Bits & Bytes
GOING TO COLLEGE ON A SILICON CAMPUS
Imagine a college course that never meets at a set time and is taught by a professor who never attends class. A college student's dream? It may actually be the shape of things to come on U.S. campuses.
For more than a year, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University has been testing computer networks as a way to offer flexible class schedules. A technical writing course taught by Associate Professor Virgil A. Cook, who happens to be blind, is one recent success. Engineering students send their assignments--technical reports, and mock business proposals, for instance--over a network to Cook's personal computer. It's equipped to read text to him and help him grade and send papers back to their authors. In place of class meetings, students post comments on an electronic bulletin board.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG