Re: Beyond these walls...

Steve Krause (krause@MIND.NET)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 19:25:05 -0700

I've only been skimming this thread because I got a lot of mail today (it
looks like a lot if it is undeliverable junk from the pre-text list). In
any event, Phyllis said something I wanted to ponder in this latest version
of the circus:

>In rhetorical terms, sounds like we're asking first about the
>needs/perceptions/ expectations of the audience. Is that the place to
>start, or do we begin by asking what ethos we want to promote and what we
>feel we have to offer--and then work to convince others that they should
>view us THAT way instead of the ways they perhaps already view us.

This sparked in me two questions, one much more rhetorical than the other.
First, don't a lot of people take continuing ed classes _specifically_ for
the purposes of interacting with other people f2f, in real-time? I don't
really know the answer to that, but I've had a few older (retired or close
to it) students who seem to enjoy getting down to school and out of the
house. I wonder how appealing 'net based courses might be to this crowd.

Second (and this is the rhetorical question), wouldn't these telecommuting
students need a pretty good chunk of hardware and software to take these
courses over the 'net? And aren't a sizeable amount of the population
interested in continuing ed to better their lot in life (ie, get that
undergrad degree or certificate or what-have-you to get a better job)
unable to afford the computer equipment it takes to participate in a
program like this? After all, the demographics suggest that vast majority
of home computer owners have substantial education past high school. I
realize that some continuing ed stuff could be done with e-mail alone
(which would be potentially quite cheap), but I'm not sure that e-mail
without other 'net interaction would be much better than traditional
correspondance courses.

I guess I'm just trying to be a skeptic, not because I don't think this
could work, but because I think we need to be careful about leaping too far
ahead if this were to become a reality. Potential students have to have
computers and know how to work them (more or less) before they start taking
classes exclusively over the 'net, and those are two big roadblocks.

Steve Krause * Department of English * Southern Oregon State College
1250 Siskiyou Blvd. * Ashland, OR 97520 * Office Phone: 541-552-6630
School e-mail: * Personal e-mail: