This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

July 4, 2001

The Web is Changing the College Experience

The World Wide Web has changed our lives in many ways: We can now find out information about most things, buy almost anything, pay for anything, and even watch our kids in daycare centers using the Internet. The Web also makes a profound difference to college students . . . of all ages.

Students considering attending a college or university can currently check out their prospects, as well as the ranking of the school on the Web. They can look at requirements, course offerings, ratings of professors, and housing options without opening a printed catalog or visiting the school. In fact, some schools no longer even publish their course catalogs on paper.

Then when it's time, they can complete their application, as well as apply for financial aid and scholarships online. Once chosen, some students can now register for courses, pay their tuition, take courses on the web, download materials to support their classroom and web learning, and even take tests on the Web. Most students regularly exchange e-mails with favorite professors, keep in touch with their student team members, and submit assignments in cyberspace.

So what's next? Those little cameras that we will all have mounted on our monitors will change the college experience forever. Students will have online opportunities to enjoy videoconferences with their professors, engage in internships, meet corporate recruiters, and graduate. Can you imagine attending a virtual class reunion? It's coming.

Our alma maters will even solicit us for donations and take our contributions without the use of telephones. What a nice experience that will be not to be disturbed during dinner by a pleading student asking for money!

The implications of "The Webcentric University," so called by Samuel L. Dunn, vice president for academic affairs and professor of business and mathematics at Northwest Nazarene University are tremendous for traditional students, but when we look at the advantages for the disabled, disadvantaged, and remote students, the whole picture becomes even more exciting.

By the year 2005, most colleges and universities will offer real-time and prerecorded courses on the Web, serving non-traditional students all over the world.


Comments from our readers:

    Roger & Joyce,
    I think that the web will eventually eliminate college as we know it today. All courses will be taken over the web (distance learning) at a variety of institutions around the world. When we think we have enough credits, we'll apply to some accreditation board for them to verify that we're an Industrial Engineer, or a Lawyer, or a Nurse. They'll eventually certify us.

    Think about what that does to the concept of alumnae. It disappears. Will college sports disappear, too? Young folks will have to seek the non-academic "college experience" some other way.

    Hold "on" tightly, this ride is going to be a lot of fun.

    Bill O.

    As always thanks for the Trend Alert. I always find it helpful. It is extremely relevant to my work in human resources, and I use it frequently as I teach a Bible study group. Thanks for what you do.

    Your introductory paragraph in this article reminded me of a story my daughter told a couple of years ago. She was finishing her studies to become a veterinarian and was beginning an internship with a "cutting edge" vet clinic in the Phoenix, AZ area. As she was taking an introductory tour of the facilities she saw video cameras in the cages (actually rooms with painting on the walls, etc.). It turns out that when your animal stays in their facility, you receive a password and can check on your dog or cat on the internet. Now there is instant access to check on your child, either human or animal!

    Again, thanks for what you do.

    Charlie Hawkins
    Manager, Placement
    Human Resources Department
    LifeWay Christian Resources
    Nashville, TN

    And you missed one more - based on our experience of parents of two college kids: not only can kids apply online to most schools, but most use all or part of the so-called "common application" which means that it's incredibly easy for kids to apply to an almost endless number of colleges - limited mostly by how many application fees their parents are willing to pay. There are serious implications of this for the admissions process because most colleges now receive way more applications than they ever used to, and good ones at that. So, there is this infernal and eternal cat-and-mouse game going on between kids and admissions offices to try to figure out who is serious about whom, etc. All I can say is that I'm glad we have one kid out of college and one already in; I'd hate to be dealing with this over the next 5 years or so, because it's going to be getting more complex.

    Gil Gordon
    Author
    Turn It Off


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