Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology / California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu
(530-898-6220; 530-898-6192; FAX: 530-898-6824)
11 May 1999 [1]

[This page printed from: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-1999LPPFinRept.html]


VIII. PREVIOUS "MINI-REPORTS" (Not on the web site)



"A man [or woman] who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who instead of aiming a single stone at an object takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit." Samuel Johnson (1709-1783)

Consultant: "Any ordinary guy more than fifty miles from home" Eric Sevareid (1912-1992)

This report, as well as postings from September 8, 1998 to May 10, 1999 (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html), and monthly reports to Marilyn Winzenz and Bill Post (please see VIII in this printed report), documents the .20 "release time" awarded to me for the 1998-1999 Academic Year to: (#1) act as a consultant to various faculty on their individual LPP activities, (#2) analyze and think about the system-wide endeavor known as MERLOT (based on this campus), and (#3) simply have the time to think about technology and the implications of technology to higher education. Item #3 was, I believe, the most fruitful of all the activities; I am still thinking about #2 and have some ideas, elaborated upon below, and #1 did not (in my opinion) accomplish all that it could have, although there were a some positive results (elaborated upon below).



"Technological change is neither additive nor subtractive. It is ecological. I mean 'ecological' in the same sense as the word used by environmental scientists. ... A new technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything [stress added]." Neil Postman, 1992, Technopoly: The Surrender Of Culture To Technology (NY: Vintage), page 18.

I have been a member of the faculty since August 1973, and have become (almost unbeknownst) a "senior faculty" member, with numerous years of teaching experience and some administrative experience: I was the Coordinator for the interdisciplinary Social Science Program from 1975-1977 and the only Associate Dean in The Center for Regional and Continuing Education over the years 1977-1988. It is perhaps those last eleven years, rather than specifically any "teaching experiences" (although these were important), which contributed the most to this report. (That, and the fact that I like to read widely and make "connections" among seemingly disparate items!) I do use various "technologies" in the classroom, maintain active web pages, have worked with video, was designated as one of five "Master Teachers" for the 1997-1999 Academic years and I was asked to be a "consultant" to the funded LPP Directors for the 1998-1999 Academic Year

Over the years of 1977-1988 on this campus we saw the development of ITFS, or Instructional Television For Students, which has now "evolved" into CSU*SAT. Although this terrestrial, closed-circuit television system was in place prior to my arrival in The Center for Regional and Continuing Education in 1977 (some courses began being televised in an "Extension" mode, i.e., students paid separate fees, when the ITFS/Microwave system was first established in 1975), it was after 1977 that the system evolved from a terrestrial system to an extra-terrestrial system and on September 4, 1984, the University began broadcasting "live via satellite" courses leading to the M.S. degree in Computer Science. Technology came to this campus with a vengeance! (Please see some papers covering this time period at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1988PTC.html, http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991AAAS.html, as well as http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html.)

I was part of this evolution from a land-based system to a satellite system and worked with: (a) numerous individuals on campus (primarily Instructional Media Center personnel and various teaching faculty); (b) individuals in the region (school personnel); and (c) individuals around the nation (when CSU, Chico began broadcasting "live via satellite" Computer Science courses for the M.S. Degree). While this was going on I followed the industry and the literature, attended professional meetings and trade shows, made presentations, and kept up with the changing technologies (and I did have some technical expertise based on four years in the United States Air Force from 1961-1965): I observed the evolution of full-motion video into digitized video, and along-the-way, the desktop computer also evolved! When I left Continuing Education in 1988 to return to full-time teaching in Fall 1989 (after a difference-in-leave pay for the 1988-1989AY) I was not (honestly) aware of the implications of the Internet, but I did know about digital video (albeit via satellite) and I knew changes were coming since (#1) change is the natural order of things and (#2) technology seems to have a mind of its own!

The faculty who first taught over ITFS came to accept ITFS, or televised-delivery courses because they, for the most part, had taught throughout the northern part of the state (our "service area") for many years and, if they had taught a 3-unit, 45-contact hour course in Redding, this meant that they also put in 45 hours of "windshield time" throughout the semester (if they went up there for a one-night-a-week class). In brief, the use of educational technology on this campus in the late 1970s and 1980s was a "substitute" for the arduous task of driving to a location, delivering instructional materials, setting up a classroom, etc. Not only did the technology save the time of the instructor, but it also saved the time of the student: the commute to Chico was eliminated if the instructor went to the location or if those courses were televised from CSU, Chico throughout the region.

THOUGHT #1: In my opinion, the acceptance of the television technology by the faculty in the 1970s and 1980s has not been paralleled by the acceptance of the various educational technologies for the classroom by the current faculty of the 1990s at CSU, Chico. Faculty today, who might teach Internet courses (or place courses on a CD-ROM, or create a Web-based or Web-assisted course), simply see today's technology as a logical outgrowth of what they have been doing all along: (#1) there has not been a sharp break, as with the implementation of ITFS in the 1980s, and (#2) I honestly believe that the faculty on campus do not fathom the tremendous savings of time that web-based courses (or web-assisted courses) can provide (as the faculty who taught over ITFS realized when they no longer had to drive to various locations). In one of the papers referenced above (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991AAAS.html), presented with Lou Nevins in Spring 1991 (three years after I had left Continuing Education), we pointed out that the Fall 1990 ITFS courses had a total of 577 off-campus enrollments, while those same courses being televised had on-campus enrollments of 474 individuals. We provided the following hypothetical words on the costs/savings involved through ITFS:

"If one looks at the distribution of these courses being offered via ITFS throughout the day, throughout northern California, some modest mathematical work eventually reveals that were these courses to be taught in the "traditional" manner throughout northern California (that is to say, faculty "driving out" to offer these courses at these locations at these times to these students), the cost to the University for the Fall 1990 semester would have been $207,941.40 in Motor Vehicle Operating expenses (alone) and a total of 16,018 personnel hours would have been spent driving throughout the region to deliver instruction to generate the 577 enrollments for the University!"

The savings in Fall 1990 (in money and time) were tremendous and the benefits to the campus (in terms of FTE-generation) were also impressive; unfortunately, I do not think this campus has realized those same savings/benefits while utilizing the latest educational technologies within the past few years. I must clearly point out that I am (a) thinking and writing as a somewhat "typical" (albeit "senior") faculty member and (b) I am not privy to any campus-wide financial information. CSU*SAT, however, I imagine is still proving cost effective and generating FTE for the institution: I was told that as of 3/12/99 there were a total of 661 off-campus enrollments in the courses being televised this semester and the identical on-campus classes had 353 enrolled students. On 3/12/99 the five Computer Sciences courses being televised "live, via satellite" had a total of 101 off-campus enrollments as well as 96 on-campus enrollments.

THOUGHT #2: ITFS faculty in the 1980s "suffered" and embraced the (then) new technology as one means to end that suffering and the "enrollments" eventually generated by ITFS (when it became fully state-supported) assisted CSU, Chico in the "budget crunch" of the 1980s. Many faculty in the 1990s, while still suffering in their own ways, have not fully comprehended the value of the computers that are on their desktops (and probably in their homes).

THOUGHT #3: The ITFS faculty in the 1980s were relatively "small" in number when televised courses really began to be televised from 8am to 10pm Monday-through-Thursday and from 8am to 4pm on Fridays. ITFS courses generated FTE for the institution, were part of a "regular" teaching load, and were supported by Department Chairs, College Deans, and central administration. The relatively small number of faculty created a core of teaching faculty who were nurtured and encouraged in their teaching techniques by individuals of the Instructional Media Center, specifically Professor C. Louis Nevins (now retired) who worked with the individual faculty on improving their "teaching over television" techniques and Ms. Leslie J. Wright (now one of the Associate Deans in The Center for Regional and Continuing Education). Together Nevins and Wright published Teaching Over Television (1987) for the ITFS faculty.

