Faculty Adventures in Cyberspace!
In this column we ask SPEA faculty members to describe their
relationship to the Internet, e-mail, and related gadgetry. This
month we go online with SPEA professor Edwardo Rhodes.
What are your favorite work-related Web sites and why do you like them?
I visit the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site every day (http://chronicle.com/). I read the highlights every morning as a way of keeping up on the latest in higher education. As a university administrator, I have no choice about staying up-to-date and the Chronicle’s electronic version is perfect for this. The site also provides excellent larger piece treatments of issues as varied as minority faculty hiring—or lack thereof—to freedom of academic expression as the rise of external controls increases.
Visited most days but not as regularly as the Chronicle of Higher Education site is the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com) electronic Web site, which has highlights from each daily paper. I find it an extremely useful source of public policy information and topical themes.
Where do you go on the Internet for fun?
Among my fun sites is http://www.pogo.com, a fun game site.
Pastry Wiz (http://www.pastrywiz.com/) is a fun site with lots of information on cakes, especially wedding cake design. Everything from useful recipes to construction information is available there.
Karen’s Kitchen (http://www.wrenscottage.com/kitchen/), which is part of Wren’s Cottage, is a good site for recipes for both cakes and other cooking needs.
How has your work life changed as a result of the Internet and e-mail?
Things are a great deal faster. Students and other correspondents have a greater expectation of fast turn-around in your replies, which was never the case with telephone or regular mail.
Also, levels of plagiarism have significantly increased due to the ease of lifting whole pieces of material from online sources. At the same time, due to “Turnitin” (http://www.turnitin.com), Google and other similar resources, and the Internet itself, it is also a lot easier to check for plagiarism.
Finally, more and more work is handled electronically and less and less by regular mail or telephone. I spend at least one to two hours each day in front of my computer screen.
Do you have any other gadgets such as a PDA or BlackBerry?
Really? That seems a bit surprising for someone always on the go.
The university has actually phased out its direct support for cell phone or BlackBerry devices so it’s not worth the trouble for me to have one.
How are you using the Internet to connect with your classes?
All my lectures, plus most readings and handouts for all my classes are placed on “Oncourse” (https://oncourse.iu.edu), which is a Web-based course information site. Each class has its own Oncourse site, which also includes class rosters, pictures, and a gradebook that can be individualized.
I also provide in all my classes appropriate Web sites that will have information relevant to the subject. For my policy courses, I actually require that the students subscribe to the New York Times electronic highlights Web site (it’s free). I cannot imagine doing my V160, Introduction to National and International Policy class, without that Web site.
What’s the one Web site, academic or not, that you can’t live without?
I really need the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site—too much is occurring in higher education administration and politics to depend on the slower forms of information.