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Volume 6, Number 2 January 15, 2002

Balancing Act: Online Learning Becomes the “Third Shift” for Women
By Mary Lou Santovec

uch of the literature on working online education as a way, often the only Interviews with students, administra-
M mothers emphasizes their “second
shift.” The term refers to the housework,
way, of adding coursework to their busy
lives. They choose this route for career
tors, former students, business execu-
tives, teachers, and online researchers
child-care duties, and other responsibili- enhancement or to keep a job as well as were conducted at various sites including
ties women tackle after finishing their for personal enrichment. However, schools, homes, and businesses. Students
first-shift job. from all types of schools — proprietary,
In addition to their obligations as public, private, and virtual — were rep-
both an employee and parent, many resented.
working mothers have now taken on a Many working mothers have Some 60% of nontraditional online
“third shift” — online education. learners surveyed were over 25 years old
Adding online courses to their already now taken on a “third shift” and female. They ranged in age from 20
full plate has implications for both high- to “over 80.”
er education and society, said Cheris
— online education. “The adult women in this study look
Kramarae, a professor in the Center for to higher education for many reasons
the Study of Women in Society at the including career development, personal
University of Oregon. As the 1999-2000 “there has been almost no research on development, job requirements, and for
scholar-in-residence at the American how they are incorporating this ‘third obtaining information on a subject,”
Association of University Women, shift’ into their lives, or how online Kramarae said. “Many of them have
Kramarae authored the study, “The courses can best serve their needs,” said complex identities and complex reasons.
Third Shift: Women Learning Online.” Kramarae. They bring these complexities to their
“The majority of online students are courses. Preferences for certain kinds of
women,” she said. “Yet, while they are
Complex Reasons, Identities learning styles are aligned with real-life
the key users of the new technology-dri- The AAUW study surveyed 481 possibilities.”
ven learning, they are underrepresented women and 53 men. Kramarae and her The majority of the virtual students
in college administrative positions and in research associates collected data over a surveyed had educational goals and aspi-
the design of software and the develop- 16-month period using in-depth inter- rations similar to those of traditional-age
ment of online courses. The many cur- viewing and an online questionnaire. The students attending traditional bricks-
rently proposed and actual ‘revolutionary’ interview guide and questionnaire includ- and-mortar campuses. “Online students
changes in higher education involving ed questions about access to resources are seeking the same intellectual engage-
new communication technologies make needed for online learning, learning ment and richness that students seek in
this a critical time to examine what’s styles, best and worst educational experi- the traditional context,” said Kramarae.
happening with gender online.” ences, and experiences, worries, and suc- “Most of them report themselves to be
Women are increasingly looking at cesses regarding online education. highly motivated and self-directed. They
often mention specific goals and persis-
in this issue tence even when they have great difficul-
ty finding time and/or the money for
their courses. It’s important that online
Distance Ed: Women’s “3rd Shift”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
learning not give short shrift to these
In the Field: Engineering an Online Master’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 goals and priorities.”
Global Village: Worldwide Copyright Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Most of the study participants believe
that taking online courses is more diffi-
Tech Briefing: New Frontiers In Video? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 cult than those taken on campus. “Many
Resources: Meet You In Lisbon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 mentioned the necessity of high motiva-
In the Field: Afghani At a Distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 continued on page 2
R e p o r t
Balancing Act...from page 1

Distance Education Report (ISSN 1094-320X) is

published semimonthly by Magna Publications Inc., tion, time-management skills, and ‘matu- • Establish places for online students
2718 Dryden Drive, Madison, WI 53704.
Phone: 800-433-0499. Copyright © 2002. One-year rity’ for success in online courses,” she to talk face to face when possible.
(24 issues) subscription: $399. Periodicals postage said. “Some of the women mentioned the • Find ways to make women stu-
paid at Madison, WI POSTMASTER: Send change ability to work late at night or very early dents feel welcome online.
of address to: Distance Education Report, 2718 Dryden
Drive, Madison, WI 53704. E-mail: custserv@mag- in the morning as added benefits.” • Combine efforts to make political; Web Site: Despite the positive aspects of online leaders and policy makers aware of
Vice President: Jody Glynn Patrick learning, the study also found a down- the problems, especially financial,
Publisher: William Haight side. Many of the participants reported that adult women face in trying to
( significant anxiety about fulfilling their continue their education.
Managing Editor: Christopher Hill other roles while having to study, con- • Consider rent-to-own or interest-
( duct research, and write papers. free leasing options for required
Marketing Manager: William Haight “For all the benefits of distance learn- equipment.
( ing for women, these students still have “I could add that many teachers
Graphics/Production: Debra Lovelien to make tremendous sacrifices to balance expressed concern about how decisions
Customer Service: Mark Beyer the demands of work, family, and about online programs are being made,”
Editorial Advisory Board: Stephen Donahue, M.S., G-
school,” said Kramarae. “Despite the Kramarae said. “A director of a distance
Learner Corp.; Stephen Ehrmann, Vice President, TLT motivation and dedication online learn- education network at a private university
Group; Donald P. Ely, Associate Director, ERIC
Clearinghouse on Information & Technology; Jeffrey ers demonstrate, our study found that suggested that while most community
Feldberg, Chairman, CEO, Embanet Corporation; many of them are still made to feel that colleges and private schools have a long
Gordon Freedman, Director, Strategies & Alliances,
Prometheus; Christine Geith, Director, Program and they are letting their families down when history of bottom-up interest and plan-
Business Development, MSU Global, Michigan State they try to further their education.” ning in distance involvement, ‘the
University; Chere Gibson, Ph.D., Associate Professor,
University of Wisconsin-Madison; Darcy W. Hardy, Other concerns included the cost of publics,’ with their history of extension
Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic
Affairs/Director, UT Telecampus, The University of tuition and equipment, the course load, schools, have been accustomed to dis-
Texas System; Joseph Holland, Chair, Department of and the lack of accreditation of many tance learning decisions being made by
Hospitality & Tourism, University of Wisconsin-Stout;
Marge Jeffers, WTCN Distance Education Network, Fox distance learning programs. top administrators.”
Valley Technical College; Marina Stock McIssac, This lack of involvement on the part
Educational Media and Computers, Arizona State
University; Karen L. Murphy, Ed.D., Associate Professor,
Policy Recommendations of faculty will eventually slow down
Texas A&M University; Christine Olgren, Ph.D., Chair,
Distance Teaching and Learning Conference, University In formulating college and university online learning’s forward momentum on
of Wisconsin-Madison; Rick Shearer, MA, MBA, policies toward online education, many campuses. “Faculty members at
Instructional Designer, World Campus, Pennsylvania
State University; Karen Vignare, Director of Business Kramarae recommends the following: several universities talked about how
Strategy & Development, Rochester Institute of • Treat distance learning students as administrators were assuming that facul-
Technology; Linda L. Wolcott, Ph.D., Department of
Instructional Technology, Utah State University. responsible and intelligent individ- ty did not need to be centrally involved
To order back issues, call Customer Service at 800-433- uals, not as passive educational with making decisions about distance
0499. Back issues cost $17.00 each ($390 for the
previous year’s complete collection), plus shipping and consumers. learning,” she said. “They think that in
handling in the US. You can pay with MasterCard, • Recognize that older students part this was because the administrators
VISA, Discover, or American Express.
using distance education are a less did not want to talk about online part-
This publication is designed to provide accurate and
authoritative information in regard to the subject homogenous group than on-cam- nerships they were arranging with other
matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that pus students. universities, businesses, and venture capi-
the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal,
accounting, or other professional service. If legal • Involve women administrators, stu- talists.”
advice or other expert assistance is required, the ser-
vices of a competent professional should be sought. dents, and teachers as active partic- Online learning offers many women a
Authorization to photocopy for internal or personal ipants and advisers in the planning chance to achieve an education while
use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients,
is granted by Distance Education Report for users reg- process for online courses. balancing other responsibilities.
istered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) • Find suitable mechanisms for the Institutional understanding of the chal-
Transactional Reporting Service, provided that 50
cents per page is paid directly to CCC, 222 Rosewood continual evaluation of online pro- lenges women face can significantly
Drive, Danvers, MA 01923; Phone: 978-750-8400; For those organizations that grams. improve their educational experience. ●
have been granted a license by CCC, a separate sys- • Be explicit regarding the institu-
tem of payment has been arranged.
tion’s mission statements on dis-
tance learning plans.

January 15, 2002 Distance Education Report

in the field
Engineering Online Excellence:
Wisconsin’s Engineering MS the Product of Careful Planning
by Ellen Cook

hen Tom Smith, of the University UW-Madison campus for one week dur- New Levels of Student Support
W of Wisconsin-Madison
Engineering Professional Development
ing each of the two summers of their
program. They take the remainder of
A unique aspect of the program has
been an almost lavish attention to the
Program (EPD), envisioned a distance classes (two per semester) via weekly learner, inside and outside the program.
education masters degree program in hour-long Internet presentations, using Prospective students are contacted at an
1994, he knew that planning the asynchronous threaded discussions in early stage and informed about financial
Internet-delivered program would mean chat rooms. and time requirements. They are encour-
a huge investment of time and work for They work on problems in small aged to discuss the program with spouses,
the development team. He seems a little groups, using materials provided by fac- bosses and others who will be affected by
surprised now that he can also describe ulty as well as resources made available it. The program staff wants every student
the process — and the resulting interac- by the Wendt Engineering Library on to be successful but also wants student to
tions among students, faculty, staff, and campus. They are expected to study and know that success will come at a price.
administrators — as “delightful.” Faculty members and staff are alert to
In 2002, the Masters of Engineering the pressures that life can place on learn-
in Professional Practice (MEPP) pro- ers and work hard to make sure that
gram is fully operational. The first class
A unique aspect of the there are support systems in place. They
of 24 students graduated in May 2001. program has been an almost stay aware of family events such as births
The presence of every class member on and illnesses. They reach out to students
campus for that first graduation is testi- lavish attention to the learner, who haven’t been “seen” on the Internet
mony to group enthusiasm and cohesive- at the expected times.
ness. Two more groups are working their inside and outside the Karen Al-Ashkar, admissions com-
way through the two-year curriculum. mittee chair and MEPP program coun-
Applicants outnumber spaces available in program. selor, has herself been an adult graduate
these second and third cohorts. student. She knows the complications,
including those of registering at a giant
Incorporating Twenty Years of work on problems 20 hours a week. research university with almost 40,000
Experience They make presentations online using students. She works to help students
The UW engineering department has PowerPoint and other technology. The concentrate on their studies, not on
designed and delivered local and distance courses, which every student takes, organizational details. It is her job “to
education programs to working engi- include Network Skills for Remote make sure that the relationships with
neers for 20 years. Over the years, pro- Learners; Engineering, Economics and various entities on campus continue so
fessional engineers and their employers Management; Communicating there can be support for the students” —
have told the Engineering Professional Technical Information; Quality so that, for MEPP students, the face of
Development faculty about their learning Engineering and Quality Management; the school will be helpful human faces,
needs. Engineering faculty know the and International Engineering Strategies not bureaucratic barriers. With the rest
audience and they know how to plan. and Operations. of the program staff, Al-Ashkar works to
Even so, the success of the new program Tuition for the cohort starting in June make the technology a helpful rather
has been a surprise. 2002 will total $33,150 plus a few other than frustrating part of learning and
EPD is designed to provide working expenses. Most students are able to communication.
engineers with the skills and knowledge obtain the financial support of their While large organizations can present
to master new approaches, solve on-the- employer for all or part of the tuition. bureaucratic roadblocks to innovation, an
job problems, and advance their careers; Participants must be accepted by the organization the size of UW-Madison
to make participants more effective in Engineering School and must have had also has much to offer a developing tech-
their jobs and their companies. four years of post-bachelor’s degree nical program. Planners drew from a
MEPP is a two-year program for experience working in the field. All stu- variety of resources in designing MEPP:
people who continue to work in an engi- dents go through the same course • staff who know how to use
neering field while they study. Each sequence together, studying under the advanced (and changing) technology
cohort of about 30 students comes to the direction of senior faculty. continued on page 5

