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Professors to go on-line

From University Journal
August 31, 1995

By Ed Hardy

Jorg Liebeherr is just one example of the University professors who are hard at work trying to take advantage of advances in communications technology and successfully apply them to teaching.

Liebeherr has not revolutionized the classroom, but he has at least worked to bring one old tradition up to date; faculty office hours.

Liebeherr, an assistant professor of computer science, has set up a system that will allow professors to hold on-line office hours. Instead of dropping by the professor's office, students will be able to ask questions of the professor from one of the special terminals available around Grounds.

"The system will allow a professor to field questions from many students at once," Liebeherr said. "It will also allow the instructor access to various resources that he will be able to present to the student on-screen."

hookups so that the students will also be able to see and hear the professor.

"I don't believe that it will totally replace in-person visits, but it will certainly serve as a useful, new resource," Liebeherr said.

This fall the system will be tested using only a few terminals in various dorms. Liebeherr and a few professors in the English department will be the only ones using the system although, Liebeherr said, "I anticipate that we will be expanding the system rapidly once any bugs there may be are worked out."

"I think it would be a great help for students," Arvind Viswanathan, a graduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. "It would be much more convenient than having to hunt down a professor to ask one question."

"Liebeherr is also working on other ideas that will bring the classroom into the 21st century. One concept that he hopes to introduce to the University soon is his Grounds-Wide Teletutoring System.

"I plan to videotape some of my lectures and make them available through digitalization and the Internet," Liebeherr said.

"I think in a few years we will be taking classes without actually ever entering the classroom," he said.



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