NOTE: I've been unable, due to other duties, to offer
this course for several years. I've left the site up so you can see a course
that pre-dates Course Management Software, e.g., Blackboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
about Issues in Using the Internet in Instruction (Psy 501)
thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
On this page I address questions
you might need answered before deciding to take the course. If you have a question
that I do not address, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All information at this
web site pertaining to the course, including policies, is subject to being changed
until the first day of the semester. When you examine the site to decide whether
to take the course, please understand that specifics may change. If you have any
questions, please contact me. If you are interested in taking the course, please
contact me. email@example.com
Who should take this course?
College level faculty and
administrators who are interested in learning about instructional and administrative
issues in using the Internet to conduct college coursework.
This is not a course about how to do the technology. (It is easier than
it once was, requiring some minimal websurfing and word processing skills.)
This is a course about
- why you might want to
use the Internet in instruction, its capabilities and pitfalls.
- how to fit the available
tools to your needs as a teacher or administrator.
- understanding the general
principles for effectively using each new set of instructional technologies
with regard to teaching strategies and instructional design.
- learning the most efficient
way to tackle any new technology for instructional purposes to minimize the
- applying these principles
to your own course or unit development needs.
- identifyng the aspects
of Internet use that is directly rewarding to you,
- showing you how to
increase connection with students around their learning, rather than increasing
- providing you with
a community of support with others endeavoring to learn about on-line
When you finish this course
you will have a product that will serve as a foundation for your efforts for
some time into the future.
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Why should you take this
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- You are planning on teaching
an Internet class and you want to offer quality instruction to your students
while avoiding mistakes.
- You have dabbled in technology,
have some beginning skills, and are curious about what direction to go next.
- You have primarily nontraditional
students and you feel Internet education might be a good way to serve them.
- You want to teach a class
with students from all over the world.
- You are curious about
what information is most effectively presented via the Internet vs. other
- You believe market and
cultural forces are pushing education toward the Internet and you want to
- You are concerned about
some of the claims being made for Internet education and you want a chance
to evaluate them for yourself.
- You are curious about
what it is like to be a student on the Internet.
- You are an administrator
faced with evaluating Internet courses or required to make decisions regarding
education and new technologies--and you feel overwhelmed.
- You are being pushed
to conduct an on-line course and you want support in that process.
- You feel you have explored
the limits of the face-to-face classroom and are looking for a new intellectual
- You are afraid of being
What do you need in order
to be successful in this course?
- Textbook: Porter, Lynnette
A. (1997). Creating the virtual classroom: Distance learning with the Internet.
NY: Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 0-471-17830-6 $34.99. Available in the WKU bookstore
under Correspondence Studies. Or to order from WKU Call 1-800-444-5155 or
502-745-5800 and ask for Evelyn Price. The shipping/handling charge is $4.00
per book. You can buy with MasterCard or Visa. You can also order COD but
there is an additional fee. Books are shipped UPS, usually within 2 days of
placing the order.
- Optional Textbook: Connick,
P. (Ed.). (1999). The distance learner's guide. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice
Hall. This is a book for the student who plans on doing considerable on-line
coursework. It has a companion web
site (http://www.prenhall.com/dlguide). It may be a book you want to recommend
to your own distance learning students.
- A personal computer with
access to the Internet. The class will primarily operate on the WWW to increase
accessibility. I will keep pages simple to minimize download times. You must
have your connection working well before class begins.
- An E-mail account which
you are willing to post (in a secure area) for classmates to use.
(such as Blackboard/CourseInfo or WebCT) or use of
a web site
that will become
the core of your Internet-based course. The course language and assignments
assume you have some minimum familiarity with using the Internet (can fill
in a form, understand how to click on a hyperlink). You may use course software
to create your site.
- The easiest route
is to use course software. WKU faculty should contact Allan Heaps,
2914. Psy 501 course software allows students to have a simple Web page,
enough for initial assignments, if you need to delay selecting an option.
Some software developer's provide faculty with one free course at their
website (e.g., Blackboard at http://www.blackboard.com).
I prefer you use software owned by your school for a college course for
a variety of legal reasons. If you are creating a noncollege course, then
a commercial site might be appropriate. Talk with me about options.
- For personal web
pages check with your campus computer center or an Internet Service
Provider. I can assist WKU faculty with this process. I will not
have a learning module on the how-to's of creating web pages. We will
discuss layout and design issues as they impact on instruction. Do not
wait until the week before the class to set up your Web page from scratch--
it will require a large amount of time to create a web page in such a
- Attitudes: Patience,
a willingness to take risks, courtesy.
