8 The Compass Friday, March 8, 1996
ECSU and the Internet: Mapping the future...
Learning about the Net: students
travel the information super highway
ECSU students Felica Bowser and Chanda Gayle learn to set up “web sites" on
the Internet in In Dr. Linda Hayden's Microcomputer Application class. At back
(left) is Darneiy Archer, who assists in the computer lab.
Photo by Jamie Jordan
by NaKeisha S. Sylver
How clearly has ECSU drawn the
map to the informational superhigh
way (the Internet) for its students?
The answer varies among students
and faculty and among ECSU's aca
demic departments. One thing that
most agree upon, however, is that
knowledge of the Internet benefits all
"The Internet is very beneficial to
our students because of the vast
amount of information students can
gain access to," said Derrick Wilkins,
manager of the Academic Computing
Center. "With this system, students
have access to libraries, research insti
tutions, governmental agencies and the
world at their finger tips."
Lolethia Underdue, a senior English/
news media major, agrees that learn
ing about the Internet is important.
"We need to become familiar with
the wave of the future—computer tech
nology," said Underdue. "That way,
once we enter the workplace we'll al
ready have knowledge of the informa
tion superhighway, which wiU make
us more marketable."
Underdue says that she learned ev
erything she knows about the Internet
from television, articles she read, and a
little hands-on experience.
"I didn't gain any knowledge from
the school," she said. "I wasn't even
aware imtil about a month ago that the
computer lab had access to the Inter
According to Wilkins, approximately
100 ECSU students currently have ac
cess to the Internet through Univer-
sity-provided E-mail accoimts. A stu
dent who wants to open an accovmt is
required to fiU out an application. Af
ter the application is reviewed, the stu
dent will receive an account, as long as
there is accoimt availability.
Wilkins says that the Academic Com
puting Center offers two training
courses per month for students with
new E-mail accounts.
Dr. Johnny L. Houston, a senior re
search professor in the Department of
Mathematics and Computer Science,
cites E-mail as one of the greatest ben
efits of the information superhighway.
"E-mail allows you in a qviick and
inexpensive way, to interact with any
of the other users of the Internet," said
Houston. "We're talking about instant
access in the least amoimt of time, and
at the least expense."
In addition to its instant benefits,
Houston says knowledge of the Inter
net is also important when preparing
to enter the work force.
"Most jobs require you to use this
skiU," said Houston. "In the market
place, it has become the state-of-the-
art. It is now used more than the tele
Though Houston said that he would
urge students in all majors to become
knowledgeable about the Internet,
some students feel that certain majors
have been in a better position than oth
ers to leam about and use this service.
Dovella Moore, a computer science
major from Washington, NC, says that,
while her major has helped to make
her "very familiar" with the Internet,
students in other majors may not have
the same advantage.
"We do papers and search for infor
mation with it (the Internet)," said
Moore. "People from other majors have
to leam about it on their own time."
Kelvin Black, an Applied Mathemat
ics major believes more could be done
to spread the word about the Internet
to students who don't have classes in
Lester Hall (the mathematics and com
puter science building).
"They have workshops (on the In
ternet), but I don't think they advertise
them enough. If you don't come over
here (Lester Hall) you probably won't
Word of Internet training on campus
didn't reach Ted Cherry, an Early Child
hood Education major. Cherry Scdd that
he is "not too familiar with the Inter
net," but that what he does know about
it, he learned from watching television,
or talking to his sister who majored in
computer science while in college.
"So many things have changed," said
Cherry. "There are so many advances.
It would be good for ECSU to set up
something that would teach the stu
dents all about it."
Cherry feels that lack of knowledge
about the Internet is causing his peers
to be apathetic about it.
"Students are not taking the Internet
as seriously as they should because
they haven't been taught about it,"
Training about the information su
perhighway should be done in con
junction with a student's course work,
says Michael Lytle, a senior English/
news media major.
"I think the Internet should be incor
porated into classes," Lytle said. "It
should be incorporated into everyday
lesson plans. This is supposed to be a
place of higher learning. It is supposed
to give us the skills we need for the job
Wilkins also sees a need for the In
ternet in the classroom.
"We have to look at different ways of
teaching," said Wilkins. "It's no longer
a textbook and chalkboard, but a world
of information which is available on
Though Wilkins says that the Uni
versity is "doing its part," by making a
"major investment in the infrastruc
ture and hardware" necessary to make
the Internet accessible, some students
feel that making a small investment in
advertising what is currently available
is also important.
"I think ECSU should advertise this
(Internet availability) more," said Lytle.
"When something that could help us
in the job market comes along, they
seem reluctant to let us know."
Underdue agrees that knowing
what's available is the first step toward
making good use of the Internet re
sources on campus.
"Since most students aren't aware
that it is here," said Underdue, "they
aren't aware of the possibilities that
are before them."
After a student becomes aware that
the Internet is available to him, how
ever, Wilkins feels that the student has
some responsibility for becoming fa
miliar with it.
"Those students who have taken the
initiative to explore the Internet will be
just as knowledgeable as anyone else,"
Moore too feels that, with experience,
ECSU students will be just as knowl
edgeable about the Internet and its uses
as students from other institutions.
"Because of the size of the school,"
says Moore, "computer science majors
from ECSU are probably going to be
more prepared than other students,
(from different schools) because they
get more hands-on training and
Moore says that for students who
have no knowledge of how or why the
Internet relates to their lives, she would
love to "sit down with them, and go
through a couple of searches and show
them how beneficial it is, no matter
what your major is."
Wilkins said that he would encour
age any student who has never used
the Internet to "get on board, or be left
"The Internet is changing the way
we communicate, work, and recreate,"
Wilkins says. "Don't be intimidated,
but leam to use this technology."