Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 1999
IN THIS ISSUE
Guide cites U.Va., Casteen for leadership and character development efforts
History will judge Clinton harshly, Woodward tells Miller Center crowd

Cancer Center fosters world-class research and clinical care

Slingluff team developing melanoma vaccine
The Academical Village in the Internet Age
What's in the water in Charlottesville?
Internet, the media and politics
In Memoriam
Correction
Thanksgiving staples: warm food, warmer memories
Hot Links - Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Conference maps spread of nuclear weapons technology
Artisans Bazaar set for Dec. 3-5
TOP NEWS
John T. Casteen III
Jim Carpenter
President John T. Casteen III (at podium) thanked the alumni, students and faculty who participated in the conference, and said he agreed with Bert Ellis about having another e-summit.

The Academical Village in the Internet Age

Did you miss the e-summit? Check out the web site for viewing videos.

By Anne Bromley

Despite pressing questions from moderator Ed Ayers and the audience, no one on the panel of the e-summit's final session worried that Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village, as a physical place, would become obsolete and be replaced by Internet-based instruction.

Session II participants (clockwise)

Peter E. Brownfeld, fourth-year student in Arts & Sciences William A. Wulf, AT&T Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, on leave to serve as president of the National Academy of Engineering
John M. Unsworth, director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and associate professor of English
U. Bertram Ellis Jr. (Col '75, Darden '79), chair and CEO of iXL Enterprises Panel moderator: Edward L. Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History
Mark B. Templeton (Darden '78), president and CEO of Citrix Systems Inc.
Jeffrey D. Nuechterlein (Col '79, Law '86) managing director of the National Gypsum Company, a major financial backer of Internet ventures
R. Jahan Ramazani (Col '81), English professor
Brandi S. Hughes, third-year student in Arts & Sciences

Still, universities need to be part of the sea change that's occurring due to technological advances, they agreed, and a virtual Academical Village needn't have serpentine or any other kind of walls.

The alumni panelists, who are succeeding in the Internet industry, stressed that students need to understand technology and how to use it to be prepared for what hasn't even been imagined yet.

They'll still be able to add their imaginations to that future with a liberal arts education from U.Va. that teaches them how to think creatively and write persuasively and concisely.

"Everything I do is affected by the way this University treated me," said Ellis, referring specifically to what he learned from living with the Honor System. Because of it, he said his relationships with partners, employees and investors are based on trust -- unless something happens to give him reason to think otherwise. He lso urged students to participate in self-governance through the many organizations on Grounds.

No matter how much technology changes the University or anything else in life, "there's no substitute at the end of the day to getting people together in the same room," Ellis said, adding he can't convey his style of leadership through a computer. "We need to get to know each other."

"This is music to my ears,"exclaimed English professor Jahan Ramazani, who called for the use of technology balanced with what the University does well -- teaching students in small-group settings and face-to-face encounters. We shouldn't forget the virtue of pondering things such as a work of art or a home, he said.

"The [University's] physical space has an extraordinary affect on people," he said.

Ellis and Jeff Nuechterlein agreed, saying the Academical Village as a learning environment, as Jefferson intended it, should be extended more to lifelong learners, especially alumni. "I'd love to come back here to take a course, and so would my father," Ellis said.

Mark Templeton said that students should have more opportunities to take risks in their courses, which encourages creativity. He advocated using the case method, as Darden and a few other schools do, in all disciplines to have students analyze real problems and come up with original solutions that they have to present before a jury. "Teach creativity first, then applications," he said.

Students need to learn not just how to use technology, but because specific parts of hardware and software become obsolete so fast, they need to understand what it can do and how it's transforming our lives, said Bill Wulf.

Incorporating technology, however, should be a given, the panelists said. Distance learning could bring more to U.Va. students on Grounds, as well as broadcasting U.Va. courses to students at other locations. Professionals, such as entrepreneurs and lawyers, could teach without leaving the office through distance learning, suggested Nuechterlein. Ramazani and others also agreed that some courses, especially with great lecturers, should be offered online. And every course should have a Web page to get basic information. "When you put course materials on the Web, you have many more readers than just the students in the class. It's good outreach," said John Unsworth, adding that mentoring could also be extended via e-mail.

One current drawback is adding another layer of learning to what's already required in class. Although both student panelists, Brandi Hughes and Peter Brownfeld, are involved in Web-based research, they mentioned that it's difficult to find enough time to do in-depth research and learn the computing necessary to put it on the Web. Templeton said that should get easier as the software is redesigned. "Please don't waste your time learning html!" he said.

The biggest change universities need to make now, according to Wulf, is breaking down barriers between engineering and the humanities. "What is it that identifies humans? The use of tools. For that reason, perhaps engineering is the most human of studies. ... Maybe we should teach engineering as a liberal art, and maybe a piece of every literate person's experience should be to create a useful artifact that improves life, including something as important as communication," he said.

Money for resources shouldn't be a problem, the alumni panelists said, if the University continues to develop ongoing relationships with, and communicates a clear vision to, its supporters -- especially alumni like them. There may be hard choices to make, however, in determining priorities and leveraging resources. The panelists agreed that when it comes to technology, the "haves" should help the "have-nots."

"It's a privilege to live in connected times, and this brings an opportunity and an obligation," said Casteen. Restoring and exploring knowledge are two important missions of higher education that technology is enhancing in phenomenal ways that should enable everyone to become part of the global community. "We also live in more democratic times," he said. "More people 'own' this culture, if you will." Increasing and improving access to the Internet will be an important academic focus of the next 50 to 100 years, he predicted.

Teaching & learning

Entrepreneurship and wealth creation

Creativity, art and entertainment

Legal and regulatory issues

 


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