For The Professor

Since you clicked on the link to this page, we can assume that one of the following three things is true:

  1. You are a student, and you want to find out what professors think about this "web-based course" business.
  2. You are a professor, and you want to find out what students think about this "web-based course" business.
  3. You are looking for naked pictures of Britney Spears, and are horribly lost.

We will assume that you fall into the second category. After all, you are looking at the "Student's manual for web-based courses," so we figured we ought to give you your own section. We don't want you to feel left out.

You may be a starry-eyed idealist who believes that web-based courses will revitalize the field of teaching. Test scores and student participation will skyrocket. Students will never fall asleep in your class again.

Keep dreaming.

Time and time again we see that teaching is an art, and the professor's enthusiasm and talent will make or break the quality of the course for students. And there will always be slackers, and they will always have lame excuses. And even the best students will pull all-nighters for a different class and nod off through yours.

Let's face it: if passive learning worked, we wouldn't need professors. You could assign a textbook, some papers, a midterm, and a final, and your job would be done. To date, web-based courses haven't done a whole lot for the curriculum besides save the expense of buying a textbook. The information is presented mainly in a passive, 2-dimensional format, just like a textbook. True, there are some advantages, like an easily-modified syllabus and online tests, which can make grading easier. However, the use of the web does not provide an adequate substitute for teaching.

That's really our message to you. The web is a learning tool. It can be a teaching tool, too, and there are plenty of computer-based training programs out there. But if you're a professor, we can only assume that you feel some obligation to teach. After all, that's part of the prestige of a degree from a four-year college it's not a correspondence school. We can assume that students benefit from being in the presence of an expert in the field, so be there as a resource. Help us out.

And don't pick on us if we fall asleep in class every now and then, okay?

Copyright 2000, Web Manual Group