THOUGHT #4: While the use of "technology" in the classroom in the 1990s is clearly a part of the mission of CSU, Chico, there is (in my opinion) apparently no systematic long-range plan for a "cycle-of-courses" (using some of the "new" technologies) leading to a specific degree program. This point is crucial: the coordination of the educational goals of the institution and becoming more efficient in using some of the newest technologies, which will lead to specific degree goals for the off-campus student, is needed. This was one of the successful points of ITFS-delivered courses and later the M.S. degree in Computer Science: off-campus students could plan for the future. (This last point, will perhaps, be taken care of with the Dave Bauer et. al Learning Productivity project, dealing with the development of a "dispersed residency" Psychology graduate degree.)

The CSU*SAT information on the five-year schedule of Computer Science courses from Fall 1999 through Spring 2004 (along with the ten self-paced video courses available) located on the web (http://rce.csuchico.edu/sen/schedulz/5yrsched.html) is truly commendable; likewise, the relationship between CSU, Chico and Telecordia Technologies (or Telecordia Learning Services, formerly Bellcore) for an M.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Telecommunications (http://www.rce.csuchico.edu/cen/mstelecom/description.html) is an interesting one. If, however, both of these (and other programs) offered as part of the Chico Distributed Campus) are heavily dependent on satellite distribution of the courses and if the system-wide funding for satellite time disappears, are there sufficient enrollments to warrant the cost of these (and other) satellite-delivered courses? (Once again, I am not privy to any campus-wide or system-wide financial information concerning the Distributed Campus plans and these are merely questions on my part.)

The Internet, however, and web-based courses should be the way to go (as the eight courses indicated for Spring 1999 indicate at http://www.csuchico.edu/cdc/schedule.shtml). It is clear that (a) faculty are encouraged to develop WebCT courses (for example) through TLP/CELT and (b) there are tangible "rewards" for the faculty to develop such courses for their individual departments, (c) but long-range planning utilizing some of the "new" technology appears to be lacking at this moment in time. This lack of long-range goals could stem from the fact that the institution apparently has enough students right now (as opposed to the "budget-crunch" times of the 1980s) and additional FTEs are not needed at the moment but since it is part of the mission of the university to incorporate some of the latest technologies into the classroom and we must become more efficient in what we do with what we have, more needs to be done (I personally believe) in this area. As stated in a previous paper (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html, where the following chart appeared), there is a need for "Coordination" in weaving together the "new" (and developing) technologies into the education mission of the institution:

FIGURE 1: 4-C Framework  

Faculty continue to be the "content" or discipline experts and the "coordination" is needed to insure that the content delivered over the conduit (in this case the WWW and in the past terrestrial/extra-terrestrial television), maintained by necessary support staff, is appropriate for the dispersed client (as well as the on-campus client or student); and future university students being "raised" with the Internet must be considered in what we do! The following visual of K-12 schools with modems (and with Internet access) is but one of the reasons I am doing what I am doing at California State University, Chico (in all of my classes and for the 1998-1999 Learning Productivity Projects). I have been following the evolution of K-12 schools in California into Internet connected (and eventually Internet dependent?) schools and I want to be somewhat "prepared" for those students who are in the "pipeline" right now and will be entering CSU, Chico before I retire! (For additional visuals of this kind, please see: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/K12Visuals98.htm.)

FIGURE 2: K-12 Schools With Modems (1992-1998)

THOUGHT #5: It can be possibly argued that certain individuals who are technical specialists (who concentrate on that which is only unique and specific to a given technical situation) can be too narrow in their thinking while those who regularly teach CSU, Chico students are more interested in the general and conceptual discipline-driven situations which develop in the classroom. It takes time and courage to be a risk-taker, to experiment in the classroom and to take controlled risks. The adaptation of individual teaching strategies to the changing educational-technology (i.e., current computer environment and seemingly ever-changing computer applications) is an on-going process. To change behavioral teaching patterns requires time, patience, encouragement, and support. The support is clearly evident at CSU, Chico in the Technology and Learning Program (TLP) and The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) efforts, as is the encouragement from University administrators (http://www.csuchico.edu/prs/stratplan.html); patience is only something than can develop through time (as a result of encouragement and support): a difficult paradigm to juggle!

I am of the personal opinion that individuals who are well-versed in the appropriate "technology" of today are extremely important to the educational mission of any institution, but they may not have the larger picture of education in mind and can too often (in my limited experience and narrow opinion) become overly enamored of the "latest" and "newest" technologies (eliminating "older" technologies when they are deemed no longer valuable to some and introducing "new" technologies when they are suddenly discovered or publicized by various vendors). What may be deemed "new" to some may really be "old" to some who follow selected parts of this burgeoning educational industry. For example, while the ability to link "streaming video" with web sites might be deemed as "new" to some, to some it is an old application (please see http://www.hotwired.com/webmonkey/97/47/stuff/hits56.ram for a version of "Streaming Video [using stills] and web sites" dealing with Northern California in 1997); likewise, where AT&T Labs has recently announced a new (to me) compression technology for dealing with images on the WWW (http://www.djvu.att.com), it might already be well-known to others who follow this area. The only way we will know what is going on around us, in the larger context of the times, is to compare notes and have discussions; the various CELT/TLP activities on this campus in the past few years (and for the future) are excellent models of sharing information.

The professional literature, and even the popular press are replete with information on the changing educational technologies, as indicated in the following (lengthy) item from The Wall Street Journal of April 15, 1999:

"Harvard Business School spent $11 million four years ago to build an Intranet and Web site that would put its students on technology's leading edge. Other colleges enviously read about professors launching discussion groups, students checking out each others' home pages and reading materials online. But the cost--breathtaking by college standards--left many rivals wondering how they would keep up. Not to worry. Today, many colleges are creating Harvard-type services for Internet-type prices--cheap or free. Blackboard Inc., Washington, D.C., lets individual instructors put up courses free, but charges colleges that adopt the package $5,000 and up, depending on size. WebCT Educational Technologies Corp., Vancouver , British Columbia, founded by Murray Goldberg, a University of British Columbia computer-science professor, started selling its WebCT software to colleges for up to $3,000 a year in 1997. Among big users: the University of California at Los Angeles, which has more than 1,000 courses online. WBT Systems Ltd., based in Dublin, Ireland, has been selling its TopClass course-management program even longer. TopClass, which costs about $5,000 a year for a 5,000-student university, is used by numerous corporate-training organizations as well. Other companies see courseware as just part of broader electronic communities they will help build on campus. Electronic Communities, Cupertino, Calif., decided to give away to colleges its Palace software, which makes it easy to create online communities with avatars talking in cartoon balloons. Electric Communities hopes students will be so captivated they will start visiting other, ad-supported Palace Web sites or creating their own. One early user: the University of Minnesota, which used Palace to create Gopherville, a Web community designed to help freshmen adjust to life as the 38,000-student school. CommonPlaces LLC, a new Cambridge, Mass., company started by veterans of Lycos and Netscape, plans to give away course and community-building tools and make its money through electronic-commerce deals, selling everything from textbooks to pizza. The size of the potential market isn't entirely clear, but the venture-capital community is intrigued. WBT has raised $10 million from venture capitalists in two rounds and CommonPlaces raised $6 million in its first round. Others decline to discuss how much they have raised. These companies are racing to be the dominant player in the market. However, a number of other companies are attacking the college market from the distance-learning side and some big firms such as International Business Machines Corp.'s Lotus Development Corp. unit are pushing more-expensive collaborative-learning programs. Getting online has become increasingly important for professors who want to be accessible to e-mail-bred teens without being in their offices all the time." (William M. Bulkeley, Start-Ups Help Universities Get Wired Easier--And Cheaper. The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 1999, page B8)

In some respects I feel that, at times, faculty at various institutions are told the following: "Last year you used lined-paper that had a spacing of 1.5 units to deliver your educational content; this year you will have to use lined-paper of 2.0 units to deliver your educational content because we no longer will support lined-paper of 1.5 units." This is a crude analogy but, I honestly believe, is felt by various faculty at numerous institutions.



