WWW as a seminar-environment

Timo Harmo - SocSci U of Helsinki (HARMO@valt.Helsinki.FI)
9 Jan 94 17:22:43 EET DST

I am writing a paper on the use of WWW (or in general : hypertext
and networks) as an environment for seminars in higher education.
What I have in mind is a hypertextual set of course-materials
and a forum for discussion between teachers/students/...
that could be used to support normal university seminars and
courses (I am not dreaming of a "virtual university").

Could you tell me if there are grave errors in the following claims
I am about to make in the paper:

* Currently some WWW-clients make it easy for the students to
comment any part of the materials presented on the Web by sending
private e-mail messages. Soon some servers will make it
possible also to make these comments and any discussion
also in public ("Post"-method).
(will clients also be able to take full advantage of this?
How will it be indicated to a user that there exist comments
to the document they are reading?
Will many clients/servers be able to handle posting?)

* WWW will allow for closed seminars by use of its authentication
and authorizations schemes.

* WWW will not be a "full-blown seminar system" for some
time, so other systems (e-mail, news or mailing-lists) will
be needed to supplement it.
-eg. I have not seen any discussion on easy-to-use mechanisms
(like newsrc) for checking out if there are new contributions.

* Running a seminar on the Web will require non-minimal
computer skills for some time to come.
(I am thinking of teachers who use just wordprocessors and
e-mail using PC's or Macintoshes -
or how do you do things like having received a comment in e-mail,
check out the text it was a comment on, and maybe add the
comment to the web via a link in the original document - or could
e-mail comments replaced by "private comments" that
are stored in the web but that only the author of the
commented text is authorized to see).

By the way, when will this seminar (www-talk) move to the Web?