Distance Education Report January 15, 2002

global village
Worldwide copyright
rotection of intellectual property is ry by ensuring that rightholders can use letter to the U.S. Patent Office, object-
P critical to economic growth, econom-
ic development, and wealth creation. A
technology to protect their rights and
license their works online. The anti-cir-
ing to its adoption saying in part: “these
far-reaching proposals were not yet ripe
delegate to a October 11, 2001 confer- cumvention provision addresses the for action, in many cases were simply
ence stated, “Any country that wishes to problem of hacking by requiring coun- mistaken and would have a negative
achieve economic stability and growth tries to provide adequate legal protection effect on privacy, free speech, academic
needs a strong system of protecting and and effective remedies against the cir- research and commercial innovation on
promoting intellectual property, which cumvention of technological measures. the Net. … We believe that this rush to
should induce trust and confidence of The treaties do not include enforcement achieve internationally that which was
investors and stimulate creation.” provisions, but encourage all signers to rejected domestically is … unwise.”
Protection of intellectual property has institute appropriate measures. The <
become increasingly complex with tech- WCT and WPPT require signers to profs.html>
nology taking creations to worldwide “provide adequate legal protection and
audiences via satellite broadcast, compact effective remedies against the circumven-
Ongoing discussions
discs, the web, the Internet, etc. The tion of technological measures, such as WIPO established the
World Intellectual Property encryption.” (from an article by Rick Intergovernmental Committee on
Organization (WIPO), based in Geneva, Perera, 12/7/01 for IDG News Service) Intellectual Property and Genetic
leads the ongoing international discus- Both treaties also contain provisions Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and
sion about copyright protection in cyber- on rights of distribution and rental and Folklore (IGC) in October 2000. It is
space. WIPO administers the WIPO rights to be remunerated for certain open to all member states of WIPO and
Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the forms of broadcasting or communication the Paris Union for the Protection of
WIPO Performances and Phonogram to the public. Industrial Property, with observer status
Treaty (WPPT), which establish inter- for United Nations members. In
national norms for preventing unautho-
Reaching for Consensus December 2001, the IGC approved a
rized access and use of creative work on Only the United States and Japan of number of tasks and discussions:
the Internet or other digital networks. the major industrialized countries have • establishment of model intellectual
On December 6, 2001, the country of ratified the treaty. The European Union property clauses for contractual
Gabon acceded to the WCT. Now 30 is expected to ratify it, but the parlia- agreements regulating access to and
countries have ratified the treaty, paving ments of all 15 EU member states must benefit-sharing in genetic resources
the way for it to take effect on March 6, first separately pass an EU directive with • further work on intellectual proper-
2002. WPPT addresses the rights of pro- similar provisions. This process is expect- ty aspects of the documentation of
ducers and performers of sound record- ed to be completed in 2002. public domain traditional knowl-
ings. Twenty-eight of 30 countries have The director general of WIPO, Dr. edge and its inclusion in the patent
ratified this agreement and WIPO Kamil Idris, said that the WCT and examination process as part of
expects it to be in force soon. WPPT are vital for the further develop- searchable prior art
ment of the Internet, electronic com- • further discussions on whether the
Clarifying Rights merce, and thereby the culture and infor- traditional intellectual property sys-
Both treaties affirm that the copy- mation industries. He stressed that the tem is sufficient in addressing tra-
rights which protect reproduction of treaties must be adopted by countries ditional knowledge and folklore
original works are protected in the throughout the world to be effective. with a future meeting scheduled in
Internet and digital media. The treaties “While we have reached the key number June 2002.
clarify that the traditional right of repro- of 30 countries required for entry into A copy of the WIPO copyright treaty
duction continues to apply in the elec- force, I urge all other countries to follow can be found at <
tronic and digital media and confirm the suit and to incorporate the provisions of right/wipo/treaty1.html>. The treaty was
rightholders’ right to control making the WCT and WPPT into their national drafted in 1996. ●
available their creations to members of legislation. This will create the condi-
the public. The treaties, however, also tions necessary for the broad-based and
clarify that countries have some flexibility legitimate distribution of creative works
in establishing exceptions to limitations and recordings on the Internet.”
of rights in the digital environment. When the WCT was proposed in
Further, the treaties enter new territo- 1996, several U.S. law professors wrote a