- Participation: You will
post questions or comments weekly for class response. In order to assign credit,
I must see textual evidence of your "attendance." For a variety of reasons
I am unwilling to accept those who merely want to "audit".
- Approximately 4 to 6
hours weekly, spread across several sessions (less if you have a strong technology
background, more if not; less if you are effective at setting limits on yourself,
more if still learning).
- At this time there is
no need to obtain a proctor for exams. The course grade will be based on participation
in discussion and completion of assignments relating to building your own
web course (faculty) or modifying institutional policies (administrators).
Some individuals may decide that creating an on-line course is not appropriate
for their circumstances. (They may want to build a supplement to a face-to-face
course). Those individuals should contact me and we will work out an alternate
if you are a complete novice about technology?
Most people feel like novices
about some aspect of technology. Part of the reason I ask you to contact me
before beginning the course is so I can evaluate your technological skill level.
I want you to be successful so I may recommend you spend more time building
the basics before you take my course. IF you are more advanced, then I may recommend
a different approach or class project.
You do not need to be an expert or even average, but you do need to be able
to easily work with E-mail, an Internet browser, and have some word processing
skills such as copying and pasting.
If you are a novice, I recommend
this article "Learning
how to learn computers: General principles for the novice" (http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Support/AcadAffairs/CTL/tnt/lrncom.htm).
Other resources that may be helpful include
Overview of the Internet (http://ag.arizona.edu/futures/tou/tut1.html)
- For those who prefer
a book, I like: "Teach Yourself the Internet & World Wide Web Visually
(IDG's 3-D Visual Series)" by Paul Whitehead, Ruth Maran, Marangraphics
Inc. Paperback - 320 pages (May 16, 1997) IDG Books Worldwide; ISBN: 0764560204
on Web Publishing (http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Support/Tech/MSC/publish/publish.htm)
- Carr, H. (1998). html:
A hands on guide. Cincinnati, OH: Computer Literacy Press. 1/800-225-5413
- There are other good
books on these topics. Go to your bookstore and try looking up some question
you have in the index of each book on a topic. Buy the one that has the information
structured using language that makes sense to you.
- Consider taking a course
from a school near you or joining a user group which may offer training.
If you decide you need more
time to build your skills, I hope you will come back and register at a later
time. I look forward to "seeing" you in my class.
Almost everyone who is interested
in this course (faculty and administrators) asks first if they may audit. I
understand the hesitancy and uncertainty, the desire to get a toe wet, virtually.
There are several reasons, however, why I do not accept audits:
- What does it mean to
audit an Internet course? Unless you are actively posting comments, you are
not "there." So how could I track your audit in the traditional
sense of the word?
- On the Internet, the
custom is to expect everyone with access to contribute to the discussion.
Listening but not contributing is called "lurking" and it is considered
rude to do beyond a brief orientation period to the group. Taking this course
is training in how to "live" on the Internet as a well-mannered
- If you want to teach
on-line, you will be taking risks. That's a fact of Internet life. Auditing
is entirely too cautious an approach and does not bode well for success on-line.
Start now learning to take risks.
- Those taking the course
for credit develop an intimacy among themselves that is disturbed by someone
not committed to the group. They are uneasy when someone is lurking about.
- One of the more important
reasons to take the class is to learn what it is like to be a cyber student.
Taking a course for credit (even if it is pass/fail) is an entirely different
level of experience than taking it as an audit.
- Perhaps most importantly,
the greatest challenge for Internet students is learning how to manage their
time. We know from psychological research that making a public commitment
is critical in actually achieving a goal. Committing to the course by going
through the registration process dramatically increases the likelihood of
your completing the tasks. I originally permitted a few to take the course
without registering. None of those students ever finished.
How do you register?
You do need instructor permission
to register. You will have to have a "web presence" of some sort.
The exact nature is negotiable in advance. With course software it is easier
to create an Internet course than it was even a year ago. Contact your local
tech support (WKU folk, call Allan Heaps 2914).
If you know html then you
can try coding your own. Under these circumstances I expect only a very minimal
Web page to begin (i.e., your name) or it could be created/maintained by another
person if you can count on them to post your ideas in a timely manner. Collaboration
is common in Web courses.
The course software I am
currently using will allow students to have a minimal page, enough to start
the term. It is common to experiment with various options before settling on
what will work for you and your institution.
