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Will New Technologies become the main vehicle for a learning society?

By Yannis Karaliotas
Master in Open & Distance Education student at OU, UK
August 1997

"They [people] should be able to meet around a problem chosen and defined by their own initiative. Creative, exploratory learning requires peers currently puzzled about the same terms or problems.... The most radical alternative to school would be a network or service which gave each man the same opportunity to share his current concern with others motivated by the same concern" (Illich, 1970).

"There is no technology which is inherently democratic or no technology which is inherently oppressive for that matter, technology is usually a fairly neutral thing. The technology doesn't care really whether it's used for oppression or liberation, it's how people use it" (Noam Chomsky, 1995:1).


learning, technology, shifting, change, online, interactive, WWW, active learning, community,

future, scenarios, Information Highway


We live in a continuously shifting state of realities in which the only predictable constant is the inevitability of more change. This is the basic element of our Information Technology Era, which commenced with the development of the microprocessor (1973) and proceeds into the foreseeable future.

The most recent impetus to microprocessor development, the convergence of technologies, is represented in embryonic form by the Internet, particularly the World Wide Web.

This paper reports on the findings of an online investigation intended to explore the educational function of the Internet by analysing the ways learning opportunities are presented and utilised on and over it, in an attempt to understand the trends of changes in learning technology and how these changes affect adult learners.

Points of Departure

I based the planing of this investigation on reflecting on the observations made by Kirkup and Jones (1996) on open learning and distance education related to the concept and reality of a learning society.

In particular, the issues raised in their chapter of whether new ICTs may "overcome the previous weakness of ODL without undermining its strengths", and that , in a learning society, learning opportunities should be open to "all classes of society, especially those people who have had less formal education than the majority, and what usually follows from (this) lower income", have been used as a measurement throughout the investigation.

Technological determinism and the network of Learning Society

The Internet is an evolving, growing entity aligned to continuous technological change. This constant change is instrumental in paradigm shifts in the development of learning technology. To some learners (and educators alike) it appears to have become too complex, too technical, and many make an assumption of technological determinism. There is no need to assume technological determinism, we can ensure that the development of technology will not be detrimental to learning and education.

Barry Jones (1990) uses the example of Los Angeles and the way the car and tyre industry was allowed to replace the public transport system with cars and freeways, as a warning that we should not accept the consequences of technological determinism, but that we have a choice in the way technology is used and developed. The development of the car was an uncontrolled, chaotic phenomenon with wide reaching "side-effects", such as road deaths, urban sprawl and environmental pollution. This did not necessarily need to be the case, but was accepted as part of the development of technology.

The alternative network

In the educational field, as in the commercial, innovations may develop spontaneously. Some may be planned, such as in the commercial arena when a new calorie-controlled, portion-controlled, fixed weight chicken product is developed for sale to consumers at retail level because they are now cholesterol conscious and then diffuses to restaurants who in turn have expressed a need for such a product. Many developments have however occurred spontaneously from research with a different purpose, such as the many offshoots of the NASA space programs and the Internet from its 1967 beginnings as ARPANET, initially commissioned by the US DoD and the Pentagon, for military purposes ( Appendix 1).

What is the Internet?

At a technological level, the Internet is millions of computers (no one is quite sure how many,) interconnected through the worldwide telecommunications systems. All these computers are able to share information with each other because they use common communications protocols.

At the human level, the Internet is the people who use those computers and the information they share. The people come from all walks of life, acting both as private individuals and representatives of organisations. Everyone on the Internet can publish information on any subject they wish, and almost everything published is available to everyone else. As a result, the content is staggeringly extensive and varied.

Finally, the Internet is a technological, social and cultural phenomenon, unlike anything the world has seen before. It has emerged as such not because of some ideology or social manifesto, but simply because of its anarchic technological structure. It might be seen as historical irony the reason that this network was initially built during the period of the cold war, which was to ensure that there would always be some means of communication in case the USA was hit by enemy nuclear missiles.

Unlike other human-conceived networks which exist since the beginning of humanity (e.g. power and energy networks), the Internet is not owned by anyone. No one owns the Internet. It is shared, by the consensus of its users. It does not come from a place, or even a country. It recognises no political boundaries. It was not invented. It evolved, over three decades, from the desire of people worldwide to share knowledge and to communicate. ( Appendix 1).