January 15, 2002 Distance Education Report

in the field

Engineering...from page 3 same curriculum and technology delivery for the unique opportunities it presents
systems as the regular courses, started in and not as a big get rich quick opportu-
• programming aces with the ability January 1999. The first students were nity. Deliver a quality product and you
to adapt course software admitted in March 1999 and classes can make a program successful financial-
• the ability to identify and hire began in June 1999. ly, but don’t be driven by the motor of
nationally known curriculum devel- The extensive experience of the plan- making a lot of money. Get the curricu-
opment specialists ners is one factor that has led to the suc- lum, get the faculty, get the instructional
• prominent, experienced faculty cess of the program. Smith, when asked design right from the start and price it to
members about possible mistakes in planning cover your costs, not with the grand plan
• staff in existing programs that have MEPP, said, “I’ve made hundreds of of getting rich over a program.”
developed distance education mistakes in distance education programs.
courses Consolidating Gains, Planning Ahead
Pferdehirt also stresses the importance
The Importance of Planning of evaluation and continuous improve-
“I’ve made hundreds of mis-
Smith says that the program was ment. There is a new program impact
planned “the right way,” using strategic takes in distance education survey indicating the extent to which
planning principles. It started with a MEPP has helped with various proficien-
meeting in October 1994. The timeline programs. We tried not repeat cies and advancement of careers. Program
developed as follows: administrators get input from co-workers
1995 Concept paper [them] with this program.” and supervisors of former students.
1997 May: Business plan Program staff share the same concern for
September: Academic proposal the future. They want to keep all aspects
1998 May: Implementation plan We tried to go back to experience and of the program, and the technology,
August: Preliminary user interface not repeat it with this program. We may updated and as responsive to student
design have misjudged some things about who needs as possible.
September: First three course plans could do what, but we kept moving. A MEPP started with loans from EPD
November: Student and faculty deliberated and structured approach kept and the Engineering School; they are
training material drafted us from making mistakes.” He mentions already being paid back. Companies such
December: First three courses drafted that content (designed precisely for these as Harley-Davidson, Motorola, Mercury
1999 January: Pilot courses start students) and format (consistent and Marine, and GE Medical Systems send
March: First Students Admitted dependable delivery mechanisms) are employees as students because of the
June: Class begins keys to the program. quality education offered.
2001 May: Inaugural class graduates When asked if he had advice for oth- Pferdehirt compares the development
MEPP’s courses were all piloted with ers considering distance programs, and implementation experience of
a small group of six or seven students MEPP Director Wayne Pferdehirt, MEPP to launching an airplane. “It
before they were offered through the responds, “Most public or private univer- should fly, but you’re never sure. Now,
program. Pilot courses, which used the sities should be sure to look at e-learning we know it flies.” ●

Tech Professionals Mentor nology experience the opportunity to talk and operating systems.
Teachers in Free with certified tech-ies, via the web. The goal of TECH CORPS is to put
Online Program Educators and IT volunteers are technical support within reach of all
arranged into teams of 10 to discuss the schools, regardless of an institution’s
TECH CORPS, a national nonprofit applications of technology in their resources. Because the forum is free and
organization sponsored by Compaq schools. entirely web-based, it can reach educa-
Computer, recruits information technol- Users are required to register before tors located in remote areas or those who
ogy professionals to volunteer for a free taking part in discussions, but the service may have minimal or no tech-support
online technology-mentoring program is free. Once registered, educators can teams at their schools.
for K-12 teachers. ask anyone on their teams about a host Trial runs are offered to newcomers.
Its “techs4schools” program gives of issues, including networking, hard- <>
educators with varying degrees of tech- ware, video, broadband, the Internet, ●

