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Track 7 User-Centered Issues

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Panel: Web Site Accessibility: Issues and Answers

Web Site Accessibility: Issues and Answers

The Virtual University

The Virtualization of Universities: Improving the Quality of Academic Work - Paper 095

UNESCO Regional Center for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean Venezuela

This paper aims to contribute to the improvement of the quality of academic work by providing a better understanding of universities' presence and activities on the Internet. The study, which is part of a more extensive research project, is based on a survey of Web sites managed by universities worldwide. The survey was conducted by the author entirely on the Internet. Web sites of the Global University Web, the Commonwealth of Learning, Network Wizards (which provides data on Internet nodes by country), and the electronic database of the International Association of Universities were used as main sources of information. The main characteristics of the presence of universities on the Internet are analyzed. Qualitative aspects of university presence as well as functions and services offered by their Web sites according to the degree and type of interactivity between the Web site and the user are also examined. The paper then analyzes the development of virtual universities existing throughout the world, their functional characteristics, and services offered. These universities have been classified according to their degree of "virtualization" on a scale that ranges from partial virtual extensions of universities to totally virtual universities existing only on the Internet. The final section includes conclusions and suggestions to improve the quality of academic work through the virtualization

School of Internet: A University on the Internet - Paper 297

Keio University  Japan

The Internet provides the digital communication infrastructure for our society. This new infrastructure allows us to store, share, and exchange our intellectual resources in digital format anytime and anywhere. By fully utilizing this new infrastructure, we can achieve the new educational model for the university environment. In this paper, we set forth the goal of the new environment, analyze the activities in the traditional university, and propose the new model and design of the "University on the Internet (UoI)." We implemented a core set of components of the UoI based on the UoI design to demonstrate the feasibility of the design. Implemented components include (1) a lecture-on-demand system, (2) an assignment system to support collaborative learning, and (3) an Internet student course survey system. Using those components, we started the "School of the Internet" on the Internet in October 1997 as a prototype to prove the concept as a whole. In this paper we introduce the School of the Internet (SOI) experiments, evaluate the UoI design and concept through the experiments, and then discuss the direction the UoI will take in the future.

Testing a Virtual Campus Prototype - Paper 179

TÚlÚ-UniversitÚ   Canada

This paper presents a virtual campus delivery prototype case, tested in a real-life telelearning situation, with students disseminated across the state. The learning environment integrated 18 computer tools facilitating communication, information gathering, learning management, and navigation. It was supported through a heterogeneous network including ATM, ADSL, and modem cable, with the Internet Protocol. Last year, we tried a similar pedagogical scenario using an ISDN network.

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The Virtual Museum

Towards a Universal Theory of Convergence: Transcending the Technocentric View of the Multimedia Revolution - Paper 052

Niranjan RAJAH
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak  Malaysia

This paper attempts to excavate the rudiments of a history of "multimedia" and to identify the fundamentals of a general theory of convergence. It contextualizes the new multimedia technologies within a postmodern view of art, culture, philosophy and theology. Finally, with an emphasis on artists who use the Internet as a medium for their work, this paper discusses significant examples of multimedia (ISDN, Virtual Reality, Multi-user Domain,  Bio-electrical interactivity) art.

Bringing Museums to the Web: An Architecture for a Virtual Exhibition - Paper 111

Andreas KAMPA
Andreas WENDT
Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering   Germany

Burkhard ASMUSS
Wolfgang ROEHRIG
German Historical Museum  Germany

Haus der Geschichte of the Federal Republic of Germany  Germany

In a joint project with the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering, the German Historical Museum in Berlin and the Haus der Geschichte of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn are developing a virtual exhibition of German history for the Internet. This paper deals with the Internet technologies (Virtual Reality Modeling Language, HTML, streaming video, Web camera) and the architecture used in the LeMO project.

LeMO is a project of the DFN-Verein (Association for the Promotion of a German Research Network) with financial support from Deutsche Telekom Berkom GmbH.

Incorporating an Educational Model Into the Delivery of Museum Information - Paper 074

Sherwood A. DOWLING
National Museum of American Art  USA

As an information provider, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art (NMAA) has used the "virtual museum" as a model for development of online information presentation. The online version of the museum, therefore, reflects the physical counterpart -- exhibitions with a distinct point of view, attention to design, and user-friendly presentation. This paper introduces the museum's New Media Learning Environments project, NMAA's ongoing collaboration with K-12 educators, and the changes in museum presentation of online information that have been influenced by this interaction.

