Volume 94, Issue 68

Wednesday, January 24, 2001


Duke prof first to offer course over Internet

Student questions Housing decision

Ivey ranked best for value

Friends mourn slain prof

Tories want to privatize drivers' license testing


Planet Me

Duke prof first to offer course over Internet

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

With the recent initiation of the world's first on-line classroom, academia has gone electronic.

On Monday, Campbell Harvey, a professor in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in North Carolina, became the first professor ever to teach an on-line credit course over the World Wide Web.

"Duke is a leader in the blending of education and technology," said Toronto-born Harvey. "This is the future of education. This university recognized the traditional model of education is going to be challenged."

Harvey, said the course is one of several niche courses offered in Duke's second year master's of business administration curriculum, entitled Global Asset Allocation and Stock Selection.

The course will be a combination of bricks and mortar, Harvey said, noting the course does not consist of 100 per cent on-line teaching. He said students will meet for intense week-long working sessions, which will be interspersed with approximately six week-long on-line classroom sessions.

He said Fuqua has waived admission requirements, so local and international professionals, as well as students at other business schools can take part in the academic on-line venture.

"We're the first in the world," he noted. "But it's a logical step for me."

Harvey stressed the course is not part of a degree program, noting the Webcast only teaches one elective course. "It allows people who wouldn't consider enrolling for a degree to gain a little bit of knowledge."

Henry Jacek, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association, said he does not think on-line education will ever become popular. "I'm a bit skeptical that there will be a growth on this type of thing," he said. "It is no substitute for being on campus and interacting with faculty, other students, and teaching assistants. It comes down to what people want from their university experience."

"It's a mistake to think that technology will replace the professor and student relationship," Harvey said. "But there are certain things which are more efficient to deliver through technology."

He said he foresees on-line education providing an opportunity to deliver rare, niche courses such as his own, to a much broader academic audience.

"We pioneered the 'place and space' model that blends classroom teaching with Internet-enabled learning, and this is an innovative extension of that model," said Fuqua dean, Rex Adams.

"We will carefully watch the results of this step forward to see if it would be applicable to other schools at Duke," said Duke Provost, Peter Lange.

David Spencer, a professor in media information technology at Western, said on-line classrooms raise numerous questions such as ownership of intellectual property, professor job security and poor student/professor interaction.

Live Webcasts of the course, which will feature 12 two hour and fifteen minute class sessions, began on Jan. 22, and will be broadcast every Monday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m., Harvey said, adding the cost of the course is $1,000 for non-Duke students and $500 for Duke alumni.

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