Distance Education Report January 15, 2002

tech briefing
Let’s Go to Video: Video Transmission in Distance Education
Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti
hatever your distance education nection to the Internet, and commonly of video for distance education is by
W curriculum or design, there’s a
good chance you’ll eventually want to
available video software like Windows
Media Player or Real Player.
using a method called “video over IP.” In
this approach, each user installs a piece
incorporate video transmission technolo- of software on their computer that allows
gies. Choosing the right technology to fit
Built-In Problems for smooth, consistent video transmis-
your curricular needs, student base, and However, this increase in flexibility sion over existing Internet connections,
budget can be the difference between comes at the price of some loss of con- approaching the high quality of video
success and failure of your project. trol by the university. Schools no longer conferencing.
Warren Osterndorf, director of dis- have control over the network or the
tance education and multimedia at hardware used at each end of the interac-
Building In a Solution?
Rensselaer at Hartford (CT), a branch Debby McDonald is CEO of
campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Vugenix, a company that provides soft-
Institute, understands this well. ware for video over IP. “I’ve seen people
One video transmission technique “We try to reduce the amount use hardware solutions [for distance edu-
used by Rensselaer is ISDN-based video cation]; it’s good quality video, but very
conferencing, the same technology used of full-motion video,” said expensive,” McDonald said. Instead, she
to conduct remote meetings and training suggests that using a piece of software
sessions for the business community. Osterndorf, noting that such as that produced by Vugenix can
Osterndorf finds that the quality of open up distance education to a wider
transmission is good enough to allow Rensselaer uses graphics that population. The Vugenix software is
students in remote locations to “see, approximately $50 for each person.
hear, and interact with the professor,”
are less affected by a poten- “[We’re] going to have to continue
and, since the university owns the ISDN tially choppy transmission. learning for the rest of [our] lives,” said
lines, it is sure of the state of the tech- McDonald. For this reason, she believes
nology. Because the university has made that higher education will benefit from
the initial investment in setting up the finding cost-effective ways to provide
network of remote locations, “the video conferencing-quality transmission
expense factor is not that great.” tion, which means that the quality of the to students over their own computers,
However, there are two major draw- transmission will be affected by a variety broadening the potential student base.
backs to using traditional video confer- of factors. Students will be at liberty to Osterndorf also predicts an increase in
encing. First, you must make an initial use their own desktop or laptop comput- the use of technology to expand the pop-
investment in technology — the alterna- ers, the configuration of which may ulation accessing college courses. He see
tive, renting video conferencing facilities affect their ability to access the course. an increase in the use of wireless Internet
from those who provide them for corpo- Also playing a large role is the student’s connections for true “any place” educa-
rate users, can be costly. Second is class Internet connection: DSL, cable modem, tion, and he believes that “online access
format: by its nature, video conferencing fiber optic network, or dial-up connec- through [your] computer is going to
necessitates a site-based model in which tion will all have an impact on transmis- become more transparent.”
students congregate to see transmissions sion speed and quality. With over twenty years in the dis-
as a group. While this may work quite There are ways to compensate for the tance education field, Osterndorf under-
well for regularly scheduled, synchronous variable quality associated with streaming stands that distance education “is a tool
class transmissions, there is a whole dis- video. “We try to reduce the amount of to meet the needs of our students.” A
tance education population that is full-motion video,” said Osterndorf, not- solid understanding of the video trans-
increasingly demanding any time, any ing that Rensselaer uses graphics that are mission options available can help make
place learning. less affected by a potentially choppy distance education a better and more
For this population, video delivered transmission and audio that requires less powerful tool. ●
over the Internet may allow for what bandwidth to transmit. Rensselaer also
Osterndorf calls a “student-based model” stipulates minimum hardware require-
of distance education. This model allows ments for its students to help minimize
students to access course video at any the frustrations of outdated computers.
time using their own computer, a con- Another way to improve the quality