"The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately." Thomas Paine (1737-1809) or as Napoleon I [1769-1821] stated it: "Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pa" (or, in translation: "From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.")

Anyone who has spent time in trying to figure out a "simple" computer "problem" (recall how computers would save time and make this a "paper less" world?) can appreciate going from the ridiculous to the sublime (or vice versa) as one deals with the machines and the programs and the...! In May of 1998 I was offered .20 "release time" (for one course each semester in the 1998-1999AY) and charged to "act as a consultant to all appropriate LPP faculty to review learning objectives and web based resources utilized to support those objective" and "work with faculty to determine how this information could best be incorporated into their web learning environment." The release time allowed me to "surf" the WWW, post information to a web page designed specifically for the Learning Productivity Project Directors (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html), and go from the "sublime-to-the-ridiculous-and-back-again" on a regular basis! Throughout the 1998-1999AY, as before, I was deeply appreciative of the 898-6000 (HELP) line on campus!

Perhaps after all of the "surfing" and reading I did in the 1998-1999AY, nothing better sums up the "impact" of the web on education than the following which appeared in Educom Review in the July/August 1998 issue:

"Although faculty can easily create a Web page for their course, incorporating new technology and converting a class to the distance learning environment requires rethinking the way the course is delivered [stress added]." Judy Luther, 1998, Distance Learning And The Digital Library, or What Happens When The Virtual Student Needs To Use The Virtual Library In A Virtual University. Educom Review, July/August, Vol. 33, No. 4, pages 22-26, page 24.

It is clear that we are indeed in times of change and the staff, faculty, and students are changing (as are the general citizens of California and the nation). All of life, as well as education, is changing, and the desktop computer is a massive part of that change. Bikson and Paris have pointed out the following:

"Several well-designed studies have shown that individuals who use computer-based communications have more accurate information about matters of political, professional, and organizational concern than peers who do not." (T.K. Bikson and C. Paris, 1997, Computers And Connectivity: Current Trends. Culture of the Internet, 1997, Sarah Kiesler [Editor], pages 407-430, pages 408-409)

In a 1966 essay in the Book Review section of The New York Times, The Pulitzer Prize Winner Saul Bellow wrote on "Intellectuals" and he began his cogent comments, similar in some respects to those of C.P. Snow (1905-1980) with the following:

"We can't master change. It is too vast, too swift. We'd kill ourselves trying. It is essential, however, to try to understand transformations directly affecting us. That may not be possible either, but we have no choice." (Saul Bellow, 1996, Speaking Of Books: Cloister Culture. The New York Times Book Review, July 10, pages 2, 44, and 45, page 2)

While I slightly agree that we could "kill ourselves trying" (and this has led to some of the frustration that is felt by some faculty in general, concerning educational technology in the classroom), I am in firm agreement with Bellow that we must understand the "transformations directly affecting us" because if we wish to stay current, or even develop new ideas and educational applications, we have no choice! This is has been one of my goals of my LPP activities: to possibly understand what is going on right now within California, the CSU, and how it applies to California State University, Chico. 

We must avoid taking the position of listening solely to technical staff who are somewhat fluent in some of the latest applications to education and faculty must converse with faculty. A similar point came across in the Wall Street Journal on March 23, 1999, wherein Hal Lancaster wrote "Managing Your Career" and the "problems" that a technically-literate individual had when attempting to translate his technical expertise into a company: "for a techie in a nontech company" it wasn't easy! The individual in question had to learn to adapt to the new environment that his expertise was needed in, and it was a long process:

"...he still had to learn how to communicate with these alien marketing beings. At first, Mr. Page had the typical techie's certainty that his way was the way of the future. 'There were definitely meetings where I'd say, 'This is how it is and what we should do,' he says. 'That ruffled some feathers."

Changes, however, did develop in the personality of the individual (and within the overall organization):

"He soon adopted a gentler approach, seeking the views of others on his proposals and studying colleagues at meetings to learn what they wanted to accomplish and how his projects affected them. 'That's something, as a pure tech person, I hadn't thought about.' he says. Before going to meetings, he imagined possible compromises, asking himself, 'Is there a lesser win I can be happy with?' ... Mr. Page strongly recommends that techies find a mentor from a different department who has a broad view of the company's issues and a well-stocked pool of contacts throughout the company. It was partly his inability to find a mentor that drove him to an outside coach. ... Mr. Page [now] believes that he has changed colleagues' perceptions of him. He was seen as someone who could fix tech problems but not business problems. Now, he says, 'I'm the guy who can show people how to use the Web.' Product managers are besieging him with questions about Web-based marketing and inviting him to their department meetings." (Hal Lancaster, 1999, "Managing Your Career" in The Wall Street Journal, March 23, page B1)

All faculty must be aware (or beware) the technological or pedagogical "zealot" who states that what you/we are doing is the most important thing ever, for we must avoid the use of "too much technology" to get across the educational mission of the institution. Recall the words of George Santayana (1863-1952): "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim" (The Life of Reason [1905-1906], Vol. 1: Reason In Common Sense). Ten or twenty-years from now what we are doing today at California State University, Chico, will be viewed as archaic (just as the ITFS of ten years ago is virtually ancient history today)!

"Computers are spawning a genuine revolution in human culture. As with any revolution, the long-term cultural and ethical ramifications remain unclear. We have no definitive sense of where we are going; we know simply that we are going there quickly. The sheer pace of change keeps us from going there quickly. The sheer pace of change often keeps us from digging below the surface and developing the resources we need to make sense of computers on any deep personal level. The most common response to the rapid change and uncertainty that computation has engendered is to fall on one side of an extreme--either elevate computers to the role of saviors of become neo-Luddites and cite them as the main source of our contemporary woes. In light of the ways in which computers are saturating our reality, these views are naive, maybe even dangerous [stress added]." Jennifer K. Cobb, 1998, Cybergrace: The Search For God In The Digital World (NY: Crown Publishers, Inc.), page 19.

A "revolution" is being spawned by computers and it is an expensive revolution for all concerned:

"About 70 percent of the cost of owning a PC in the corporate world [including the Educational Community?] is for support, estimated GartnerGroup, a technology research and analysis firm in Stamford, Conn. People didn't want to believe it when the figure came out, according to Gartner's Marilyn Truglio. It means that when a company buys a $2,100 PC, it will spend an additional $4,900 during the three-year life of the machine to help users use it [stress added]" (Elizabeth Weise, 1999, Tech Slaves. The Sacramento Bee, February 24, 1999, pages D1 & D3, page D3)

Over the 1998-1999 Academic Year it was very interesting to think about various things and continue to make "connections" in my own mind that (hopefully) would make sense when shared with them. First-of-all, pedagogical issues aside (and by "pedagogy" I accept the meaning as "the function or work of a teacher; teaching" and "the art or method of teaching"), what I have come to realize is that "learning" is (and is not) continuous and we must encourage individuals (faculty and staff and students) to experiment and be allowed to make mistakes. In addition to "learning" ("knowledge acquired by systematic study in any field or fields of scholarly application. 2. the act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill. 3. Psychol. the modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience") we also have (simply) non-learning as well as survival.