"Why do people want to be "on the Internet?" One of the main reasons is simple freedom. The Internet is a rare example of a true, modern, functional anarchy. There is no "Internet Inc." There are no official censors, no bosses, no board of directors, no stockholders. In principle, any node can speak as a peer to any other node, as long as it obeys the rules of the TCP/IP protocols, which are strictly technical, not social or political. (There has been some struggle over commercial use of the Internet, but that situation is changing as businesses supply their own links)." (Sterling, 1993)

Trends in Technological Change

Different technologies and methods for educational delivery

People retain about 20 % of what they see, 30 % of what they hear, 50 % of what they see and hear, and up to 80 % of what they see, hear, and do simultaneously; to the extent that computer-based learning systems integrate these techniques, they can be very effective.

Technological change, occurring at a faster rate now than ever before, is having incremental effects upon communication and social interaction. Increasing sophistication in the technologies of communication and computerisation are decreasing the cost and increasing the availability of instantaneous communication across the world. Electronic Mail, video-conferencing and multimedia applications are just a few examples of innovative technology now being used in education.
The use of the Internet is growing exponentially, although it is not possible to measure accurately that growth rate. These figures are collated by one of the largest Internet hosts in the USA, using world wide surveys. They show that minimal figures of Internet hosts had reached approximately 13 million by mid 1996 and exceeded the 20 million mark by August 1997, of which approximately 5 million were European hosts [1] representing a quarterly increase of nearly 15%. (Rutkowski, Appendix 2). Of these, educational institutions as hosts (edu domains) [2] had reached more than 2 million by June 1996 and neared 3 million in August 1997. (Rutkowski, Appendix 2)

One of the implications of this is that our learning institutions and practices will change. Moore (1995), refers to models explaining how educators will respond to new technologies

(Moore, 1995b, p.3).

Only the last model acknowledges the existence of a paradigm shift. It differs significantly from Scott's notions of the British perspective (Scott, 1993), as it attempts to do away with the established institutional culture. This model should flow on to changes in the text-paper based emphasis on knowledge and content, and to the training of teachers, and perhaps a redefining of the position of teacher from "teacher as knowledge source" to "teacher as facilitator of the learning process" (D. Spender, 1995, pp114ff).

Other implications of this are that there will be fewer on-campus students, more education over the Internet, more universities online, and "virtual degrees" through virtual universities. The methodology of education will change, becoming more varied and flexible. Isolated and other marginalised students will benefit - assuming they have the technology of access.
An example of this trend is Ken Eustace of Charles Sturt University, Australia, who has received accreditation for an MA from Paideia University. Eustace is the first Australian academic to be awarded an online degree from a "Virtual University".

"The electronic transfer of a global Master's degree over the Internet from Paideia University in Amsterdam to Perth in Australia six weeks ago signified the start of profound changes - and dilemmas - to the university system", The 'Australian' reported on 6th September 1995. (Appendix 3)

Learning Opportunities On And Over The Internet

There is a wide spectrum of learning opportunities on and over the Internet, especially on the World Wide Web (Appendix 4). The existence of Virtual Universities and Classrooms on the Net paves the way for wider access and participation for adult learners as it changes the philosophy and practice of ODL.

Hypertext, the non-linear medium, a term coined by computer utopian Theodor Nelson in his 1974 'Computer Lib/Dream Machines' to describe electronic texts embedded with links to other texts is yet another tech-tool which enhances learning, breaks down the traditional linear narrative of the written word by encouraging readers/users/surfers to find their own paths though large amounts of information. His idea came to fruition with the advent of the World Wide Web, where "hypermedia" also includes sounds, pictures, and moving images. Hypertext was the first tool to enhance interactivity on the Net.

The capacity for learners to add to the dialogue through an interactive medium provides opportunity for development, application and linkage of new knowledge to the adults own learning context. The Internet recreates the 'agora' or meeting place in which knowledge is not only shared but created and recreated.

Learners engage in active learning within conferenced environments where they take responsibility for their own learning processes. Learners "are required to examine thinking and learning processes; collect, record, and analyse data; formulate and test hypothesis; reflect on previous understandings; and construct their own meaning" (Crotty 1994, as quoted in Jonassen et al., 1995, p. 11) within an environment that gives the opportunity for students to interact together to build a community of learners.