January 15, 2002 Distance Education Report


Quality Enhancing Practices in international agencies, the training and Field Trips to the Louvre,
Distance Education: Student adult continuing education industries, Minus the Bus
Services (ITC Publications 2001) the computer software and hardware With the launch of, one of
industries, television, print and multime- the world’s greatest art museums is open
Written by 10 college administrators, dia publishers, satellite, telecommunica- to students around the world. The
this new publication of the Instructional tions, and cable companies. Louvre museum, Pages Jaunes (the
Telecommunications Council includes The conference program also offers a French Yellow Pages), and the French
the latest insights on: variety of learning opportunities. On the Ministry of Education have collaborated
• providing a comprehensive orienta- first day, May 21, the program will on <>, a website that
tion include keynotes, panels and special ses- allows students to take a virtual tour of
• new student assessment sions. the museum from classroom computers.
• helping students develop successful <> Over 3,000 works of art and 350
career planning skills; creating a exhibit halls have been brought online.
model online student service center The site features a cyberdesk where stu-
• a consortial approach to providing ED-MEDIA 2002: World dents can “store” artwork for easy refer-
disability services Conference on Educational ence. With, students can
• flexible starts simultaneously gain experience with art,
Multimedia, Hypermedia &
• online library services and with the Internet.
• online tutoring Telecommunications, The website was created in response
• providing student life, bookstore, June 24-29, 2002, Denver, to a mandate from French Prime
and health and wellness services Colorado Minister Jospin to make the web accessi-
online. ble to French schools and administrative
Quality Enhancing Practices in Distance ED-MEDIA 2002 will be held June offices.
Education is edited by Christine Dalziel, 24-29, 2002 in Denver, Colo., organized
ITC, and Michele Payne, Kirkwood by the Association for the Advancement
Community College. of Computing in Education (AACE). The Invisible Web: Uncovering
Copies are $20.00, and may be The conference’s scope includes major Information Sources Search
ordered from the ITC website. topics relating to the educational and
Engines Can’t See
<> developmental applications of multime-
dia/hypermedia and telecommunications, (CyberAge/Information Today)
including: According to authors Chris Sherman
Third Annual World Education • tools and content-oriented applica- and Gary Price, some of the best online
Market, Lisbon, Portugal, May tions resources are virtually invisible to search
• new roles of the instructor and engines. This team of Internet search
21-24, 2002
learner consultant and reference librarian has
The World Education Market • universal web accessibility discovered dozens of categories that are
(WEM) is a large-scale professional • design of distance learning systems simply not indexed by most search
event and marketplace dedicated to the • www-based course-support systems engines, either because the engine’s tech-
international business of education and • authoring tools nology can’t access them or because
training. Last year over 1,700 partici- • evaluation of impact search companies decide for business rea-
pants from 62 countries attended the • www-based course sites sons not to include them. They list hun-
second World Education Market in • www-based learning resources dreds of examples of valuable resources
Vancouver. WEM showcases educational • www-based tools that search engines will not turn up,
resources for all levels and ages of learn- • policy and law from databases of museum art to real-
ers. • site management considerations. time information such as weather reports
WEM brings together administrators, More information and registration and stock prices. The Invisible Web is
decision-makers and executives from the materials are available at available at most book stores, or may be
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Participation is international, with repre- ISBN 0-910965-51-X. ●
sentation from school systems, technical
institutes, universities, governments,