This seeming dichotomy, that "learning is and is not continuous" as stated above, is perhaps analogous to the idea in physics earlier in this century and the development of quantum theory:

"All of this changed [the "old" way of viewing physics] in 1925 with the birth of the quantum theory, which has unleashed a thundering tidal wave of scientific discovery that continues unabated to this day. The quantum theory, created by Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, and many others, reduced the mystery of matter to a few postulates. First, that energy is not continuous, as the ancient thoughts, but occurs in discrete bundles called 'quanta.' (The photon, for example, is a quantum or packet of light.) Second, that subatomic particles have both particle and wavelike qualities, obeying a well-defined equation, the celebrated Schrödinger wave equation, which determines the probability that certain events occur [stress added]." Michio Kaku, 1997, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize The 21st Century, page 5-6.

Learning occurs through time, with incremental increases in knowledge, and success builds upon that which has already occurred in the past: this is the continuous part of learning (as I personally view it). However, in addition, there is also the discontinuous (or non-continuous) dimension of learning. This is when learning takes place from failures, or disasters, or the intuitive leap of a Darwin from one dimension to another! This is why the WWW is so powerful: if one knows how to use it, one can "make connections" which are incredible, which can possibly lead to a new type of learning and changes. Michael Rose (Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UC, Irvine) sums up the wonderment of the "search engines" on the WWW and the ability for cross-fertilization of ideas if contemporary researchers (faculty, students, and staff) know about the capabilities (strengths and limitations) of the WWW.

"The real world cares little for academic categories and conventions. The serious movers and shakers of every stripe often meet each other and appropriate each other's ideas. Themes from one area then show up in another, as poetry becomes politics becomes philosophy and then science [stress added]." Michael R. Rose, 1998, Darwin's Spectre: Evolutionary Biology In The Modern World, page 192.

The WWW is not going to go away and as posted on September 21, 1998 for the LPP Directors:

"NOTE Some Web Statistics: "Some of Alexa's additional recent findings, announced August 31, 1998: A current snapshot of the Web is 3 terabytes, or 3 million megabytes; The Web doubles in size every 8 months; There are approximately 20 million Web content areas; 90% of all Web traffic is spread over 100,000 different host machines; 50% of all traffic goes to the top 900 Web sites currently available. from: http://www.alexa.com/company/inthenews/starreport.html SO: if the total amount of "information" on the web right now is "X" then on May 21, 1999 (eight months from now), there will be 2X."

If this statement is true, then by ~January 14, 2000, there will be twice as much "information" on the WWW as there is today, on May 14, 1999! (Information, however, that must be carefully weighed and assessed before it can be successfully used.) "Moore's Law" dealing with certain aspects of technology is still holding true and perhaps the above 2X statement is also true:

"The driving force in the semiconductor industry has been the theorem known as Moore's Law. First posited by Intel Corp. co-founder Gordin Moore in the 1960s, Moore's Law states that the number of transistors that fit on a chip will double every 18 months. ... Moore's Law has held true so far, with Intel's latest Pentium cramming 8 million transistors on a tiny sliver of silicon. The industry is confident that it can achieve even more astounding figures, such as 100 million transistors on a chip [stress added]." (San Francisco Chronicle, August 10, 1998, page E1)

Technology does appear to have a mind of its own but it also appears to be operating under some well-defined laws that are holding true; and perhaps "education" itself operates under some discernible laws. Just as a photon can exhibit both wavelike and particle-like properties (depending on the "context" under which it is being observed/measured), so learning with all of the latest educational technologies does not occur at all times (depending on the context of the individual at that point in time) and successful learning can be built upon incremental steps or upon failure! The following, attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1884) concerning the human mind is most appropriate: "stretched to a new idea, [the human mind] never goes back to its original dimension."



"The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself." (Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 1972: 483)

The .20 release time for the the 1998-1999 Academic Year allowed me to (slightly) update and translate various papers into web-based documents for our students as indicated (even going back to Graduate School papers!):

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/TeachingInvitation.html [Teaching Invitation for Faculty]
ttp://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/NewFacultySample.html [Suggestion for Fall 1999 New Faculty]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/3Sisters.htm [Philosophical words re Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Gaming/AAUWGambleGaming.html [March 1999 AAUW presentation]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Iridium1994.html [1994 paper]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Darwin116.html [1993 paper]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/JOUR116.html [1993 Journalism Handout]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html [1991 paper]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991AAAS.html [1991 paper with Lou Nevins]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1988PTC.html [1988 paper]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/NatureCulture1970.html [1970 Graduate School paper]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Malinowski1968.html [1968 Graduate School handout!]

From IMC I learned about some of the nuances in creating "streaming video" which may be viewed on the World Wide Web from any computer (irrespective of the computer being used, provided it has enough "capabilities") and was able to have digitized my 1998 "Master Teacher Report" to the Provost ( Charlie on Darwin, May 1998 15 Minute Videotape Report for the Office of the Provost) as well as a 1997 Darwin videotape: Charles Darwin: Reflections - Part One: The Beginning In addition, the .20 release time allowed me to update my own ANTH 13 classes for our students both in Fall 1998 (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/syllabi/SYL_13-F98.html) as well as Spring 1999 (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/syllabi/SYL_13-SP99.html); the release time also allowed me to "think about teaching" in general and to get a chapter entitled Mnemonics, Quotations, Cartoons, And A Notebook: "Tricks" For Appreciating Cultural Diversity accepted for publication this year (in Strategies In Teaching Anthropology, Edited by Patricia Rice & David McCurdy, NJ: Prentice Hall).

The anthropologist Bateson, cited at the beginning of this section, provides ideas for thought. I do have some familiarity with the works and ideas of Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882) and the implications of his ideas on certain individuals and it is also interesting to consider some words from a Darwin contemporary, namely Karl Marx (1881-1883), who in 1859 (the same year that Darwin published the first edition of what has come to be know as Origin) wrote the following in Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy:

"In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material as forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.' [Trans. S.W. Ryazanskaya, NY: International Publishers, 1959, pages 20-21, of Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1859]

Without faculty realizing the (a) alternatives, (b) background, (c) context, as well as the (d) definite implications of "computer technologies" in the classroom of the 1990s (and beyond), all faculty are in danger of allowing this educational "mode of production" to determine our intellectual life. All faculty should be conscious of what is occurring around us.

All 1998-1999 LPP Directors were made aware of my "consultant" status early in Fall 1998 and I contacted all of them via e-mail and mailed some printed memoranda and appropriate attachments (please see VIII in the printed report) throughout the year. I also updated the LPP web-site (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html) for them on a weekly basis. While I did interact with some faculty, as indicated in Table #1, except for the two individuals that I had a great deal of conversations with ("High" and "Very High"), the LPP Directors (for the most part) did not seem to be interested in using my consultancy capabilities although I did, however, do a great deal of reading and surfing for them. The following table is my interpretation of my interaction with the LPP Directors for the 1998-1999AY:





WebCT Course

Very High

Distance Education Degree Program


University-Wide course


3-D Skull Module


Ethnographic Laboratory

Low to Medium

Virtual Field Trip (Biology)

Low to Medium

Virtual Field Trip (Geology)


Accounting Course


Science Teaching


LS Thematic Program


Electronic Portfolio


Electronic Resources


Web-based course


The above table might indicate that: #1} I failed to effectively communicate to the various LPP Directors on my availability; #2} or I was not viewed by the LPP Directors as a very "good" consultant to discuss their projects; or, #3} local individuals do not like having a "local consultant" for their projects: if the local consultant sees something that is obvious to him (or her), existing in the same environment that the LPP Director co-exists in, the LPP Directors might feel chagrined that they did not see the "new something" that the local consultant saw; therefore, skip the local consultant and go for the outside expert in all cases. This brings to mind the translated words of Montaigne (1533-1595):

"Few men have been admired of their familiars. No man hath been a Prophet, not only in his own house, but in his own country, saith the experience of histories." (Michel Eyquem de Montaigne [1533-1592], Essays, page 288 [1959 paperback publication of a translation from 1603].