Computer conferencing (CC), now common on the Internet, is a technology that facilitates interaction between learner and instructor and among learners and, potentially, opens the door to active learning. It creates opportunities for students to engage in the kind of active learning activities that Meyers and Jones (1993) and others identify. For example, CC allows the formation of small groups, creates opportunities for collaborative learning, discussion using case studies, role playing, simulations, online journaling, and provides opportunities to discuss and make connections between content and their own lived experiences.

One such example could be the online experience I have had in attending one of the newly established OU courses which are delivered over the Internet.

A Case Study within the Project.

Because of its asynchronous nature, CC-based group discussion allows for more thoughtful, well-constructed responses than one might find in a face-to-face classroom. Also, within the group context, students have opportunity to interpret and transform content (i.e., make content their own); they can integrate new material with what they already know about the subject. Both large and small group discussion facilitates the active exchange of ideas and opinions related to specific content.

MZX205 is a computing OU course. It is delivered in the usual OU manner, plus the fact that OU offers learners access to its WWW and e-mail conferencing facilities over the Internet. Since the beginning of the term, I have accumulated 362 conferencing messages from the 21 fellow learners on the course. We have been discussing our common concerns on the course, facilitating each other and commenting on our work, flaming about and complaining, socialising in virtual reality, using our first names and showing intimacy rarely found in everyday acquaintance under similar circumstances. (Appendix 5)

CC mediated case studies and collaborative activities gave us opportunity to apply and test theory and knowledge to a "real-life" context. Specifically, collaborative activities encouraged mutual decision-making, and shared analysis amongst group members (skills that are valuable in the work world!). Generally, we were required to produce some product as evidence of our collaborative efforts, such as a final report or posting which was presented online for comments from other students and the instructor.

On-line journaling allows learners to reflect on content in a personal context, and to analyse and evaluate content in light of their experience. This reflection facilitates a personal level of integration and interpretation of content. Although an individual activity, journaling is, nonetheless, "active," because it provides the opportunity for reflection on and "meaning-making" with regard to course content. (SCHANK, R. & CLEARY, C.1994-)

Communities and the Internet

As the Internet is becoming a major influence in education, trainers feel the impact on their lives and the lives of their students. How can we help students avoid a sense of alienation as they work with computers? First came television and video games - now more hours are spent in isolation "surfing the net". In the future, many courses will be computer-mediated. Work may be generated from the home computer. Is it possible we will see each other primarily on monitor screens?

The Antidote? Through this vast network we may in fact, become more connected, more unified. Communities now benefit from this system of communication, from meeting electronically. The following sites promote connections. This collection demonstrates the variety of "communities" now active on the Internet. (Appendix 6).

The ever increasing presence of Community networks in the medium facilitates learning within the virtual community and, furthermore, enables the accumulation of power in the hands of independent groups of people, thus enabling participation of marginalised groups and individuals. Perhaps, this is the answer to Henrick van der Zee's (1991) call for organised counterforces who will eventually build a learning society.

The Information Highway

Towards a learning society or an even more deprived world population?

"I sympathize therefore, with those who would minimize, rather than those who would maximize, economic entanglement between nations. Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel--these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible; and, above all, let finance be primarily national." -- John Maynard Keynes

"Despite attempts to provide balance and accountability, the corporation as an entity became so powerful that it quickly outstripped the limitations of accountability and became something of an externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine - no malevolence, no intentional harm, just something designed with sublime efficiency for self-preservation, which it accomplishes without any capacity to factor in the consequences to others." (Robert Monks, 1991)

With access to information stored anywhere in the world and, above all, the ability to combine and analyse large quantities of data, it is possible to create new knowledge, which other people do not have and which has added value. Hence, information and knowledge becomes the most important commodity.

There is a strong feeling, stemming from the historical experience concerning the media (radio, TV), that the Information Highway will not be left to serve public purposes, but it will be reserved to promote the interests of the free-market (corporate) economy. But, Is democracy possible without a democratic media? Should commercial business control the flow of public information, shape news, and decide the limits of political debate? What would a mass media system look like if it were community driven and operated for the common good, like a public school system or library? Corporate media have become a monolithic force relentlessly pushing commercialism and consumption as a way of life. In this environment, there is a clear and present need to subvert the corporate grip on communications and strengthen, co-ordinate, and mobilise independent media alliances as a vehicle for progressive democratic change. And the Internet is, indeed, part of it.

