In an increasingly electronic world, just how wired is Oberlin College?
All the dorms have Internet access, as do the College's academic buildings. But "wiredness" is more a state of being than a physical grid (see sidebar, Officially Wired).
The College's gateway to the World Wide Web is Oberlin Online (www.oberlin.edu), which leads to all Net things Oberlin. On an average day, the Oberlin Online home page is viewed more than 2,200 times. About a third of those "hits" (or times a page is viewed) are from inside the College. Neither of those figures includes the number of Web users who already know the location of a specific page, such as the Weekly Calendar, and who go directly there.
Outside visitors come from, well, almost everywhere, including (deep breath) Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia (whew!).
Where do online users go after they hit the home page? They look at event information, the online course catalog, and publications (both "official" works such as Around the Square, and student publications, including The Oberlin Review and Oberlin On Oberlin, which is available only online). Off-campus viewers often look for admissions information and search the online e-mail or telephone directories.
More and more professors are incorporating the Web into their curricula, posting syllabi, lecture notes, and assignments, and conducting online discussion groups. Some of these syllabi, in turn, are linked directly to other online resources, including historical documents, technical material, and even movies and virtual reality tours (the Web pages for "Approaches to Western Art History," for example, have both). Among the departments with active online course work are computer science (of course), physics, and TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts)-but also a dozen others, including English, music theory, and Romance languages (the home page for French 205 comes in two versions, French and English).
Who is putting information online? Last month the number of active accounts for the first time exceeded 1,000-that is, more than 1,000 departments, administrative offices, professors, and students are posting information online with some regularity, ranging from detailed breakdowns of institutional statistics to very personal personal pages. Although the Office of College Relations is responsible for the top-level institutional pages of Oberlin Online, content and design of the vast majority of the www.oberlin.edu pages are up to their creators, and they are as diverse as Oberlin's demographics (some home page samples can be seen here).
Every year more students come to the College with Web skills, but the computing center offers mini-courses-also open to faculty and staff-in various e-mail systems, World Wide Web browsing, Internet features and resources, and publishing on the World Wide Web. The computer science department offers several Web-related classes, and the Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching (OCTET) is a new, two-person office established to help Oberlin faculty members in their efforts to integrate computers and related "new media," including the World Wide Web, into their pedagogy and curricula.
Oberlin Online is a lot like Oberlin-diverse, full of opportunity and opinion, and constantly looking to try something new. And it's wired.-- by John Appley '85
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