Perhaps the institution does not need a local "consultant" but merely staff (or faculty) who have it as a major (50% to 100%?) part of their regular job description to work with faculty on their classroom educational technology projects. This seems to me what TLP is designed to do and it strikes me that this is what C. Louis Nevins did for the Instructional Media Center at one point in time: Lou worked specifically with faculty on getting them ready to use the (then) new technology in the classroom in the 1970s and 1980s and perhaps it is time to create a "new Lou" to work directly with the faculty. My interactions with Dave Bauer and our meeting with Continuing Education concerning his dispersed residency Psychology degree program and my interactions with Yoshio Kusaba for his WebCT course were, in my opinion, very productive and stimulating. As for the other LPP Directors, although I knew about their individual projects, and interacted with them sporadically throughout the 1998-1999AY (which I might have done anyway, although I doubt it), my influence on their individual projects was apparently minimal. It will be interesting to see how the various LPP Directors report on their interactions with me, should they choose to do so, in their reports.

One thing I should have considered doing was creating a LPP-L LIST-SERV to distribute the web information I gathered each week for the Project Directors; I chose, instead, to do a web page which may have been in error since this required the directors to consult the page on a regular basis (even though they were informed of a "robot" they could subscribe to to indicate changes in the page), as opposed to an LPP-L which would have arrived on a regular basis at their e-mail address; had they received LPP-L in this manner, they may still not have read it, but I least it would have been delivered directly to their work stations. On-the-other hand, by having a "web page" for the LPP Directors, I was able to share that page with a wide variety of individuals, since, as I discovered items throughout the 1998-1999AY that I deemed of interest to others, I distributed the page address). Incidentally, it might be an interesting idea to create a NEWFAC-L in August 1999 which could be distributed specifically to the new faculty.



Every Course
Every Student
Every Time!

It was argued above that "learning" does not occur at all times and I would also like to make the personal statement that "every course cannot be everything for every student every time!"

"...technology is a trickster. We blame technologies for things that arise from our social structures and skewed priorities; we expect magic satisfactions from machines that they simply cannot provide; and we remain consistently hoodwinked by their unintended consequences. Technologies have their own increasingly alien agenda, and human concerns will survive and prosper only when we treat them, not as slaves or simple extensions of ourselves, but as unknown constructs with whom we make creative alliances and wary pacts. This is particularly the case with information machines. Whatever social, ecological, or spiritual renewal we might hope for in the new century, it will blossom in the context of communicating technologies that already gird the earth with intelligence and virtual lights. Prometheus is hell-bent in the cockpit, but Hermes has snuck into Mission Control, and the matrix is ablaze with entangling tongues [stress added]." Erik Davis, 1998, Technognosis: Myth, Magic + Mysticism In The Age Of Information (NY: Harmony Books), page 335.

Any degree (B.A., M.A./M.S., or an eventual Ph.D.) is a combination of courses integrated into a philosophical whole, including research and/or fieldwork, since the various components (be they lectures, discussions, MERLOT, Web Pages, books, films, CD-ROMs, or videos) are presented by the teaching faculty with/from a philosophical (note: not necessarily strictly a pedagogical) perspective. A given course is a "cluster" of activities contributing to the entire course. What needs to be overcome is the misunderstanding about the amount of time and effort necessary to incorporate the "latest" technology into a university-level course: things are incorporated v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y. in the classroom and not every-single-course lends itself to appropriate uses of the current "new" technology (i.e., web-based or Internet courses). One may have web-assisted courses and web-enhanced courses and web-based courses, but not every course can, or should be, a web course. For example: all theatre classes, in my opinion, are not amenable to web-based courses but, the results of various theatre courses can be placed on the WWW as building blocks for future on-hands theatre courses. Thinking along these lines, the .20 release time also allowed me to work with Professor Sue Pate (Department of Theatre Arts) in assisting her with submitting a CELT proposal for the 1999-2000 Academic Year.

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #1: Certain science courses could readily lend themselves to "modules" which may be used within the context of a specific course, if the instructor is aware of the modules! (How to get the MERLOT [Multimedia Educational Repository for Learning and Online Teaching] information out to appropriate instructors?) MERLOT, as are the vast resources of the Internet, is just "another" bit of information (much like an old-fashioned book-based-library) and appropriate faculty simply have to be (a) made aware of the capabilities of MERLOT and (b) have the appropriate classroom technology (or be sure the off-campus student has the appropriate computer technology) to use MERLOT. Could the CSU (System) take out a full page advertisement in certain technology periodicals (Converge or T.H.E. Journal, for example) to publicize MERLOT? (Then of course, one must deal with the "NIH Syndrome" which can develop at anytime or anywhere: the Not Invented Here Syndrome.)

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #2: Could not local "educational technology" be used to deal with something like the following, as the San Francisco Chronicle of March 18, 1999, reported on CSU students:

"This year, 54 percent of entering freshmen at CSU's 22 campuses needed remedial mathematics and 47 percent needed remedial English--the same figures as last year." (Pamela Burdman, 1999, "College Freshmen Need less Remedial Help" in San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 1999, page A17).

Couldn't the problems of "remedial mathematics" be handled by a WebCT course? Or remedial English with a WebCT course? There are some specific campus (and system-wide) problems that seem to readily lend themselves to the use of some of the current various educational technologies. (For a complete listing of all schools, and various scores in California, please see http://www.asd.calstate.edu/performance/.)

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #3: The January 1999 issue of T.H.E. Journal had an article dealing with faculty and technology at Nova University (Florida) and while the article made several excellent points, one particular item struck me:

"Treat your developers as a team; hold frequent meetings. They need to share ideas and help each other stay focused. There is much frustration during the learning curve. Reinforce their work and recognize their accomplishments at every opportunity [stress added]." (J.W. Gibson and J.M. Herrera, 1999, "How To Go From Classroom Based To Online Delivery In Eighteen Months Or Less" in T.H.E. Journal, pages 57-60, page 60)

If it is at all possible instead of 10 or 12 major CELT grants for one academic year, perhaps the CELT awards could be given for a two-year period and staggered thereafter: say five LPP grants for the 1999-2001 Academic Years and then five additional grants for the 2000-2002 Academic Years, and all of the LPP faculty must talk with one another on a regular basis. The previous LPP were indeed valuable. The report on 5/15/98 (dealing with the activities of the 1997-1998 Academic Year) as well as the earlier LPP activities are impressive, provide useful ideas and links to various projects, and are clear indicators that this institution is fully committed to incorporating various educational technologies into California State University, Chico classes (including Anthropology, Biology, Computer Science, Geography, Physical Education, and Political Science, just to mention a few). Long-range planning, however, is a must and a one-year LPP is, in my opinion, not sufficient. A two-year period for most projects would perhaps be better and junior (or mid-career) faculty should be strongly encouraged to think and plan at least two-to-five years into the future (and strongly encouraged to apply for the LPP grants). Faculty on sabbatical for any part of the two year period would not be eligible to submit proposals: this is at least a 24-month commitment. Long-range planning is vital for any Internet-related course as the following pointed out from Syllabus97, when the question was raised "When do I need to start planning for an interactive distance learning program?"