Noam Chomsky (1995:2) urges:

"I think the way the technology is likely to go is unpredictable... if I had to make a guess, my guess is corporate take-over, and that to the extent that it's so far tax payer supported and it's a government institution or whatever people call it, in fact it's a military installation/system at base and they are letting it go, and the reason they are letting it go is cos they are not concerned about the positive effects it has, because they probably feel, maybe correctly, that it's overwhelmed by the negative effects...and these are things people have to achieve -they are not going to be given as gifts...like the Pentagon is not going to give people as a gift a technique for free communication which undermine the major media; if its going to take out that way it will be cos of struggle like any other victory for freedom."

Education and Community: Four Scenarios for the Future of Public


Global Business Network and the National Education Association (USA) came together to create scenarios on the future of public education. Trends that cut across all scenarios are: the decline of the nuclear family, the issues surrounding special education, and the promise of technology.

Scenario 1.) Orthodoxy. Hierarchical (traditional), Inclusive: "this scenario assumes a turn toward traditional values, and the effort to enlist educators to impose those values on any and all who might resist them."

Scenario 2.) Orthodoxies. Hierarchical (traditional), Exclusive: "like the last scenario, this one, too, plays out the reaction against value-free public education. Today's public education would seem to avoid imposing any one set of values in order to avoid offending other sets of values. The last scenario accepts the risks of offending marginal groups by imposing one set of red, white, and blue values. Here, values are also central to education, but different values guide different schools."

Scenario 3.) Wired for Learning. Participatory (radical), Exclusive: "this scenario revolves around new applications of information technology. Information technology influences all of the scenarios, but this scenario is distinguished by an evolution of information technology more rapid and far-reaching than most people now anticipate. That info-tech will influence education is predetermined. How, and how fast, is uncertain. This scenario assumes that the evolution is very fast, and that information technology is the biggest story in the transformation of education over the next decade."

Scenario 4.) The Learning Society. Participatory (radical), Exclusive: "in this scenario the pieces come together. Technology moves faster than in the first two scenarios, making this a radical change scenario. But the technology serves the ideals of inclusive community by facilitating a more participatory process than in the last scenario. Technology is a tool, not a driver. It serves the interests of play as well as work. Technology is designed to enhance humanity rather than to make money. The marketplace is less central than public space. While every bit as ubiquitous as in Wired for Learning, technology fades into the background of the Learning Society. It is a servant, not hero." (GBN, 1995)

Global Village or Global Imperium?

Ziauddin Sardar, visiting Professor of Science Policy at Middlesex University, is one of the few prominent voices to strongly question the "propaganda" about cyberspace. He challenges the view that the Internet is a tool which brings freedom and empowerment. He strongly feels cyberspace's gain is humanity's loss. Sardar, who hails from Pakistan, is an internationally-known scholar, information scientist and futurist. He has worked for British science journals like "Nature" and "New Scientist", and was Consulting Editor of "Inquiry". The book he co-edited, "Cyberfutures: Culture and Politics on the Information Superhighway", had just been released by Pluto Press. An interview with him was placed on the World Wide Web at GOA NEWS <fred@goanews.ilbom.ernet.in>
Ziauddin Sardar answers some questions:

Q: This issue of seeing the Internet as modern-day colonialism, the equivalent of Columbus or Vasco da Gama. How would you explain the link?
Sardar : Once a new territory has been colonised, it is handed over to business interests to loot. And the worst elements of the West are posted there to administer and "civilise" the natives. In cyberspace, the first persons coming - and getting big - are pornographers, the paedophiles, the ultra-Right, the religious fanatic.
Q: Someone called it the Information Super-Hype-way, given all the hype. You see cyberspace as a tool to distract Western society from its meaninglessness of daily life. What potential, if any, does it have for the Third World. For countries like India and Pakistan?
Sardar: Frankly, the way Internet is developing at the moment, I don't see any. Only, our Third World elites will be online, talking to their counterparts in the First World. Thus making them even more alienated from society. At this moment there's hardly any input from the Indian side on the Internet. Even the news-groups of India and Pakistan and South East Asia, are ones actually based in the US. In India too few institutions are online. Supposing in 10 to 15 years all of India gets online, by that time it will not be possible to have any significant impact on the whole Internet world. So the system is designed to treat us exactly the way that colonialism treated the Third World.


