> 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?
I give this problem a year at the outside. Already there are
Internet boxes being developed to be marketed to the home audience.
There's a lot of money to be made on the web; I think we're about to see
an explosion the likes of which you've never dreamt of in your
philosophy, Horatio. Why else would major corporations have such a
strong presence there? Why is Bill Gates going after Netscape tooth and
nail? The company that hits the mass market with an easy-to-use box is
going to clean up. Everybody's gearing up for it.
The technology is changing at warp speed. I know, so what's new?
but we're on the verge of CD-ROM read/write technology for about $1500 at
the beginning of next year, and probably it'll be under $500 by a year
from now. That's still too expensive for most people, I know (although
the Internet boxes are supposed to retail for about $500 -- which means
$250 next year), but that's not the point. The point is that machines at
all ends of the spectrum will be capable of storing and using much more
information, at far faster speeds, than they currently do. There will be
possibilities in Distance Ed that we now can only wish for.
My point is that the technology is here to stay and only getting
better. We'd be silly to hold up on an idea that would become
increasingly feasible and increasingly attractive to people.
Marcy (really trying not to sound pie-in-the-sky or Pollyannaish)
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128
Web page: http://www.umd.umich.edu/~marcyb