"For a formal launching of a distance learning program, a lead time of about 18 months is needed. ... [yet] Less time and budget is required for launching a Web-centric course on campus to on-campus students. ... [but] if a course is to be totally asynchronous and packaged, a development time of 18-36 months is not unusual." (Judith V. Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad, 1997, Distance Learning: A Faculty FAQ. Syllabus, Vol. 10, No. 10, pages 14-17 and page 54; pages 16 and 17.

What is also important to consider is the support which will be available for the content experts (the teaching faculty) by the conduit experts (the technical support staff) after the initial CELT/TLP grant period is finished. As the educational technology continues to evolve (and as new faculty become more involved with it) the need for adequate support staff is vital. What is perhaps equally important is to have as many classrooms on campus as possible fully equipped to use all of the latest technologies: in the "budget crunch" of the 1980s, when the Instructional Media Center stopped delivering equipment and films to various classrooms, the ending of this service was accepted by the faculty because of budgetary restraints; now, however, if certain faculty wish to use certain technologies in certain rooms, they can be as burdened down with equipment and materials to carry to the classroom as a 49er miner! This is not very encouraging to work with the new technologies in some of the classrooms.

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #4: The need for less large projects and more discussion among LPP Directors is very important and LPP faculty (as well as all faculty) should be talking to faculty as well as to the technical support staff for each project. Once-again, perhaps a "new Lou" is needed. Content and technique cross-fertilization conversations between teaching faculty is vital.

"Experts call this new field 'cognitive computing,' a blend of behavioral sciences and computer science. Some Web developers now employ staffs of psychologists, sociologists, and cultural anthropologists, along with the requisite software engineers, to create Web interfaces that are tailor-made for a particular market, or, in some instances, for an individual customer's consciousness. 'You have to be a student of human behavior to be an effective e-commerce developer...you have to tailor content to those differences online [stress added].'" (Gene Koprowski, 1998, The (New) Hidden Persuaders. The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 1998, page R10.)

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #5: The experience and expertise (background) of the instructor is vital in the classroom and as newer-and-younger individuals join the faculty, perhaps some of them can be specifically targeted to develop specific web-based courses? The new faculty, as with all faculty, should be encouraged to experiment and "play" with the new technologies (a point made with Kathy Fernandes in 1996: Personal Views Of TLP: Teaching, Learning, Playing, And New Technologies) before they take the "plunge" to embrace it! Also, in order to strongly encourage the new faculty to work with the Chico Web, rather than prepare an extensive printed manual for them for August 1999, have some materials prepared in bound format but put much of the material on the web, linked perhaps to the Office of the Provost. (For a "sample" page with items, please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/NewFacultySample.html.)

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #6: Wouldn't it be wonderful if CSU, Chico could develop something like the numerous Internet courses being offered by, for example, like University of California, Los Angeles? The minimum system requirements for an individual to take courses are clearly spelled out (and if one doesn't have the minimum, then one can't do the course) and then the student is told how to: "Set up your virtual learning environment....Participate in Online Orientation....Access your course materials, lectures & assignments....Interact with your instructor and classmates....[and finally] Attend class at your convenience." (And please see http://www.onlinelearning.net/CTA1.) Other on-line courses currently on the Internet may be seen by beginning at http://teleeducation.nb.ca/ [TéléÉducation New Brunswick] and then by going to http://apsis.telecampus.edu/ one can get a listing of some 12,626 courses currently available from various institutions; finally, one can also go to the following locations for additional information about specific educational technologies in the academic setting (including K-12 activities):

http://www.cbc.umn.edu/~mwd/courses.html [Virtual Courses on the Web]
http://www.ukans.edu/~sypherh/bc/onctr.html [Online University Teaching Centers]
http://babel.uoregon.edu/yamada/forlang.html [Foreign Language Teaching Resources]
http://web66.coled.umn.edu/schools/US/California.html [Web66 International School Directory]
http://cyberschool.4j.lane.edu/ [CyberSchool]
http://lenti.med.umn.edu/~mwd/courses.html [Virtual Courses On The Web]

A recent CSU Stateline publication, page 2 (March 1999) pointed out the following concerning CSU, Sacramento:

"CSU Sacramento will become the first university in the state to offer a public relations program by Internet and cable TV. Students would complete lower division requirements at the campus or a community college before enrolling in the program. Plans are to offer the program entirely over the Internet so that more students can be served."

Should CSU, Chico consider using the most appropriate technologies in the classroom and also stress the residential nature of the campus and leave the major portion of state-wide (or world-wide) distribution of education via the Internet to other campuses? It is abundantly clear that campus students (and faculty) are utilizing the WebCT technology, as Electronic Access for April 1999 pointed out: "Web Course Tools Used in Classrooms - The Technology and Learning Program (TLP) continues to provide support 62 active WebCT courses involving 2,100 students with on-line access..." But is it feasible to assume that individuals "out there" throughout the region (or nation) will always have the latest computer technology to deal with courses emanating from CSU, Chico?

Perhaps it is already being considered, but should CSU, Chico do something similar for our students as CSU, Sacramento is doing for their students, as reported in The Sacramento Bee of April 14, 1999?:

"For two decades, Floyd LeCureux has been teaching computer science to hard-core engineering types at California State University, Sacramento. But in just the last few years, a different breed of student has been showing up in his classes. They are the liberal arts and business majors who want to round out their job skills learning about computers--and particularly about the Internet. ... LeCureux is asking CSUS administrators to approve a program that will award students a certificate in Web technology after they complete six classes. 'We think the certificate will carry a lot of weight' with potential employers, he said." (Clint Swett, Nontraditional Web heads: CSUC Moving Toward Program Stressing Online Skills. The Sacramento Bee, April 14, 1999, page C1 and C5, page C1.)

RECOMMENDATION / IDEA #7: Finally, for CSU, Chico, a "true" multimedia approach for all classes must be maintained, striking a "balance" between the use of technology (where and when appropriate), actual "live" classroom interactions with students and faculty on a face-to-face basis, and other instructional techniques (including "virtual trips" and live trips). I quote the 1989 words of Clifford Stoll, author of The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking A Spy Through The Maze Of Computer Espionage and 1995 author of the best-selling Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts On The Information Highway, who provided the following concerning the relative value of computers versus books:

"Today, however, the bargains are on paper, not on disk. Don't believe me? Spend seventy dollars on an atlas at your bookstore. While you're paging through it, notice its precise colors and logical layout. Now think of the hundred dollars you've saved by avoiding those map-making CD-ROMS, with cruder resolution and no topography. Twenty years from now, you'll still read that atlas and dream of faraway places; the software will be long since obsolete and unusable [stress added] (Clifford Stoll, 1995, Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts On The Information Highway, pages 140-141.

Consider these words:

"Information age isn't yet history. The Declaration of Independence, written two centuries ago, can be read by a child. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a bit tougher, but scholars can still decode words written on parchment two millennia ago. But if you were to dig up a computer disk formatted on a PC just two decades ago [1978!], you'd be hard-pressed to read it. Even if the magnetically coded information is undisturbed, the 5 1/4-inch floppy won't read it and any computer that could is probably in a museum. In an era when technological innovations are old by the time they make it to market, the world is faced with a paradox: We can create and distribute information faster and more easily than ever, but it has become harder to store and retrieve" [stress added]." Carlos Alcalá, Information age isn't yet history. The Sacramento Bee, December 26, 1998, pages 1 and page A21, Page 1. 