From basic literacy and numeracy education to the pursuit of advanced college degrees, computer technology appears to hold the promise of providing educational opportunities for all those who previously have been prevented from participating in adult education by the constraints of place or time. Yet, despite the resources devoted by governments across the world to adapting computer technology for purposes of mass adult instruction, policy development in this area has not resolved contentious issues of access and equity. Existing divisions between educationally advantaged and disadvantaged groups within societies, and between the first and third worlds, are likely to be gravely exacerbated as technology advances. Children who are borne into homes where computer terminals are as familiar as TVs or telephones have an inbuilt advantage when competing as adolescents for entry to an increasingly computerised higher education system, or as adults for jobs along the information super highway. This is a good example of how policy related to adult education and training must be coordinated with policy for children and adolescents at earlier stages in the lifespan. Without the development of some universal computer literacy in schools - which itself requires children to have equal access to technological hardware and instruction irrespective of their class, ethnicity, gender or area of residence - there is a real danger of an informational underclass developing that parallels the economic underclass.

The future outcome will be largely determined by the expectations of those, in the population affected, whose aggregated individual decisions will shape that outcome.

The confusion and uncertainty, caused by so many revolutions coming along at the same time - from the 'IT Revolution' though 'Postmodernism' to the 'End of Ideology', have resulted in a great deal of pain. In Thomas Kuhn's famous words - from the field of science - a paradigm shift is under way. His concept encapsulates much of what is now happening around us. According to his observations, there is almost always a period of great uncertainty; as the defenders of the old world order, the old paradigm, dispute with those of the new.

The uncertainty is magnified in such periods of great change by the fact that it is not clear just what the new order, the new paradigm, might be. All that can be observed is that the old order is breaking down. We are currently in the middle of such paradigm shift; on a massive scale - across the whole of our lives. The pain which accompanies this is, therefore, understandable.

The electorates are already starting to move ahead of their governments. For their part, however, politicians of all parties - under immense pressure from a rapidly changing world - are increasingly showing signs of defensive 'groupthink'. They are clubbing together to reassure each other that their own, now largely artificial, world is more real than the disconcerting one outside. Corruption is endemic, not so much in terms of financial gains but in terms of desperate measures to retain power against the unwelcome changes which are sweeping that world outside. (MERCER, 1997)

The ultimate question is: Who will be the knowledge keepers?

The Internet is based on telecommunications, satellites and will (in the near future) be linked to pay TV, with close links to news services. Therefore who controls these media controls the Internet.

Peter White has a view of the future with which I wish to conclude:

"Power will come from the creation of transactional spaces and control over the transactions which occur in these spaces. My analysis points to a radical reworking of the political economy of the media and communication systems. This means that in an era of information, entertainment and channel abundance, where consumers are not constrained by the limited choices provided by the broadcast and cable media, transactional spaces will be the places where audiences, program and information service providers will meet. Transactional spaces will become the strategic battleground for control of future media and communications systems. I feel that this is where the democratic hopes for the Internet and the future of the media will either prosper or perish." (White, 1996, p40)

Appendix 1. History of the Internet.

HISTORY OF ARPANET, http://cs.swau.edu/~thomas/CSIS105/Internic.guide/Internic.html, http://gnn.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/History/ARPANET/

HISTORY OF THE INTERNET, http://wwwcn.cern.ch/pdp/ns/ben/TCPHIST.html, http://www.vir.com/Demo/tech/SterlingBrief.html, http://www.rsphere.com/catcoop/archivedocs/archive/beginguid/History_of_the_Internet.html

Appendix 2. Surveys and Statistics.

Appendix 3. The Virtual MA Thesis.

Eustace's Thesis Seminar was held as a public event as part of his supervision for the Master of Applied Science (research) by Dr Irfan Altas. His work revealed the outcome of the collaborative work achieved across the Internet, using the resources that he designed at AussieMOO, to write a conference paper entirely on a MOO. The published conference paper was the pinnacle of his work for the MA at Paideia.

