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.

Rainbow Circle

Frequently Asked Questions about Issues in Using the Internet in Instruction (Psy 501)

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein

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

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.

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

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 course?

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What do you need in order to be successful in this course?

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What 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" ( Other resources that may be helpful include

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.

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May you audit the course?

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:

  1. 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?

  2. 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 citizen.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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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:

  1. the Registrar's Office;
  2. 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 aid.

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

  1. You must be admitted to the Graduate School. Contact for further information. Or go to and complete the admission form there and fax or mail it in.
  2. You can obtain detailed information at WKU's Enrolling website ( 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:

2. Correspondence Studies Registration

  1. Contact Correspondence Studies ( or phone Beth Laves at 1-800-535-5926, Garrett Conference Center 105, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
  2. Registration forms are available at the above site ( or she will send you a registration form. Payment is required at the time of enrollment. They accept MasterCard, Visa, or money orders.
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How much does it cost?

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How much credit would you earn?

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When and where does the class meet?

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 registering?

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Why is the course layout and design so plain?

I have two reasons.

  1. 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 ( 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.

  2. 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 something elaborate.

    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 directions 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.