There will always be places for BOOKS and "live faculty" in the classroom and the following from the March/April 1999 issue of Educom Review are well worth considering, especially considering the existing residential nature of the CSU, Chico campus:

"The fears that the virtual university may replace the real university are surely exaggerated. More likely for most universities, distance learning will supplement their regular offerings by reaching mature students and alumni who might otherwise rarely return to the classroom. Distance learning may simply expand the market for higher education, attracting new students without displacing the traditional ones." (Dennis F. Thompson, 1999, Intellectual Property Meets Information Technology. Educom Review, March/April, Vol. 34, No. 2, pages 14-21, page 19)

"Problems" (or "opportunities") occur in all types of educational situations, be they "traditional or non-traditional" education, and Internet-based courses have their share of problems:

"Indeed, there are already shadows in the bright dawn of this new educational approach. Some professors are grousing that electronic courses consume a startling huge chunk of time in responding to students' e-mail queries--far more time, they suggest, than similar queries raised in a [traditional] classroom, where an answer to one student may satisfy several others as well. To some, such complaints are just one example of why the Internet won't displace brick-and-mortar universities [stress added]." (Robert Cwiklik, 1998, A Different Course.The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 1998, pages R31 and R34).



"Computers are spawning a genuine revolution in human culture. As with any revolution, the long-term cultural and ethical ramifications remain unclear. We have no definitive sense of where we are going; we know simply that we are going there quickly. The sheer pace of change often keeps us from digging below the surface and developing the resources we need to make sense of computers on any deep, personal level. The most common response to the rapid change and uncertainty that computation has engendered is to fall on one side of an extreme--either elevate computers to the role of saviors or become neo-Luddites and cite them as the main source of our contemporary woes. In light of the ways in which computers are saturating our reality, these views are naïve, maybe even dangerous [stress added]." Jennifer Cobb, 1998, Cybergrace: The Search For God In The Digital World, page 19.

In my personal opinion, there is absolutely no way that CSU, Chico, or perhaps any institution of higher education, can ever hope to emulate the "virtual reality trips" or fantasies that occur in the various theme parks across this nation; nor can this institution ever hope to create commercial quality CD-ROMs, for widespread (and profitable distribution) (along the likes of Encarta, or even some of the prekindergarten CD-ROMs I have recently seen) without a massive (a) philosophical shift of the institution (from a primarily residential campus to a "distributed-learning" campus) and (b) a massive influx of money to purchase (c) new equipment and (d) hire many-many-many additional full-time technical and support staff.

California State University, Chico, is in the "education" business and we can't go back in time but must use the latest technologies (with some judicious thought). On March 23, 1999, in writing about "electronic commerce" and trading on the WWW, the following words were written, totally appropriate to an analysis of the WWW and universities of the 1990s:

"The knowledge economy insists on speed. As technology and communication speed up the flow of information in every business, instant analysis becomes critical. Just figuring out how to cope is an interesting exercise. Figuring out how to excel will separate the winners from the losers [stress added]." (Andy Kessler, 1999, If Only We Could Turn Back The Clock. The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 1999, page A22)

We must all "figure out how to excel" and continue to share our ideas and opinions in order to advance the mission of CSU, Chico, namely providing quality education for our students (both on-campus and off-campus); it is also clear from my limited faculty perspective that there is a differential rate of change and acceptance of new technologies into the various classrooms at CSU, Chico. I, for one, accept and utilize various technologies for our students; I am not lukewarm but am passionate about my beliefs and was passionate about my endeavors during the 1998-1999 Academic Year.

"I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1884-1935), 1885 Memorial Day Address.

In beginning this report I wrote that my administrative experiences (1975-1977 and 1977-1988) possibly contributed more to my thinking than did my teaching experiences at this institution since 1973, but this is only part of the background that influenced my thinking and writing. Not only do I have some administrative experiences, but I enjoy teaching tremendously, and I have followed and/or have been involved with various "technologies" on this campus since my earliest years here (and part of my sabbatical research in Spring 1997 took me to twenty-six institutions across the country that were using various types of "educational technologies" in the classroom: please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/FApril30-98.html as well as http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Jan'98_Millennium_Paper.html for two items which resulted from this research).

In 1975, as a result of a CADRE project (through Dr. Phyllis Bush of what was called then called LARC, or Learning Activities Resource Center, now known as Information Resources) I worked with various Instructional Media Center personnel in producing three videotapes which were used in various Social Science classes on campus: we videotaped children (and their teacher, Ms. Lola Weibe) in a local Chico school (Hooker Oak Elementary School) and edited those tapes into three instructional modules entitled MACOS In Action: Salmon, Herring Gulls and Baboons (45 minutes), MACOS In Action: Herring Gull Discussion (23 minutes), and MACOS In Action: The Netsilik Eskimos (23 minutes). MACOS, based on the curriculum materials known as Man: A Course Of Study, was controversial in its day, but the controversy has passed. I was at CSU, Chico when "multiple-projection" slide shows were the rage for certain classroom situations, and that has passed; while in Continuing Education I was involved in videotaping various Computer Science courses as "stand-alone-modules" so they could be sent out to students for self-paced instruction and now DVD is being talked about for distribution to off-campus individuals in lieu of videotapes. I was involved in the transition from a "terrestrial" educational television-system to an "extraterrestrial" system and I have been aware of "slow-scan" and digital television experiments and have followed "streaming video" activities in recent years. I have followed the introduction of "First Class" on this campus (soon to be no longer supported?) as well as the wide-spread use of Power Point presentations. A few years ago "Power Point Presentations" were the rage (and still are in many respects) and now we have the technology of WebCT instructional modules on this campus: all of these (and more) will contribute to the various "new" technologies of the future! As written above: " Ten or twenty-years from now what we are doing today at California State University, Chico, will be viewed as archaic (just as the ITFS of ten years ago is virtually ancient history today)!" The pedagogical "zealot" or fanatic must be avoided and the aphorism of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) is recalled: "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." We must continue to utilize all of the educational technologies of the day for our students but also remember that this too shall pass. I am interested in Anthropology, Biology, Creativity, Darwin, and Evolution; these seem to come together in some 1999 words by MacArthur Fellow Stuart Kauffman:

"Here is no Panglossian world, or Hobbsian either. Perhaps here is the reality we have always suspected. Do your best; you will ultimately slip into history along with the trilobites and other proud personae in this unfolding pageant. If we must eventually fail, what an adventure to be players at all." (Stuart Kauffman, 1999, At Home In The Universe: The Search For The Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, page 243)

At CSU, Chico, we are all "players" on this field of education but we must realize that there are other "players" who are "out there" and who are bigger (but not necessarily "brighter") than we and who might have slightly different agendas for the use of educational technologies in the various classrooms of the world. For example, the 10 May 1999 issue of Business Week had an interesting article entitled "The Reincarnation of Mike Milken" (by Kathleen Morris) dealing with the current activities of this wealthy ex-felon (dealmaker and "junk-bond villain or brilliant financial innovator" of the 1980s) and his $250,000,000 investment in KU, or "Knowledge Universe" ("an educational-services company"). Milken, and others (as indicated by The Wall Street Journal article of April 15, 1999 cited above), are very interested in the $800 billion dollar educational services market in a big way" because (a) human beings are "learning creatures" and (b) computers can possibly help us to learn more efficiently and (c) big dollars can be made when a + b are combined in an efficient manner!