The thesis seminar went for over one and a half hours and included a solid defence of his thesis in front of many academics and the general public, during question time. The conference paper was a final examination of his mastery in the MA.

The Charles Sturt University Thesis Seminar - July 4, 1995.

The ACEC95 Conference Paper - July 12, 1995.

Appendix 4. Learning Opportunities.


Paideia has been the world's first university without walls. As a university, it provides educational tuition and accreditation to those who enrol with it. Paideia is currently undergoing accreditation recognition processes with government boards of education in several countries. Because of such, it has an administration hierarchy similar to other universities. Being without walls means that there are no limits to its operation: it is available and accessible to all countries at all times. The concept of "without walls" implies a lack of buildings seen on traditional university campuses. This implication is not entirely correct as the Paideia campus is that of the entire world, and its buildings are those used by its participants. (Eustace, 1996)

How does Paideia conduct its classes?

To bring together participants from different parts of the world, Paideia harnesses the world-wide Internet of computers. Course materials are located on a World Wide Web site. Tutorials and workshops on course topics are held in a virtual classroom hosted on a computer running a MOO service. A MOO is a Multi-user, Object-Oriented program that can be programmed to imitate three dimensional space. When logged into the MOO, a person may project their personality, through conversation and actions, into a location programmed in the MOO, and form a virtual presence. In a traditional university, a student has a physical presence, formed not just by being physically present, but through their conversations and actions in front of others who are also present. By using the MOO, Paideia imitates a traditional university. Other course materials and correspondence are delivered by electronic mail. (Eustace, 1996)

GNA Globewide Network Academy

The GNA aspires to be a fully accredited online university and is establishing a community of educators and students from schools, colleges and universities, working together. No-one is paid, courses are free and the GNA will have a 'virtual board' of governors. GNA uses programmable MUD's and MOO's linked to WWW which has a document tree structure and access to a meta-library, to run courses. MUD (multi-user dungeon) and MOO (object oriented MUD) incorporate a virtual social reality for role-playing, simulation games. MUD's and MOO's create a programmable environment of socialising, communication and teaching! It is important to keep the MUD/MOO small, as the no. of players at one time is important.

How does the GNA operate using computer-guided distance education?

The GNA is developing teaching strategies and bootstrapping curricular documents using:

1.Collaborative design of hypertextbook courseware over WWW;

2.Hypertextbooks to be used to distribute class notes and collaborative texts;

3.Virtual library meta-indices;

4.Postgres database and a Plexus WWW server;

5.GNA personnel tracking over the Internet;

6.MOO's for interactive classes.

Previous students who complete a GNA course are asked to become online consultants to a new cohort of students. A virtual OOP/C++ course is one of the first complete courses available using self-paced exercises, a hypertextbook and online consultants MOOing with real-time office hours. WWW is used to archive material and LISTSERV discussion lists are used as a bulletin board...

http://uu-gna.mit.edu:8001/uu-gna/ and http://pass.wayne.edu/DU.html

Appendix 5. MZX205 - A Case Study Within the Project.

Sample conferencing messages:


Message 1

mcpops or keats (ID@student.open.ac.uk name, 21/2/1997 11:03

Hi, I had the same query which Mike (the MZX administrator kindly answered several threads ago).

I have included his answer here to save you the bother of looking back through the threads:

"Our mail system at the OU is run on a number of machines, each of which has a name which we use when logging on, transferring files or saying `pepper has crashed again'. These names are things like names of people, gods or poets.

However, the outside world refers to our machines by their purpose in life - so they talk to our news computer, our POP emailer and so on. These names are things like newshost and mcpops.

At the moment you are all registered to use a machine for POP email. To the outside world, this machine is known as mcpops.open.ac.uk, but the actual machine is called keats.open.ac.uk. Either name works. However, if in the future we changed keats to another machine (lets call it tennyson), we could continue to call the POP emailer mcpops, but not keats."

Good luck



Message 2

Idea: IRC (ID@student.open.ac.uk name, 21/2/1997 19:53)





For all those that are interested...And just to put another spanner in the works...

Myself and John name, will be setting up an IRC Channel where we can all speak (type!) to each other in real-time.

I have spoken to MZX-Admin, and they say that this should not be a problem for those that are using the OU servers.

Please note : This will NOT be supported by the MZX staff, they seem to have enough problems of their own at the moment !

