1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98663 USA
v: (206) 699-0131
Education, higher; Research, academic; Library; Other
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Local commitment to network-based activities; Leverage of public funding; Partnerships between public and private sector
Internet Users Status Report
February 24, 1993
Clark College has had access to the Internet for over a year and a half now. For the first year access was limited to the Computer Science Department and dial-up access. With the implementation of the campus backbone and connections to faculty and staff offices this year, access is now available to almost everyone on campus. Faculty and staff may also access the Internet from home via a modem. There is a great deal of enthusiasm and interest in using the Internet on campus.
Technical support for the lnternet connection including the installation and maintenance of hardware and software required to support the connection and activities on the Internet (i.e.., email, news, ftp, and telnet) has been provided by the Computer Science faculty (Jim Cowen) and technical support staff (Adrian Mirancla). Sheehan and his group have been instrumental iii expanding lnternet access to faculty and staff on the campus via the campus backbone. These groups have worked closely together to handle the complex systems required to support the lnternet effort. The National Science Foundation provided funds to support our initial connection through a “Connections to the NSFNet” grant submitted by the Computer Science Department and awarded to the school last year.
User support for the Internet has been handled by setting up Internet User Groups who provide a great deal of their own support by sharing ideas and answering questions among themselves. These users come from the far corners of the campus, but are finding that it is easy to communicate and collapse physical distances by using email and the Internet. The more experienced users are helping newcomers get started and a definite Internet Community is springing up on Clark’s Campus.
The purpose of this report is to document the evolution of this Internet Community at Clark College.
We currently have two Internet user groups on campus. The first group have been using the Internet for over a year now and the second group just started last week. These groups consist of members from all over campus including faculty, staff, and administrators. Members of the experienced group are in a position to act as mentors and guides for members of the beginner group. Eventually, as the beginners become more experienced, these groups will combine and a new beginners group will commence (probably next Fall).
Currently there are 28 members in the experienced group and 20 in the beginners group. These groups are open and anyone may join a group at any time based upon their skill level. User groups have a general meeting of all members once a quarter. Periodically small subgroups get together for informal training conducted by one of the more experienced users. Training is self-paced, recognizing that most users have very little free time. Tutorial and reference handouts are being developed to help users learn Internet skills and find useful Internet resources.
We have created several local newsgroups that are used to share information. For example, when someone discovers a new resource or how to perform a useful task, such as, where to find weather pictures or how to cut and paste from windows to your Internet session, they may write a short article and post it for others to read. Users are also encouraged to post questions and to answer questions via the newsgroup. We are currently working on developing a frequently asked question list to answer questions commonly asked by new users which would be periodically posted.
We are also organizing a local ftp archive site on which we will store files that we feel would be commonly sought by Clark users. Then users can transfer files from the local archive without having to deal with outside sites that may be busy or hard to navigate. This archive will also be useful for training Clarkers in how to use ftp to transfer files.
HOW THE INTERNET IS BEING USED
The Internet is being used in a variety of ways at Clark College. Please see the individual email responses to the question, “How are you using the Internet?” attached to this report.
Clarkers are using the Internet to keep abreast with their field of study and with technical advances, to communicate with colleagues from other schools (such as Mike Greenwood!) and to do collaborative research or co-author publications. They are using email to communicate on campus and submit media requests or recommend tutors. They are using the Internet for technical advice and support, for evaluating equipment and purchasing choices, and for downloading free software both for instructional (math software for the lab) and technical (Novell patches) support.The Computer Science Department is using the Internet connection to provide programming students with access to a mainframe computer at WSU, to train students in using email and other Internet services, and to provide valuable experience to Computer Science students in maintaining, setting up and using software related to network operation. The Graphics Arts Department is using the Internet to allow students to access valuable information in their field.
ADVANTAGES TO THE COLLEGE
The advantages of Internet access are numerous and will increase rapidly as users learn how to access more and more network resources. The Internet provides an enormous boost to faculty development efforts. It allows faculty to communicate with colleagues, participate in collaborative projects, and keep abreast in their fields. It gives them access to software, documents, data bases, and vast bibliographies to aid in research and productivity. It allows access to computer resources not available at Clark.
In a time of limited budgets, the lnternet allows us to obtain free or low-cost software to use in the classroom or on our computers. (Pegasus mail was obtained from the Internet as were many other programs that are used to maintain and support our Internet connection.) It bridges distances and allows faculty and staff to form wider support groups. This is very important in reducing the isolation felt by faculty in this far corner of the United States with limited travel budgets.