What happens if Milken (or someone else) buys Blackboard Inc. or WebCT Educational Technologies or some other commercial product that an educational institution becomes heavily dependent (or totally dependent on) to deliver distributed-learning courses and the fees are raised? Or doubled? Or quadrupled? All educational institutions exist (or co-evolve) in a larger context and the larger context must be considered when making current decisions and planning for the future. I believe in the ideas of Charles Darwin. Milken and specific educational technologies means specialization (and eventual extinction): "Last year you used lined-paper that had a spacing of 1.5 units to deliver your educational content; this year you will have to use lined-paper of 2.0 units to deliver your educational content because we no longer will support lined-paper of 1.5 units (or the fees to support lined-paper of 1.5 units have become astronomical)." Darwin means diversity, development, growth, and adaptation to the ever-changing environment.

Finally, at the beginning of this report I wrote that "I like to read widely and make connections among seemingly disparate items" and that is what I also did with the .20 release time in 1998-1999. James Burke, author of The Day The Universe Changed (1985) as well as The Pinball Effect (1997), and the 1995 book and television series (and CD-ROM) entitled Connections, had a 1999 article published in roam: The Iridium Magazine, a quarterly publication of Iridium LLC (http://www.iridium.com/). Iridium has some sixty-six telecommunications satellites (and spares) in low earth orbit which allows (relatively expensive) communication with any point on the planet and the masthead of the magazine has the following: "Freedom to Communicate. Anytime. Anywhere." I have been "tracking Iridium" for more than a decade, presented a paper about it in 1994 (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Iridium1994.html), and believe Iridium still has a long way to go...but! In the latest issue of roam, Burke wrote eloquently of the "new information technology" and the tremendous value that it can bring to all of us:

"Without the new information technology, what could not be easily tapped was a shadowy area around each person's core competence, a kind of penumbra of general working knowledge. This includes intuition, the world outside my office, and what somebody told me yesterday afternoon--experiential areas of informal expertise which have not previously been considered useful. These are the areas that link one person's skills with somebody else's skills, or that enhance their ability to see their work in a larger context and understand how to do it better. The Internet and other new technologies encourage people and organizations with initiative to develop this penumbra of talent [stress added]." (James Burke, 1999, Making The Connection. roam: The Iridium Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2, pages 32-35, page 35)

Burke is one of my favorite authors (but even some of his "connections" are too incredible for me at times!) and in The Day The Universe Changed (1985) he tells us "You are what you know. ...Today we live according to the latest version of how the universe functions" (1985: 9). To these words I must simply add that we are also what we don't know. Our individual and collective ignorance, biases, and prejudices concerning everything (including the "latest" educational technologies) contributes to who we are at California State University, Chico, and how we function and work in this wonderful, exciting, enriching, and enriched environment.

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"Time makes more converts than reason." Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
and / but
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

Over the period from September 8, 1998 to May 10, 1999, a total of 274 items were placed on the pages for the LPP Directors (at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html): 75 in Fall 1998 and 199 in Spring 1999. My favorite is still the following:

A NEW LOW-TECH SOLUTION: This item describes the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, popularly known by its acronym BOOK. BOOK is a breakthrough in technology, requiring no wires, no electric switches, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on (although sufficient illumination is needed and strongly recommended). Compact and portable, BOOK can be used anywhere, yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM. BOOK, constructed of sequentially-numbered sheets of paper, is capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The sheets of a BOOK are held together with a device called a binding, keeping the sheets in correct order. Opaque Paper Technology allows manufacturers to use both sides of each sheet, doubling the information density! While using the BOOK, each sheet is optically scanned by the user, registering information directly into the brain. After scanning a single sheet, a simple flick of the finger brings up the next sheet of information. BOOK never crashes or needs rebooting (as with certain other information technologies) although it can be damaged should liquids be spilled on it (as with other technologies) and BOOK is not impervious to fire (although Fahrenheit 212 has been determined to be the point of combustion). The "browse" feature of BOOK allows the user to move virtually instantaneously to to any Bio-Optic-Sheet, forward or backward, and many BOOKs come with "index" or "topic" features, allowing the user, or any other user of BOOK, to pinpoint exact locations of an information item for instant retrieval. An optional "bookmark" accessory allows users to open BOOK to the last sheet used in previous sessions and bookmarks fit universal-design standards: amazingly, a single bookmark can be used with BOOKs produced by totally incompatible manufacturers. (Perhaps even more unique, multiple types of bookmarks may be used on a single BOOK, incorporating technologies from metal, paper, and string distributors.) Market analysts believe that BOOK has a bright future in an increasingly complex and technology-driven world. Incidentally, a recent BOOK publication has pointed out that one Johannes Gutenberg (1394-1468) should be credited with being the most important individual of the current millennium:

"If not for Gutenberg, Columbus...might never have set sail, Shakespeare's.... genius could have died with him, and Martin Luther's...Ninety-five Theses would have hung on that door unheeded. In fact, without mass quantities of books to burn, the Inquisition could have fallen flat on its face. The printing press, developed by Gutenberg in the 1430s, helped spread truth, beauty, and yes, heresy throughout the world. We know the Chinese had movable type for centuries before Gutenberg, but they used it for silk printing, not books. Gutenberg, however, always had publishing in mind. Copies of his first major project, the Bible, survive today. He worked for years to perfect his system of movable type and a press that could mass-produce books, leaflets, and propaganda. What little is known about Gutenberg comes from the many lawsuits filed against him for the rights to the invention. But no one successfully challenged Gutenberg's place as the Western inventor of movable type and the printing press. Because his press unharnessed the power of ideas on the world, we rank him ahead of the people whose ideas found an audience through printing [stress added]." Agnes Hooper Gottlieb, Henry Gottlieb, Barbara Bower, Brent Bowers, 1998, 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking the Men and Women Who Shaped the Millennium (NY: Kodansha International), page 2).

(The above is roughly based on an item which appeared in a companion item to BOOK, namely the NEWSLETTER [which I have interpreted as: Nascent Educational Words Shared Locally, Eventually Transforming Thinking, Enabling Refreshment ] entitled Chico Carrel, from The Chico Friends of The Library, March 1999, which, in turn, was based on a item from the Internet.) (Posted on May 10, 1999)

1. © This report (~13,000 words) draws upon a great deal of "surfing" (and thinking) that was conducted to create http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html every week throughout the 1998-1999 Academic Year for the LPP Directors; on that page (first posted on September 8, 1998) the Directors were informed that they could bookmark the page (to alert them when changes had occurred) by subscribing to a "robot" like http://www.netmind.com/html/url-minder.html which would send them an e-mail message about a change in the page. On July 28, 1997, I submitted my Sabbatical Report to the campus and it is appropriate to repeat the words of the 1933 Physics Nobel Laureate Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961): "...it seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists [or an individual researcher] in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis something toward answering the demand 'who are we?' [stress added]" (As cited by Harold J. Moskowitz, 1979, The Wine Of Life And Other Essays On Societies, Energy & Living Things, page 171.) To return to the beginning of this paper, please click here.

[This page printed from: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-1999LPPFinRept.html]

VII. ALL PREVIOUS WWW SITES / ITEMS IN FALL 1998 AND SPRING 1999, also available at LPP (Learning Productivity Projects) MISCELLANEOUS, located at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html.

VIII. PREVIOUS "MINI-REPORTS" (Not available on the WWW site)

To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.

For more information, please contact Charles F. Urbanowicz
Copyright © 1999 Charles F. Urbanowicz

Anthropology Department, CSU, Chico
11 May 1999 by CFU

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