From Avatars of the Word: From Papyrus to Cyberspace by James J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania
"The real roles of the professor in an information-rich world will be not to provide information but to advise, guide, and encourage students wading through the deep waters of the information flood. Professors in this environment will thrive as mentors, tutors, backseat drivers, and coaches. They will use the best skills they have now to nudge, push, and sometimes pull students through the educationally crucial tasks of processing information: analysis, problem-solving, and synthesis of ideas....
The power of the World Wide Web is a tiny fraction of what networked information will bring. But a well-structured homepage can already be a place where the students finds everything from a course syllabus to an extended reading list to the handouts that used to litter the classroom floor after a lecture to sophisticated research archives. Such a resource can entice each student to go just so far as they can, and perhaps quite a bit farther than either student or teacher thought possible. Boundaries fall and blur, and the capacity of the curious is the only limit. When the professor is available online through email or real time conferencing (and no longer only when the door is open for limited and busy office hours), the electronic interface will sharply improve the personal dimension of education as well." (pp. 156-7)
From The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 1999)
Students Say They Check Courses' Web Pages Before Deciding to Enroll
By JEFFREY R. YOUNG
Some students say the best professors are the ones who bother to make Web pages for their courses. And a growing number of students use the quality of course Web pages as a deciding factor when picking classes.
Professors who go the extra mile to make useful course Web pages are often the same ones who "teach the classes that you want to take," said Jess Johnson, Jr., a sophomore in electrical engineering at the University of Virginia. He spoke during a panel discussion on student expectations for technology that was held last week in Washington by the Software and Information Industry Association.
The last thing a student wants, said Mr. Johnson, is a professor who "gives his spiel and walks out" -- without noticing whether students understand the material. At least for Mr. Johnson, a course Web site is an indicator that the professor will make other efforts to
connect with students.
"That little extra effort is what makes the quality there, and makes the difference," he said....
Not all students want to go on line to find course information, of course, and not all students have easy access to computers or the Internet. But college officials say the average student is familiar with technology and thinks professors should be too.
Said Sue Kamp, director of the education-market division of the software association, during the panel discussion: "They are coming in technology-literate and are expecting the university to be equally literate."