Distance Education Report January 15, 2002

in the field
Afghani at a Distance: Closing the Language Gap
he events of 9/11 have affected both its own distance-learning course in Teacherless Courses
T instructional content and the way it
is delivered at some U.S. institutions of
Pashto, says Martha Smith-Singleton,
executive director for the university’s
Schools are grappling with how to
teach languages in the face of a shortage
higher education. This is particularly true NSU Communiversity. The course, of qualified teachers. Nova may offer an
of programs that address America’s which mixes traditional teaching in the online Pashto class if it can’t find enough
“Achille’s Heel” — the language gap. classroom with online options, should be local interest, said Alejandra Parra, an
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI put ready in early 2002. Nova could provide academic director at NSU’s Language
out urgent appeals for citizens fluent in its Pashto courses to eArmyU, says Institute. Florida International and Nova
Arabic and Farsi. Smith-Singleton. Southeastern are both considering using
Less common languages, such as Because there are few teachers, NSU Donahue’s program. Hoping to meet the
those of Afghanistan and former Soviet new need for Pashto classes, Donahue
Republics, have even fewer speakers, says his “dictionary on steroids” is a
teachers and translators available in the “quick and dirty field manual that stu-
United States. This language deficit is Distance education and dents can use to learn core vocabulary. It
part of a larger national problem that is can stand on its own or serve as a lan-
rooted in the U.S. education system.
technology may provide some guage laboratory for a traditional class-
Distance education and technology answers to filling the language room course.”
may provide some answers to filling the But will the interest to build this kind
language gap and alleviating teacher gap and alleviating teacher of foreign language course last? NSU’s
shortages. Four U.S. institutions of high- Parra doesn’t know whether there will be
er education are moving to address the shortages. interest in Pashto in a year, especially
situation, partly with the use of distance because of the fast pace of the military
education. Nova Southeastern University, campaign in Afghanistan. Will students
University of Pennsylvania, the Defense plans to offer a technologically blended still be interested in learning Pashto if
Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. program to students interested in Pashto. the U.S. goes somewhere else? “We’ll
and Florida International University are Nova is considering using a language get this organized, do the marketing and
considering programs. The initial focus is training system developed by Miami- see what happens,” Parra says.
on Pashto, the language of the Pashtun, Dade Community College Professor Commenting on the critical need to
the dominant ethnic group in Steven Donahue, who has adapted exist- teach less commonly taught languages,
Afghanistan, which is not presently stud- ing language-education software into a Ray Ferrero, Jr., President of NSU said,
ied in American colleges. Pashto primer. Donahue teamed up with “I think it is going to be very important.
The Pashtuns are ethnically related to a native Pashto speaker who works for I am glad that we are at the forefront of
the Kurds in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and the Voice of America, the U.S. govern- trying to provide this type of education.”
Syria. Pashto belongs to the Indo- ment’s worldwide radio station. A dis- Dr. Smith-Singleton, and the others
European family of languages and is dis- tance education-centered vocabulary sys- think that interest in Pashto will only
tantly related to English (the Pashto tem of 1,000 Pashto words was pro- grow in the near future, even though the
word storee shows an historic echo with duced. The system allows a student to American campaign in Afghanistan has
the English word, “star”). Despite the learn basic words and phrases through a almost ended and the Taliban militia
fact that Pashto is written in a variant of smorgasbord of choices. Access options dismantled. Peacekeeping and rebuilding
Arabic script, and has many Arabic loan include the Web, through Internet- Afghanistan’s government and infra-
words, particularly from the Koran enabled phones or Palm Pilot-like structure will take years, and knowledge
(Qu’ran), it is not related to that lan- devices, on CDs, or even “Pashto-by- of Pashto will remain important. ●
guage group. A now famous Arabic loan Phone” via an Automatic Speech
word is taliban, meaning students. Recognition system that evaluates a stu-
dent’s pronunciation and sends a report
Rapid Linguistic Response to an online database. “It’s like a lan-
Nova Southeastern University, located guage laboratory, but with the conve-
in Davie, Florida is one of 24 schools nience of a toll-free number,” says
where soldiers enrolled in AUAO (Army Donahue.
University Access Online or eArmyU)
are able to take courses. NSU is creating

January 15, 2002 Distance Education Report