The software we both use is mIRC 4.xx, which is freely available. If anyone would require a copy of this program, please E-Mail myself ( electronic address). You will most likely need the 16 bit version if you are running Netscape 2.xx as supplied by the OU. (If you are using a 32 bit WINSOCK, then see John for the 32 Bit mIRC).

If you have any problems please E-Mail either of us...

When (if ?), enough people join, will install a Password for entry.

For all of those who already have access to IRC, we have set the channel

up on <irc.demon.co.uk>.... This maybe accessed via other irc servers,

the above is the main server.

The channel will be called : MZX205. To join, type /join #MZX205

One of the benefits of IRC, is that you can actually talk/repsond in realtime, and transfer files, etc...(Albeit subject to a 3 second lag usually !!!)

Please note also...that since neither John or myself have a permanent connection, (lack of funds !), that the channel will not always be there...

Maybe we should hold it on certain days ? Any Suggestions ??

One final warning....It can become rather addictive, and may lead to a substantial increase in your phone bill :)

Good Luck...

Hope to see you there....

Chris name_________John name


Message 3

From: ZX-Tech-Support@open.ac.uk (MZX Administrator)

Subject: Mike's 30th Birthday!

Message-Id: <"/default/6"@cszx.open.ac.uk>

This is actually from the MZX Hacker

Some of you may wish to know that Tuesday February 25th is the 30 birthday of the person behind MZX Mission Kontrol (Mike answers the MZX telephone help line and the mail on ZX-Tech-Support@open.ac.uk ).

Happy 30th Mike!


Message 4

Message-Id: <33A05BB7.7DD9@tutor.open.ac.uk>

Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 21:27:35 +0100

From: name<ID@tutor.open.ac.uk>

Organization: Open University

To: all - 21 names

Subject: Collaborative tutorial proposal - and more

Tutorial on material in Block 3

The aim of the questions that I have set is to progressively develop a small piece of software that includes a menu and allows users to make choices from this menu in order to retrieve information or to update information held. That sounds fairly routine, and should do as this sort of software is common.

What I have in mind though is something less straightforward, as I propose to modularise the tasks so that, after starting together, individuals will take responsibility for separate elements of the problem. The solution to the whole problem then will be an amalgamation of the efforts of people working separately. This has worked before, once, and I'd like to see what you can make of it.

Whilst the content is of Block 3, I suspect that only the very first bit is definitely helpful to your work on TMA05. So, in the attached file, you will find a scenario and four tasks, (i) to (iv). I think (i) should take about 15 to 30 minutes (after you've read and understood the scenario), so I propose a deadline of 1800 GMT on Sunday. If by that time you have sent me, via e-mail, your solution to (i), I will take that as acceptance of your wish to take part in the later work. I will then assign tasks to people so as to complete Q1. I hope that sufficient of you respond so that I can assign teams, rather than individuals.

Deadlines will apply to the later parts of the project, but they won't be hard.

I hope your imagination is stimulated enough for you to take part in this collaborative venture, that perhaps only the electronic nature of our contact will have made possible.

I look forward to hearing from you by Sunday,


PS The attached file is a ZIPped Word7 document, so you will need your

WordView software to read it.


Appendix 6. Communities on the Internet.

Regional and City Community Networks

This collection contains a variety of successful examples; my criteria - each contains interesting

information useful to participants in or potential visitors to those communities.

Blacksburg Electronic Village http://www.bev.net/project/default.html

A prime example of community networking is the Blacksburg Electronic Village being done in partnership with Bell. For more insight follow links to individual home pages of members of this community.

CityNet http://www.city.net/

This collection connects to 856 cities online. Links are conducted through Virtual Tourist. http://wings.buffalo.edu/world/vt2. Selections are made from maps to locate these cities. Information for travellers, entertainment, business, government and community services are listed.

USA City Link http://www.neosoft.com/citylink

Provides information about cities in every state; tourist oriented but solid information of use to the residents of those communities.

Chicago Mosaic http://www.ci.chi.il.us

Opening with greetings from the Mayor, this project goes on to give information as it seeks to improve communication among citizens, groups and government agencies. Topics such as "How to Handle the Heat" and "Cooling Centres" are available as citizens battle the summer temperatures. There is a directory of services, visitor information centres are listed, community events are noted. In addition to visitor information centers, all city departments are connected - everything from "aging" to "zoning" is indexed. The police departments are featured. There is also more specialized information such as "How to License a home business".