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Community and Civic Networks

Making Networked Communities Work - Paper 330


This paper attempts to clarify the characteristics and new social and organizational roles of what we call "network communities." We also explain how Internet applications are being used in network community activities. Then we propose a new technological issue which would greatly enhance these activities. We also present some of the activities of VCOM, a research project on voluntary communities based on the Internet.

Telematic Workshop: An Opportunity of Social Participation and Youth Entrepreneurship  - Paper 242

Germano PAINI
City of Collegno   Italy

Since February 1996, the City of Collegno has provided a permanent structure with adequate technological resources, open free of charge to all citizens who wish to use the information and communications resources currently available. The Workshop, which is equipped with 10 workstations constantly linked to telematic networks, is managed by 18 operators employed within the framework of a workshop for socially useful jobs (Article 14 of Law 451/94 and Article 1 of Decree Law 31/95) under the coordination and supervision of a consultant in the person of Dott. Germano Paini. This structure has fulfilled the following goals and constantly improves them:

1.To create an innovative pole of aggregation for young people, with the aim of reducing youth emargination and unemployment and to activate and stimulate knowledge and training resources, skills usable on the labor market, aimed at both the professional qualification of young persons and the requalification of workers facing the phenomena of work transformation. 2.To offer a training contribution to schools within the city and to experiment with new educational itineraries through multimedia documentation now available through the Internet (museums, art galleries, libraries, picture libraries, etc.), as well as carry out cultural exchanges with other schools, in order to create an instrument able to guarantee the city an animating role in cultural, training, and economic terms. 3.To encourage the setting up and consolidation of business enterprises by Workshop operators and to gain business experience through its future transformation into a company managed by the operators. On the basis of the economic, cultural, and technical resources acquired, the future company would guarantee an appropriate range of advanced services in the fields of research and development related to the problems of the "information society" and focus on the question of providing services mainly to small and medium-sized companies. 4.To lay the foundations of a City Network using telematic technologies between local government and the local economic community, by promoting efficiency and transparency in highly complex and high bureaucratized contexts and face-to-face discussions between citizens and the public administration, in order to plan and carry out methods of inter-exchange in terms of population's active participation in the choices made and initiatives taken by the local government.

Aspects of Diversity, Access and Community Networks - Paper 232

Fielding Institute  USA

This paper addresses the issue of access to community networks for diverse cultural and ethnic populations. It uses ethnographic research conducted at La Plaza TeleCommunity in Taos, New Mexico. The paper asserts that access issues are very different for the three dominant cultures in Taos and much of the Southwest: Hispanic, Pueblo Indian, and Anglo. It examines the Anglo-managed community network and the difficulty experienced in introducing e-mail and the Internet to Hispanics and Taos Pueblo Indians.

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Users: Tools and Lessons in How to Help

Building an Internet Environment for Elderly Users - Paper 377

Keio University  Japan

The number of elderly people is increasing rapidly in Japan. A large part of their communication is based on a few conventional types of media such as telephones and letters. The use of the Internet and computers, however, can enable communication that was difficult to conduct with previous communication tools. This new method of communication is thought to benefit the daily communication of the elderly.

In this paper, we have focused on the institution for the elderly and designed a computer environment within the institution. An experiment was conducted on the use of this environment by the actual implementation of a computer network within an institution. As a result of the experiment, we were able to observe the elderly's change of view toward computers. This communication environment placed in the institution proved to be effective: a number of elderly learned to operate the computer as well as obtain some skills. Many have also lost their fear of and resistance toward the computer.

Evaluations and Recommendations Towards a Generic User Support Toolkit  - Paper 151

Christine CAHOON
UNITE Discovery  United Kingdom

Today user support and education are more critical than ever. Appropriate channels are required to advise users on the efficient and responsible use of the Internet, and such methods are suitable for providing advice and support on a wide range of other topics also. There has not yet been any highly visible "public" consolidation of how to leverage network services for the provision of this support. The work described in this paper will result in clear guidelines for building scalable, effective, cost efficient, "connectable," widely accessible, easily managed, online support systems. Final recommendations will be based on the results of an international survey; members of the ETINU task force mailing list (representing input from over 35 different countries); and an evaluation panel of experts.