The Internet supplies valuable technical support by providing advice and opinions from technical professionals throughout the world. Using the Internet we can often contact the author of a piece of software or the engineers who designed equipment we have purchased. Users can join application newsgroups where they can ask, “How do you?” questions and get informed answers. They can access many manuals and technical publications directly from the Internet.
The Internet allows us to do things more efficiently and effectively. Email eliminates the dreaded phone tag and provides a useful tool for contacting part- time instructors or textbook representatives who have access through their companies. It can save paper by allowing users to submit requests and forms electronically. We can use the Internet to distribute journals and newsletters electronically as well. The Internet provides a way for us to cost effectively advertise for position openings nationally or even worldwide.
The Internet has many advantages for our students as well. It allows us to provide students with experience in up-to-date technology, to give them access to current information in their field, to expand their reach in terms of research, and to open their eyes to new forms of communication. It allows us to give them tools to enhance their educational experience and research capabilities.
We feel that one of the greatest advantages to Clark of access to the Internet is the sense of excitement and enthusiasm that it is generating among users. The Internet spirit of sharing and helping one another, its power to eliminate isolation, bridge distances and encourage open communication is infectious. The Internet is providing a much needed sense of motivation and excitement at Clark College.
So far I have only begun scratching the surface of the Internet capability. I belong to one group that discusses various aspects of Arthurian mythology. Although that is not specifically my area of study, much of the discussion takes place in the general framework of mythological theory, and I have picked up on several ideas that have been useful in the class I teach.
Later this spring I will learn how to access several on-line bibliographies which will help considerably in my research. I am working right now with a task force of editors of historical journals on establishing a national bibliographical database for creating specialized bibliographies, either/or for online access or for further refinement and publication in the various journals.
Finally, I’m using the Internet to keep in touch with Mike Greenwood, who is on sabbatical in Russia. The Internet is the only fast, trustworthy form of communication: the mail often doesn’t get through and the phones more often than not don’t work.
How do we love the Internet? Let me count the ways! I use it regularly to read news regarding archaeology and scuba diving. Just sent info on underwater archaeology to a student at Kansas State interested in grad studies. I send messages to colleagues in forensic anthropology around the country to discuss cases and upcoming meetings, and I converse with associates in the UK regularly.
I use the net on a regular basis in order to keep up with the latest developments in Multimedia hardware, software and strategies. Also of great interest are the discussions in Artificial Intelligence, Neural networks, number theory and fractals etc. It has also been very useful in obtaining FREE drivers and software updates as well as tech tips from the actual soft/hardware developers. Extremely useful for evaluating equipment purchase choices. Great for bug alerts, bogus gear warnings and interconnectivity commiserating… not to mention the sheer thrill of schmoozing with the best and brightest from around the planet… SC
I’ve been subscribing to a mailing list about diabetes. I’ve learned quite a lot about diabetes and it has helped me to control it. Also, I’ve been getting a weather forecast from the national weather service from time to time.
I attempted to set up a play-by-email game but decided that it would be easier to maintain by attaching to various servers to copy the files (complexity of mailing files and then extracting them interferes with smoothness of play).
For a while I was running a sort of `interactive story’ by email. The players would send me there actions and I would control the actions of the background characters. The plot of the story would develop from what the players did. As the game went on I kept a file of all of the responses and then from time to time I would compile them into a story so the players could read of their exploits. It was rather entertaining and I wouldn’t mind running something like that again, if there is interest. I have ftp’d a few applications for windows that have proven to be useful. And, of course, a few games as well. 🙂 That’s about it I suppose.
Also: I have been using Internet mainly to access ISAAC. Through ISAAC I have found info that has been useful to the Tutoring Center (developing the Tutor Training component) and to DVED (working on curriculum and our retention policy).
I have also downloaded some software and just noticed some other programs related to science which I plan to download and then ask appropriate instructors to evaluate/approve for use in the Tutoring Center.
I have used elm to request and receive tutor recommendations from faculty.
I have used elm to give messages to other Clark staff both within my division (since we are not all on campus) and in other divisions.
When I taught Ed 201 I used the network to demonstrate some of the potential that technology offers to educators. (Ed 201 is Introduction to Education)