StarNet Resource Directory http://www.azstarnet.com/public/resource.htm

This site represents Pima County, Tuscon and Southeastern Arizona. Individual subscribers have home pages, politicians and political parties are represented as well as businesses and community agencies and non-profit organizations.

Colorado OnLine http://www.csn.net/homepage/TOWNS.htm

An example of a state's organization of resources for its communities.

Eugene Free Community Network http://www.efn.org/

Eugene, Oregon's home page, a well-organized resource for this community.

VicNet http://www.vicnet.net.au/vicnet/COM.HTM

This community network for Melbourne and the state of Victoria in Australia is very well-developed. One large section is devoted to many entries for Community Information.

Chebucto Community Net http://www.cfn.cs.dal.ca

Winner of the Net 95 Canadian Internet Awards for best community site. This ambitious organization uses volunteers and donations to continue development. Subscribers have additional services. Users are encouraged to develop pages (ie: schools, churches, societies). Extensive links.

Community Networks: Resources



Regional and City Community Networks


Educational Communities


Virtual Communities


Cultural Communities


Cyberhoods and Digital Cafes

The following sites are part of a collaborative project:


"Community Unity or Alienation: what's in store for learners using the Internet in the 21st Century?



CHOMSKY, N. 1995, interview by RosieX and Chris Mountford for Geekgirl, Australia, http://www.worldmedia.com/archive/default.html, http://www.bluemarble.net/~mitch/iww/iwwbb/chomsky.html, & http://weber.u.washington.edu/~jamesher/cmchgqt.htm

EUSTACE, K. 1996, http://www.csu.edu.au/research/sda/Reports/webmoo.html & http://www.csu.edu.au/research/ispg/

GBN, 1995, "Education and Community: Four Scenarios for the Future of Public Education", Global Business Network, Emeryville, California http://www.gbn.org

ILLICH, I. 1970, Deschooling Society, Harper & Row, 1970 (p. 19) http://www.nonoise.com/rebecca/books/illich.html, http://www.sfc.keio.ac.jp/~s96305tk/deschool.html

JANSEN, T. and VAN DER VEEN, R. (1992) - Adult Education in the Light of the Risk Society in Reader 2.

JONASSEN, D., DAVIDSON, M., COLLINS, M., CAMPBELL, J., & HAAG, B. (1995) Constructivism and computer-mediated communication in distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26.

JONES, B. 1990, 'Technology and the Future of Work, Sleepers, Wake!', Oxford University Press

KIRKUP G. and JONES A. (1996) - New Technologies for Open Learning: the Superhighway to the Learning Society? in Reader 2.

KNOWLES, M. (1970) - Andragogy, in Reader 1.

McNAIR, S. (1996) - Learner autonomy in a changing world, in Reader 1.

MERCER, D.(1997) 'A General Hypothesis Of Aggregated Expectations',

MEYERS, C., & JONES, T. B. (1993). Promoting active learning in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Monks, Robert A.G. (former Reagan economist) and Nell Minow: "Power And Accountability" (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), pg. 24

MOORE, MICHAEL G. "The Death of Distance." pp.1-4. in American Journal of Distance Education 9, no. 3 (1995b)

RUTKOWSKI, T. (Statistics for the graphs): of General Magic at tony@genmagic.com

SCHANK, R. & CLEARY, C.1994-, Engines for Education, {a "hyper-book" accessed online}, The Institute for the Learning Sciences (ILS), http://www.ils.nwu.edu/~e_for_e/ (Northwestern University, USA)

SCOTT, P.(1993) - 'The Idea of the University in the 21st Century - A British Perspective', in Reader 2.

SPENDER, 1995, Nattering on the Net, Women, Power and Cyberspace, Spinifex Press.

STERLING, B. 1993, 'A Brief History of the Internet', THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION (F&SF), February 1993.

VAN DER ZEE, H. (1991) - The Learning Society in Reader 2.

WHITE, P. 1996, 'Transactional space - the new Internet battle' p.40 in The Australian (15th October).

Revisited: Sunday, January 02, 2011
Copyright © 1997-2011 Yannis Karaliotas

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