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Panel: Youth on the Net

Youth on the Net

Surfing the Tidal Wave - Paper 332

Attitude Nulture  Finland

Growing up and organizing productive location-independent work, free time, and private life on the Internet.
Learning from the global diffusion and giving yourself to it. Techniques for effective network use and the possibilities they offer. How to handle separate incoming and outgoing information flows effectively. A self-study of a 20-year-old who has been actively using and developing computer-mediated communication most of his life.

This paper introduces one young lifeline as an extreme example of how to get the most out of the networks and what kind of life they make possible. It is described how he first started to learn network dynamics on early systems, how Internet turned out to be a job and how, later on, work, free time and private life were separated into different interconnected entities. This organization of e-mail, WWW, and other Internet-service use to support different parts of life is covered in detail. Furthermore, the paper outlines how, during the last five years of Internet-accelerated life, he has been allowed to ride the tidal wave and move freely and independently between such areas as education, technology, arts and culture, business, communication, social issues, and even politics and to travel the world -- all around the Internet.

The case raises many questions. For example, is it wise to achieve location independence by becoming so Net-dependent? And is this kind of freedom possible because of his personality or is it something that the Internet boom made possible during the last years? Is it perhaps like a bubble that will break as the Net settles down and establishes everywhere?

Or, finally, might this be what the networked society on the whole is turning out to look like? After all, it is often said that these times require a variety of skills and just one profession is rarely enough. Also, working and studying in parallel are no exception anymore, at least on the Net business.

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Sensing the Net

Designing a Public Sensory Platform on the Net - Paper 386

Shin-ichi TAKEMURA
Tohoku University of Art and Design  Japan

Hiroyuki OHNO
Tokyo Institute of Technology   Japan

This paper describes the experimental World Wide Web project "Sensorium," which is an attempt to develop the potential of the Internet as new "doors of perception" and to focus on the concept of "Webness."

New media always imitates old (established) media in its infant stage. The fact that the Internet is merely a conveyer of "paperless mail" and "cyber advertisement" for the general user indicates its lack of identity. What is central to the Internet's uniqueness as a new sociocultural media? What sorts of new experiences are activated through the Net? What is viable only on the Web? These queries are the motive behind the "sensorium" project, originally conceived as the Japan Theme pavilion of IWE96 (Internet World Exposition), the first global expo on the Net, and recipient of the Golden Nica prize at the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria in 1997.

Sensorium is an experimental alternative Digital Museum designed to create a "public sensory platform on the Net." It is a new "forum" for sharing live experiences, such as the visualization of global seismic events and the circulation of our body cells, rather than the mere digitalization of existing knowledge and data found in textbooks and museums.

The project focuses on sensitivity towards the Internet itself as a living system. The more familiar we become with the new technological environment and its convenient output, the less conscious we are of the process and its mechanism; the once tangible and transparent Net becomes more abstract and foreign, a sort of "blackbox." Thus, rather than merely using the Internet and adding new pages to the already enormous Web catalogue, we are trying to "sense" concrete Net activity and make the Internet itself the content (subject) by, for example, monitoring the communications process of users and making it visual/audible on a real-time basis.

The points of our discussion are as follows:

"Sense-ware" -- Web contents as triggers of the new experience The concept of "Webness" and the sense of connectivity "Inter-Web" projects as public assets

Internet Olympics: The Internet's Role at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games - Paper 268

IBM Asia-Pacific Japan

Since the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, the Internet has been an integral medium for numerous Olympic and sports constituencies. The XVIII Olympic Winter Games were held in Nagano, Japan, February 7-22, 1998. Starting in 1997, the official games' Web site ( distributed timely results and a continuously updated flow of information about the competitors, events, and other related useful and interesting subjects. In accordance with the growing popularity of sports Web sites, this noncommercial site generated record traffic from a worldwide, multilingual audience. The Organizing Committee for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, Nagano 1998 (NAOC) owns the site; IBM, the official Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Nagano Olympic Winter Games, provided design services, content hosting, implementation, and management of the site's technology infrastructure. This paper is a case study of the official Web site as an alternative channel which provided the "Olympic experience" on the Internet and delivered multilingual (English, Japanese, and French) multimedia content to the online Olympic communities.

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