ClassWeb allows

Since its debut in the College of Liberal Arts more than a year ago, ClassWeb, an Internet program allowing students to find course information and interact with one another, has expanded slightly.
This quarter 2,740 CLA classes are using the system, said Joel Mueller, senior developer at Creative Internet Solutions, a Minneapolis company that built ClassWeb.
In Spring 1998 — the first quarter ClassWeb was offered in CLA — 2,370 classes used the program.
The College of Education and Human Development began offering ClassWeb in fall 1998, with 440 classes on the system. This quarter, 305 classes from this college use ClassWeb.
Susan Tennery, an English composition lecturer, used ClassWeb for two quarters in her Writing for the Social Sciences and Writing for the Health Sciences classes.
Tennery uses ClassWeb to post class information such as syllabi and assignments. But she said ClassWeb’s greatest strength is its interactivity.
“It’s a good place for students to practice informal writing,” Tennery said. “With this they have an actual audience.”
But Tennery is worried about the ethics of requiring her students to use ClassWeb.
“Since some people might not have access, should I be using it?” Tennery asks. “I can’t require people to have technology they can’t afford.”
A basic computer system available through the University Computer Store would cost about $1,000, said Dan Engh, a senior office assistant.
Tennery says her students have also had a mixed reaction to the system, partially because of recurrent system problems.
“Technical support needs to be better,” Tennery said. “Sometimes people lose information when they go to post. Other times they can’t log in.”
The ClassWeb helpline could not be reached for comment, but Mueller said the system was recently upgraded to a more powerful database.
Although ClassWeb uses directory information to provide student profiles, Tennery says this allows students to avoid being pressured to give out telephone numbers in the classroom.
Mueller says the University is planning on expanding ClassWeb to the other colleges and adding additional features.