Web-Based Resources for Teaching

Web-Based Resources for Teaching

Lawrence A. Tomei (Robert Morris University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-824-6.ch009
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Whether the instructor prefers handouts, study guides, and workbooks or overheads, 35mm slides, and projected images, the fact remains that the Internet is much too valuable a resource to dismiss as a passing fad. Yet, if the Internet is to reach its full potential as a teaching and learning strategy, educators must come to know and understand not only how to find these resources but how to create them as well. Over the past 10 years since web browsers first became popular, a rivalry emerged among the leading competitors to become the single provider of web browsers in the industry. Mosaic, Netscape, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla/ Firefox, and others remain in an on-going battle for supremacy of the web browsing public. Unfortunately, users of the Internet often become victims as companies compete – and such is the case with browsers and authoring tools. In the beginning, browsers did not come bundled with authoring tools – there simply were no authoring tools. Developers were hostage to the html programming language and its string of tags, commands, and scripts. One of the first packages to offer WYSIWYG authoring was Netscape’s Composer followed closely by Internet Explorer’s Front Page. Composer was included free-of-charge by Netscape. Front Page began as a costly add-on, but was eventually packaged free along with its browser to chip away at Netscape’s dominance in the marketplace. Simultaneously, other vendors (Adobe’s Dreamweaver being the most prominent) were delivering their own proprietary products for designing web pages at a considerable cost to the user.
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Background Of The Internet

The Internet is organized as a complex network of interconnected computers. Every host computer and every file contained on those machines constitutes a vast and unprecedented archive of materials. Every website, whether containing commercial, educational, or governmental information, is part of this collection. The history of the Internet can be considered from three different perspectives: content, organization, and technologies.

Content. From a content perspective, print media has dominated the Internet since its earliest inception. Traditional print materials remain overwhelmingly popular and are, by far, the media of choice for educational applications. Much of the material that was once available only in hard copy can now be viewed with the click of a mouse. The internet has been called the largest unmediated forum for information of publicly distributed resources in the history of the world. Much of the print material on the web is new. Other resources have been retrofitted, embedded with state-of-the-art hypertext and multimedia.

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