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Topic: On PBS, a Look aNetMath
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Jerry Uhl

Posts: 1,267
Registered: 12/3/04
On PBS, a Look aNetMath
Posted: Sep 11, 1998 8:13 PM
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This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education is about the upcoming
national PBS program net.Learning which will appear on PBS stations in Sept
or October (Check local listings).

Seventeen minutes of this program are devoted to Calculus&Mathematica and
NetMath internet distance education for high school students who need math
they can't get at their schools and for working engineers who need to brush
up on some math before returning to school.

Some scenes were shot right in the Illinois Calculus&Mathematica lab.

If you want to get a goood idea of how we do Calculus&Mathematica via
internet or on campus take a look at this excellent program

>Thursday, September 10, 1998
>On PBS, a Look at How Technology Is Changing Higher Education
>A new Public Broadcasting Service documentary offers audiences a glimpse of
>how technology is changing higher education.
>The two-hour program, "net.LEARNING," doesn't include much that would
>surprise the average professor or university administrator, but it does
>touch on a wide range of complex issues.
>Rather than simply stringing together interviews with professors and
>administrators, the program's creators focus on the stories of professors
>who have used technology in physical and virtual classrooms, and the
>students who have benefited from their efforts.
>Among the people followed by the program are a single mother in Arizona who
>struggles to finish her education by taking courses over the Internet; a
>professor in California who says technology improves her teaching but keeps
>her up late every night;

two Illinois high-school students who take a
>university calculus course on line because their school doesn't teach the

[THAT"S NETMATH AND C&M!] and an Iowa farmer who takes videotaped courses
to finish his
>college degree.
>Inevitably, though, such a program is short on drama. Like many a student,
>viewers watch as professors slowly hook up laptops to overhead projectors,
>page through scholarly resources on the World-Wide Web, and ask their
>students for help with even basic software.
>Some of the most colorful moments are provided by technology's critics, who
>describe colleges' reliance upon it in biting terms.
>Neil M. Postman, a professor of media ecology at New York University, is
>among those critics. "I should think people would weep, not be
>cheerleaders" for technology in education, he says. "New technologies are
>always oversold," he adds. "Especially educators are the ones who are most
>vulnerable to being influenced by the hype."
>The program does get at current issues. Starr Roxanne Hiltz, a professor
>of computer science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology who has been
>a champion of on-line education, says in the program that she is worried
>that new, for-profit ventures that rely on technology to deliver courses
>might put traditional universities out of business. "I feel sort of like
>an unintentional ax murderer of colleges," she says. "There is a sort of a
>horrifying thought that this whole thing could turn into the franchise
>business of higher education."
>Even so, much of the story focuses on the benefits of technology, and the
>program's narrative closes on an upbeat note: "To make the university truly
>universal -- that is the potential of Net learning."
>"Net.LEARNING" was produced by South Carolina Educational Television, with
>money from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Public television stations
>across the country are broadcasting the program this month as a two-part
>series. The PBS Web site links to schedules for most local affiliates.
>Public television is also working with MSNBC to conduct an on-line survey
>about distance education, but visitors must download special software
>before they can use the site.
>Copyright =A9 1998 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
>The PBS website is at:
>The MSNBC website is at:
>Note that as of right now, with 997 respondents, the MSNBC website has:
>1. Whose views do you find yourself closer to?
>21% Neil Postman, who notes that radio and television were also touted as
>teaching tools but failed to live up to expectations.
>79% Burks Oakley, who sees online education as offering "asynchronous"
>learning that takes place anywhere, any time by any one.

Jerry Uhl
Professor of Mathematics 1409 West Green Street
University of Illinois Urbana,Illinois 61801
Matrices, Geometry&Mathematica Development Team

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
-----Albert Einstein

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