The Future of Web-based Learning


Northwestern's Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Technology Officer Morteza Rahimi says he expects web technology at the University to reflect changes in the larger culture."The future of web-based learning is going to be determined by the use of technology in society at large," Rahimi says.

Bob Taylor, director of Academic Technologies, maintains that the future will see extensions of the partnerships between professors and the developers in the division he heads.

Brian Dennis, assistant professor of computer science and journalism, has been part of an interdisciplinary teaching team that has worked closely with Academic Technologies in developing the Using Technology, Making History seminar. Dennis and his teaching partner, Carl Smith, Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies, have also partnered with the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Historical Society.

Dennis says such interinstitutional projects could eventually spill over to public use."[If you have] an archive of historical materials, it might be possible, with web technology, to make those original archival primary materials available to the wider public and see what they do with it."

Assistant University Librarian for Collection Management Jeffrey Garrett predicts that University Library will purchase an increasing percentage of digital materials. He adds, though, that the library will continue to acquire print materials from around the world, especially Africa, that are not likely to exist in any other medium.

"We are still a ways off from insisting that our community read novels or poetry on a computer screen," Garrett says."We still haven't completely emancipated ourselves and our community from the magic of the printed book and the library as a vast, Borgesian universe."

Garrett's projection assures Jacqueline Chmielnicki, a Medill School of Journalism junior from Wilmette, Ill."I need the book in front of me," Chmielnicki says."Hopefully, books won't go away." - J.K.L.



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