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October 10, 1995 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Bits and
Bytes
Warning: Hackers can
intercept any information trans-
mitted over an insecure Web
page. Don'tsend yourcreditcard
numberthrough cyberspace
unless you're sure the page is
secure. (You'll be told if it is.)
Kiosks: Soon all the cam-
puses will be doing it. Students
can stop by one of the ports to
find where they're going, look
up campus phone numbers,
check out coming events,
access their financial aid
records, grades and class
schedules and even send and
receive e-mail and faxes. Some
schools already keyed in: San
Francisco State U., U. of South-
ern California, Kent State U.,
Western Michigan U., U. of
Texas, Austin, U. of Pittsburgh.
New-age correspon-
dence courses: New
York's New School for Social
Research began putting classes
completely online in spring
1994. The program, called Dis-
tance Instruction for Adult
Learners (DIAL), is up to 38
courses, with students from all
over the world. DIAL even offers
online hangouts for faculty and
students to "get together"
informally. Schools such as the
U. of Pennsylvania and Duke U.
have online classes that are
only supplemented with live
instruction.
Beam me up: Increas-
ing in popularity are teleclass-
es. Satellites link students from
different schools with each
other and with lecturers -
often experts who wouldn't be
available for individual classes
- for interactive discussion
sessions.
Get off my lap!: A plan
to require all students to own
laptops met protest by students
and professors at Wake Forest
U., N.C. The plan, which was
approved by the board of
trustees and will start with the
'96 freshman class, includes
other programs but would
entail a hefty tuition hike. Pro-
testers object to not only Uhe
cost but also tbe Ureat to tbe
school's liberal arts commit-
ment. Some schools, like Vir-
ginia Tech, already require stu-
dents in certain majors to own
computers.

"I could talk to dozens or hundreds of people
at once and really get my message across," Wainess
says. "It's so different from trying to meet people
in person. It will never replace it, but it changes
the whole structure and function of face-to-face
interaction.
Some campus life observers worry that students
will forgo flesh friends for on-line connections.
Although at best the Internet should only supple-
ment personal dealings, critics agree that students
have the capability to go into Internet seclusion yet
still take care of daily routines.
Certainly, 'net riders can make and maintain
electronic relationships. But there's a lot more. At
some schools they can register for classes, get tran-
scripts, peruse library holdings, cruise document
databases for research, turn in written homework,
take exams, attend professors' office hours and even
"talk" with classmates in techno-discussion sessions.
Internet options also allow people to place
orders and pay bills - things that normally
require some venturing into the outside world -
with a keyboard and terminal instead of car keys
or bus fare.
Michael De Paola, a senior at Johns Hopkins
U., says he even learned to fix his car's brakes - a
decidedly hands-on activity - over the Internet.
"I just wasn't in the mood to ask anyone, so I
didn't," De Paola says.."I floated a message on a
newsgroup that said, 'How do I fix my brakes?'
and about 50 people replied. The directions were
perfect, probably a lot better than if I had asked a
real person."
For De Paola, the convenience of organizing
his life from his desk outweighs most benefits of
personal presence. Last year, he lived off-campus
in Baltimore but spent many weekends at home
in New York.
"It was great. I could hand in homework from
hundreds of miles away, and I could talk with my
professors from anywhere. "
De Paola's use of the Internet points to a ques-
tion college students and administrators around the
country are raising with increasing frequency: How
does new technology change the college experience,
and how much change is too much?
Please don't call on me
Archie C. Epps III, longtime dean of students at
Harvard U's Harvard College, says he worries that
Internet communication takes away from a key
component of the "college experience": learning to
work and deal with people.
"You cannot develop into a mature person if you
don't learn to look someone in the eye or hear a
tone of voice," Epps says. "College teaches valuable
life skills that students need to learn because they
are pre-professional pre-adults. The Internet, when
overused, allows people to hide from those things."
Some students say the lack of life skills necessary
to succeed in an Internet social world is part of the
charm. De Paola, for example, says he would much
rather e-mail a professor than talk face to face.
"I get nervous and intimidated, and e-mailing is

one another in ways people my year didn't exactly
understand," Lowman says.
Late-night chats between friends sprawled across
dorm-room floors aren't extinct, but they're no
more common than late-night chats between friends
across a country or continent, connected by wires
and faceless equipment.
"Suddenly everyone was obsessed with comput-
ers, and it wasn't just because they were writing
long papers," Lowman says. "Doing anything that

wasn't word processing used to be a novelty. Now
it's a necessity - that's how people deal with one
another, and if you can't, you're in trouble."
H elfl o? I s a ny bodciy in t he re ?
On a huge university campus - and Michigan
is the 16th largest in the country - finding ways to
interact with people can be a point of stress in itself.
Wainess says he couldn't have successfully conduct-
ed a campuswide campaign without techno-tools.

Have a day Sick of :-)s? Everybody knows the basic smiley. Buthave you tried these?
U zt er 019 13yE I itlwhSllylt twb ,s a tick9t5StlthyergSty
26 U. M~agazine . October 1995

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