more. But if
you want Jagged little Pill, too,
that'llbe another 12 bucks or so.
A Carnegie Mellon U. study on
Internet use indicates thatthe aver-
age network user is not interested in
cyberporn. Researchers reported that
fewer than one-fifth of the users
sampledhave looked at any sexually
oriented newsgroup morethan twice
since the project began in February.
Take that, Cindy Silicone Chip.
I want my InterneTV
Look out, MTK U. of Texas,
Austin, students can now see music
videos on the Web via student-run
KVR-lnterneTV. The station offers a
mix of music videos, an animated
program, a rap/hip-hop documentary
and a weekly visit to Austin. Tune in
Home page contest
Wake up and smell the cash!
Vivarin's giving away a $10,000
scholarship and other neat-o prizes
to students with zippy home pages in
its "There's No Place Like Nome
Pages Contest." Enter your home
page by Dec. 31,1995, at http://
The old adage "If something sounds
too good to be true, it probably is," was
never morn applicable than in the case
of Peter Panos.
Panos, a sophomore at the Metro-
politan State College of Denver,
answered an advertisement for a
"guaranteed" scholarship. Just pay a
modest fee ($30 to $125), then sit back
and wait for opportunity to come
knocking, the ad read.
Panos followed the ad's instruc-
tions and contacted a company called
Academic Investment Money. When he
made the call to ATM's 800 number, he
found that the company asks for an $89
fee upfront, and it's automatically with-
drawn from students' bank accounts.
"I paid the fee like they asked, butI
never got a response," Panos said.
After more than a month of waiting,
Panos called the company.
Panos says he was told that he
needed to talk to a customer service
representative, who was supposed to
be available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. East-
ern time. When Panos called the new
number he was given, it turned out to
be a fax line. Undaunted, he called the
first number again.
The receptionist became so irate
with Panos, she started insulting him,
"She called me a dummy and
told me I needed to learn to tell time,"
This isn't an isolated incident for
this company. According to the Better
Business Bureauof New York, Academ-
ic Investment Money has chalked up 44
complaints, 27 of which came between
August'94 and August'95.
Academic Investment Company
would not comment on the allegations.
Panos still hasn't received a
scholarship or refund, but he has
learned a lesson.
"I just got took," he says. "I'll be
tougher with my money next time."
Students don't have to go to outside
companies for scholarship information.
Jeane Goody at the BBB in Colorado
says these companies generally provide
information that students can obtain
through their financial aid offices.
"If students can do the work on
their own," Goody says, "they won't
need to take the risk of using these
Robert Arrieta, Metropolitan State
College of Denver
After money mat- h p
ters, picking a band or
speaker that will pack
the house is the hep n
hbiggest concern for ,4_ _
student programmers. s
Choosing perform- -
ers for campus is just forget
like picking melons at
a supermarket. You
start by looking at the t
choices, be it rock or'
rap, activist or busi-
nessman, honeydew or)
cantaloupe. The most
obvious choice is tw
what's in season and ours
whether it's in your
pFor the most part, t a w
students rely on cata-
logues and conven-a
tions that showcase ab u
the hippest and
hottest acts on the
college circuit. RON OPALESKI, U. OF
Groups like the FLORIDA
for Campus Activities (NACA) sponsor conven-
tions and publish brochures that give programmers
the chance to see the goods and thump-test them
Programmers agree that the most inexpensive
and hassle-free method of booking performers is to
go straight to the source - the performer's agent.
But there are no guarantees in the college book-
ing game. Even if programmers pick a sure thing,
it's a given that some shows will bomb. Whether it's
rain, faulty equipment or performers who flake, the
programming show must go on.
"You've got to make a lot of lucky predictions,"
says Mark Shulman, a senior at Penn State U. and
director of the university's concert committee.
"Sometimes you'll fall flat. It's all a risk."
And sometimes, you've just got to wing it.
