46. Introduction to the Internet
(Evaluation of the RBS 1994 version of this course)
A practical introduction to accessing and navigating the
Internet. Topics include: options for connecting to the Net, and
ways and means for doing so; introduction to the global range of
on-line resources available (e-mail, information servers, library
catalogs); techniques for finding what you need; a look at what
coming in the near future. Familiarity with basic computer skills
such as word-processing is expected, but it is assumed that
applicants will be persons (eg antiquarian booksellers,
scholars, or librarians at institutions not yet supporting
usage) who have no previous experience with electronic
- I. How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Useful, but not necessary as the course was
introductory. 2: Fine. 3: Reading one of the
Internet manuals was helpful, if confusing at the time.
the course, the manual is amazingly clear. 4: Didn't
discover the reading list until the night before I left --
mixed up with other RBS materials -- my fault, really. In
retrospect, I could've prepared myself better beforehand.
Perhaps a handout or two with standard emacs and file
commands would be useful, for overview and for reference as
needed. 5: I found them both useful and interesting.
They approached a very large subject from a variety of
perspectives, thus offering a broad understanding of the
potential uses and the significance of networked
6: Useful as background information.
- II. Was your faculty member well-prepared to teach THIS
1: Very well prepared, extremely knowledgeable, a
delight. 2: How about over-prepared! 3:
Absolutely! 4: Definitely -- most impressive
expertise. I can't imagine anyone more caring, cheerful, and
energetic. 5: Absolutely yes! I can't imagine anyone
who would be better prepared. 6: Very!
III. Was the intellectual level of the course content
1: Yes. 2: Yes, DS never spoke down to us and
boy -- did we ask some stupid questions! 3: Yes. He
started from where we were (ie, nowhere) and patiently moved
us along. The pace was such that the course was challenging
but not overwhelming. 4: Yes -- but for a person
basic word processing skills and considerable familiarity
computers, it could've been very daunting. My tongue hung
and my head swam at times anyway. The printed reviews of the
previous day's work/concepts/acronyms/computer commands were
most welcome. 5: Yes -- I liked the mix of
pragmatic ``how to'' kinds of information along with the
deeper analyses of ``why'' and the consideration of broader
issues (such as the way e-texts may reshape the idea of the
book, the intellectual property problems they raise, etc.).
- IV. If your course had field trips, were they
1: N/A. 2: We went to the e-text center and it
was well worth our while. 3: N/A. 4: Yes --
Electronic Text Center was extremely impressive, through the
cramped space would've been a real problem for a larger
I don't see how 10 or 12 of us could've gotten in there,
especially with the staff working. Maybe do a night session
midweek and just give an overview -- or else stay in the
Lab. 5: Our field trips to the Electronic Text Center
were worthwhile and interesting, I felt, and also provided a
nice change of scenery.
- V. Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS
brochure description and Expanded Course Description? Did the
course in general meet your expectations?
1: I no longer remember the brochure description, but
the course was everything I desired it to be, and more. The
discussions of electronic texts and SGML were a bonus.
2: Yes. Yes. The course really exceeded my
because I really only came to learn the Internet. I am
with a much wider knowledge of what can be accomplished on
Net. 3: Yes. I had thought we would learn how to do
e-mail, mailing lists, and bulletin boards. Little did I realize
we would get into creating hypertext and scanning images
documents! While I won't be able to use these techniques
away, it helped clarify some choices I must soon make in my
work so as to keep certain possibilities open for the more
distant future. 4: Yes & Yes -- we
fact, well beyond what I expected, and my
were quite high coming in. 5: Yes, I think so.
it focused on electronic text creation a bit more than I
have guessed. 6: Yes and yes, I guess (would like to
check, but don't have a copy).
- VI. What did you like best about the course?
1: The opportunity to sit at a pc and practice what
had learned. The instructor's expertise, enthusiasm, and
teaching skills!! 2: DS's enthusiasm for the subject
wonderful. He is a fine teacher. 3: The instructor
his central role on the cutting edge. 4: Exposure to
the vast array of world wide resources, with much hands-on
activity. DS's enthusiasm was infectious, and I often felt like
a child turned loose in Toys ``R'' Us with pockets full of
$100 bills. I was overwhelmed -- in the best sense -- by the
Internet's possibilities that I learned of this week. I go
home reluctantly, but with a head spinning with
5: I particularly liked the learn-by-doing approach
actually putting instruction to practice at the terminal,
the instructor's patient willingness to walk individual
students through procedures and to address their particular
concerns. I also liked the measure of independence students
had in choosing their own lists to subscribe to, in sending
and receiving their own e-mail, etc. And, needless to say,
caliber of instruction was absolutely first-rate. 6:
The instructor, DS. He did a great job! He was most
in conveying to us not just how to do it, but what was
happening -- and why -- on our computers. He was most
Electronic Text Center information and demonstrations was an
VII. How could the course have been improved?
1: We could have moved at a faster pace. I think
Internet hunting exercise homework would have helped. We
could have discussed search strategies the following day.
2: I can't imagine. It was excellent as it was.
3: I wouldn't mind practicing for a couple more days,
but I can't think of anything I would have wanted omitted to
make more room within the week. 4: I found the group
work the last day to be a valuable way to reinforce and
our learning. By Tuesday or no later than Wednesday, I think
such electronic scavenger hunts (on a scheduled basis) would
be both fun and productive -- the best sort of collaborative
learning, so easy you don't realize how much reinforcement
you're getting from your fellow students. 5: The
was wonderfully planned and taught as it was, but I
personally -- being slow to learn and inexperienced with
networking -- could probably have used more exercises and drills
basics. Perhaps some homework assignments, either mandatory
optional, that enabled one to identify what one hadn't fully
grasped, might have been helpful. 6: I didn't find
overhead projector very effective, even with the lights out.
DS should speak a bit louder.
VIII. Any final thoughts?
1: Basic familiarity with computers helps a lot.
Students preferably should know some basic DOS commands, how to
operate a mouse, etc. Final thought: the course was worth
every cent. 2: I would have been on the Internet
I came. Then I could bring very specific problems, etc. [If
you had been on the Internet before you came then you
have got into the course: cf course description, above. -
Ed.] 3: Stay on The Lawn. 4: 1) I would
recommend a statement in the initial course announcement to
help screen out anyone with insufficient computer skills --
was no problem with our group, but someone who was
much of a novice would/could end up quite frustrated
when he or she fell way behind the learning curve. The pace
was pretty breakneck at times. 2) I would've liked to have
perhaps a half hour each day in class time to cruise the
Internet on my own, learning what I could, but with DS there to
bail me out if I got lost or hung up half way 'round the
world. 3) The equipment discussion Wednesday morning was
valuable -- it should be a scheduled part of the course.
5: Keep offering the course! 6: Although I
enjoyed the course and enjoy coming to RBS, I wonder if I
couldn't have gotten what I need to function as a small OP
dealer at home, with local help and books and manuals, etc.
Anyway, I had a good time.
Number of respondents: 6
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
50% 67% 50% 50%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
0% 33% 50% 50%
N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- employed, with friends nearby
tired, or had retired, or or lived at
summers off exchange home
50% 0% 0% 0%
There were six students; each (17%) was an archivist/manuscripts
librarian, an editor, a general librarian with unspecified rare
book duties, retired, a teacher/professor, or had a non-
professionally-related interest in the subject.