There are two potential
methods for registering:
- the Registrar's Office;
- Correspondence Studies.
Persons who have been accepted
to WKU's graduate school should use the Registrar's Office method detailed below.
For graduate students the hours will then count toward your load and financial
The application process
via Correspondence Studies is simpler and I recommend it for most faculty/administrators.
If you need the credit hours you should check with your school to determine
whether Correspondence credit transfers.
1. Registrar's Office Registration
- You must be admitted
to the Graduate School. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Or go to http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Academic/Graduate/ and complete the admission
form there and fax or mail it in.
- You can obtain detailed
information at WKU's
Enrolling website (http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Support/AcadAffairs/Registrar/).
The call number/course reference number for Psy 501 for the Spring 2001 semester
is: 08749 and its course-ID is Psy 501-700. I will have to clear you so you
must contact me: Sally.email@example.com
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- Contact Correspondence
Studies (http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Support/AcadAffairs/CorrStudy/) firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone Beth Laves at 1-800-535-5926, Garrett Conference Center 105, Western
Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
- Registration forms are
available at the above site (http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Support/AcadAffairs/CorrStudy/direct/enrolled.htm)
or she will send you a registration form. Payment is required at the time
of enrollment. They accept MasterCard, Visa, or money orders.
How much does it cost?
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- Contact the office through
which you would be registering.
- If you are faculty or
staff at an eligible Kentucky school, the state faculty/staff tuition scholarship
program will cover the cost of tuition. Persons other than WKU faculty will
need to pay "fees" of $24 (in Spring 2001). You need to send that
in with registration.
- If you are otherwise
employed by the state, there has been discussion of extending the scholarship
but I haven't heard if that was done. Contact your supervisor or human resources
How much credit would you
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- The course is a two credit
hour graduate level course.
When and where does the
You choose the times that
work best for you. I ask that you commit to two regularly scheduled contact
times per week. Some find it easier to do a brief check in every other day.
The class "meets" at your computer. There is typically one synchronous activity
during the semester, arranged to fit your schedule. In this activity the class
engages in real-time chat via computer. Instruction will be provided at the
time of the activity.
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What should you do after
- Send me your e-mail address
once you are registered. I will send you access information close to the start
of the term. My e-mail address is: email@example.com
It usually takes about a week at the start of the term for registration to
- Complete and snail mail
me the information
form at http://edtech.wku.edu/~internet/studinfo.htm
- Order/buy your textbook
and handout packet (available close to the start of the term).
- Plan your biographical
information (consider adding a photo) to be posted in your class website as
a means of introducing yourself to the class.
- Create a folder or binder
for the class in which to keep various materials.
- Select a regular hour,
two or more times per week, to check the class pages beginning with the first
day of the semester.
- Visit the sample home
page for Psy 501: Issues in Utilizing the Internet
in Instruction (http://edtech.wku.edu/~internet/psyii.htm). Skim
through the sample materials. You can see the first week's assignments although
access to posting them must wait until the term begins.
- Watch your email close
to the first day of the semester for which you register. I will be sending
a note with directions to the official course site. (Every term I've taught
this there has been a change in official web addresses.)
At that time (and not before):
- Print a copy of the
class policies for your folder.
- Complete the student
- The Spring 2001 semester
begins January 8.
I have two reasons.
- One of the major reasons
to offer courses via the Internet is to increase student accessibility to
the information. The current standards
for access by persons with a disability (http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/)
discourage use of frames and even much use of tables because disability access
equipment is not able to interpret information provided in such a format.
I assume that many students have older, less expensive equipment and slower
Internet access times. The simpler I keep the learning environment, the easier
they can access it. I am very pleased with the newer course softwares except
that they use frames. Frames are not disability friendly.
We will use a course software, but I maintain a non-frame site in the event
I have a person needing that easier access. Do let me know if you register
and need this accommodation.
- I want my students to
know that you don't have to use elaborate coding or graphics in order to offer
a quality learning experience.
I find that expectations for high end technology are more often discouraging
than encouraging and sometimes are a way of excluding the uninitiated. They
are also time consuming to create and most of us do not have the time to create
I want to show you that you do not have to do be elaborate to be effective
and that simpler can be better.
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Contact the author with comments or questions about this site by following the
at this page (which will open in a new window.)
Created: January 22, 1998. Last Modified: January 16, 2001.
All contents © since 1997 by Sally Kuhlenschmidt. Copy only with permission.