When Richie Havens, a folky throwback from the
Woodstock days, showed up at California State U.,
Chico, minus instruments, student programmers
scrambled for backups. "Luckily, all he needed was
acoustic guitars," says Ajamu Lamumba, adviser to
the programming council.
Scheduling conflicts are just part of the risk.
When programmers at the U. of Wisconsin,
Stevens Point, booked Alamo - a hot local coun-
try act - they were sure they had a hit. And if it
weren't for a Green Bay Packers game, they would
have raised the roofs, says Owen Sartori, a senior
at Wisconsin and student coordinator for Center-
tainment Productions. "About 20 people showed
up for the show. Everyone else was at home
watching the Packers game," Sartori says. "It was
a lesson learned."
Even if they use an agent, colleges can still end
up paying a higher market price for performers and
"It's a cutthroat business," Opaleski says. "If I'm
an agent selling a band, I know that college boards
are there to entertain, not to make money. The
funds are replenished every year, and agents know
that the money is there to be spent, so the price we
pay can be higher than what they would get at other
With acts like the Black Crowes, Notorious
B.I.G. and Jon Stewart under his campus entertain-
ment belt, Opaleski says spending UF's $250,000
budget is a risky game.
And then there are those bands (who will remain
unnamed) that milk the college circuit for money,
exposure and a following, only to jack up their price
or dump the campus scene the second they hit the
cover of Rolling Stone. What's up with that?
"Students are the ones who buy the music.
We're the ones who listen, and we're the ones who
give some of these bands their big breaks," says
Sandy Brouillette, a senior at Nicholls State U. in
Louisiana and president of the student program-
ming association. "Now those bands say they don't
even want to do the college circuit."
Bureaucracy is part
of the problem. Pro-
grammers are bogged
down with school pro-
cedures and guidelines
and spend precious
bargaining time choos-
ing performers and get-
ting checks approved,
The growing rift
between college radio
boards is also changing
the college music
scene. College radio
tends to lean toward
giving airplay to the
poor and unknown,
look for big-name
bands that will pack
"The college mar-
ket hasn't been as
much of a launching
pad for bands as it
used to be," Goldberg
says. "Radio thinks
that anything you've
heard of is too com-
mercial and main-
stream. It's like, if a
ler are a big hit band has commercial
success, it's sold out."
And if colleges aren't breaking out the talent like
they used to, why bother with the college circuit at all?
The most common complaint programmers face
is about who they choose. Even the big names draw
criticism from remote corners of campus. Hootie
and the Blowfish? A frat boy's band. Phish? No more
hippie stuff! Dan Quayle? Die, Republican scum!The
"You can't please everybody" seems to be the
universal mantra chanted by all student program-
mers. Getting a variety of performers is the ideal,
but so is accurately predicting the whims of stu-
dents' entertainment interests.
"Our mission is to provide entertainment for
students at the lowest prices," Opaleski says.
"Students have no idea what goes on behind the
scenes - the risks we take, how much we pay
And what's the reward for this seemingly thank-
less and harrowing job?
Being able to say "I got 10,000 Maniacs for
$200 back in '90."
Or better yet, telling stories about rubbing
elbows with the now rich and famous - or just get-
ting them clean towels.
For others, being on the programming board is
just a foot in the door to opportunities after college.
"I get paid $65 every two weeks. For the amount
of time I put in, that works out to about 35 cents an
hour," says Opaleski. "You don't do it for the
money. You do it because you love music and want
to work in the industry."
Colleen Rush, assistant editor, is currently touring on the col-
lege circuit. With a little coaxing and afew beers, she'llstuff
herselfinto a shimmery prom dress and do the best Aretha
Franklin impression this side ofDetro.
