|by James L.
[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in
On the Horizon, 1997, 5(6), 2-3. It is posted here with permission
from Jossey Bass
This issue focuses on virtual education by examining two new institutions that are bellwethers
for higher education: the Western Governors University (WGU) and the California Virtual University.
Although there are now a number of virtual institutions, these particular universities,
representing major constituencies, signal a change in how colleges and universities may
conduct their work in the future: operating virtually and (in the case of WGU) granting
degrees based on competency rather than credit hours.
Not only have we departed from our
customary format for this issue, we also have inaugurated Horizon On-Line. A major
benefit of Microsofts sponsorship of our Web site is that we now have our own server
and use BackOffice and FrontPage as our software to continue the enhancement of the Web
site. This combination allows us to increase the utility of your subscription to On the
Horizon. For example, in the On
the Horizon section of the Web site, subscribers can download any article or any issue
of OTH that we have published, including the issue that is awaiting printing.
Thus if you are a relatively new subscriber, you have access to those issues published
prior to your subscription. Also, we have a search engine that enables you to search back
issues (and, in fact, for anything on the Horizon Web site) for topics in which you have
an interest. Since FrontPage contains a discussion forum option, we include a separate
discussion forum section for each issue, enabling subscribers to ask questions and to
participate in asynchronous discussion about any article in that issue.
Authors names are in
hypertext--by clicking on their names, you can review their credentials, including the
articles they have previously published in On the Horizon.
Authors e-mail addresses are linked to automatic mailers; click on the address of
an author and a dialogue box for your message to the author pops up. You can type your
message and send it to the author without leaving the Web site.
Moreover, you can enter a section
formerly reserved for board members, where you can review drafts submitted for publication
consideration. You can participate with editorial board members in making comments and
suggestions on articles. These comments are then available not only to authors, but also
for all to review and, if they wish, to add their responses and observations. We have been
using this function of the Web with the editorial board to enhance the quality and value
of articles that we publish. Now you have the opportunity to participate in the dialogue
that produces OTH articles.
Through Microsofts NetMeeting we
will sponsor synchronous chat rooms exclusively for subscribers. That is, we will announce
on the Web page and in print issues that on a certain date and time, particular authors
will be available to respond to questions about the topic of their articles.
We think that interaction between authors and users will be beneficial to both.
NetMeeting is free software available for downloading from Microsofts home page ( http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting) It
will allow participants to share and collaborate on information using a white board, chat
sessions, as well as live audio and video. In addition, participants will be able to
collaborate on Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents even if only one of the participants
actually has the application installed.
We will hold our first net meeting
January 1416. We will begin the discussion with a synchronous net meeting from 4
p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on January 14, followed by asynchronous conversation up
until 5 p.m. on January 16. Authors in this issue will be available for the synchronous
meeting and will check in at least three times per day for the asynchronous discussion. To
join us, follow the instructions in the boxed insert as to how you can participate in this
Finally, we have a section where we have
posted the results of a focus group that reviewed all articles in Volume Four. We have
included a discussion forum so that you can comment on this review. We would also
appreciate your comments about this particular issue, since it departs from our normal
format. As always, we want On the Horizon to be of value to you. Let us know how we