Show and Tell
Wining and dining (or is it boozing
and cruising?) the acts that come to cam-
pus is a tough job, but someone's gotta
do it. For all the thankless hours that stu-
dent programmers put in, they get to tell
stories like these:
get Mark Bryan of ooe and the Blowfish
fromthewU ofMiamiOhio, toIndianaU.afew
hours beore the show. The bus lft Miam,
port rented a car and made it in time for the at Colorad
perormance. glamour of
" Mark Shulman, a senior at Penn State five Gramm
U., remembers getting the Red Not Chili 'Whoa, we
Peppers in '91. Only slightly more bizarre pus,"' Lob
than Pearl Jam opening for practically
nothing was the Peppers' request for four * The stud
Penn State socks. Knowing their rep for A&M U. ca
wearing socks on their pee-pees and teaching M
nothing else, the students waited until western d
after the show to hand over the goods. a perform
he said he
* Carrot Top had students lining up back- country-a
stage at Nicholls State U. "They weren't Jonathan
asking questions or getting autographs or presidents
anything," says senior Sandy Brouillette. gramming
"They just asked to touch his hair." some stud
" Keith Lobdell, a senior and programmer him how t
if you can
Here they are, kids - listed
in no particular order (other
than our preference). Some
you've heard of, some you
haven't. Like it or not, these
acts are coming to a campus
near you soon.
G. Love & Special Sauce
Big Head Todd and
The Archers of Loaf
Better Than Ezra
George Clinton and the P-Funk
the Bit Map
LINKING THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY WITH
the old-fashioned concrete highway, a young band
of virtual travelers piled into a van with some
high-priced technology and hit the road.
"That makes it kind of interest-
ing for us," Guthrie says. "But one
time I really wanted to go to the
Florida Keys, and we got sent up
into Tennessee. I was a little
bummed, but everywhere we've
been has been cool."
Nowadays, any time a group of
strangers has to live together for
awhile there inevitably are compar-
isons to MTV's The Real World.
"We're very much a different
story," says Lystra, who took the
semester off from the U. of Oregon
to participate. "Those people are
pretty controlled by the network.
Our employers can't really stop us
from doing what we want to do.
We're much more... well, real than
The Real World."
AOL members can type the
keyword LOST to visit the travel-
ers and learn how to be one in
future trips. The next trek starts
PowerBook? Check. Digital
camera? Check. Snowshoes? Check.
You're armed and ready.
Shad Powers, Assistant Editor
Five 20somethings are exploring
the United States and relaying their
findings via America Online in an
adventure dubbed Lost in America.
One of the travelers, Tony
Lystra, describe sthe process as
"rumblin' from town to town, doin'
some late-night drivin', then wakin'
up to a whole new city and different
people around you."
The crew has run into a few
roadblocks along the way. Two of
the five PowerBooks fizzled out.
And with the idea being to visit the
smaller towns of America, some of
the hotels they've stayed in haven't
exactly been introduced to '90s
"The phone lines don't always
work, so they have to transmit
from local diners, or the back
offices of bars," says co-creator Alex
Okuilar. "That's probably the
The intrepid cast - Lystra,
:.Shannon Guthrie, Kiely Sullivan,
Amaani Lyle and Nick Wise -.
have developed a bit of a cult
"We have a few people that seem
like they're living through us," says
Guthrie from a pit stop in Chat-
tanooga, Tenn. "People write to us
and say, 'This is just like the trip I
took in the '70s.' You don't want to
let them down."
AOL users actually control the
fate of the travelers. Each week, one
of three destinations is selected by
the online masses.
o State U., didn't notice the
his job until he booked Sheryl
o days before she picked up
mys. "Seeing her on TV was like,
are bringing big names to cam-
lent programmers at Texas
n't help bragging about
Mikhail Baryshnikov how to
ance. "He was on campus for
ance of The Nutcracker, and
was really interested in
nd-western dancing," says
Neerman, the executive vice
of relations for student pro-
and a senior at A&M. "So
ents took him out and taught
o Texas two-step."
Meaty performers like Blues Trave
on the college circuit.
10 U. aga o ine " December 1995
December 1995 " U. Magazine 15