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PBS Adopts College Internet Course

March 15, 1998

NEWARK, Del. (AP) _ The Public Broadcasting System plans to offer a course on using the Internet that was developed by a University of Delaware professor to colleges and universities across the country.

``This class teaches life skills for the 21st century,″ said Fred Hofstetter, the University of Delaware instructional technology professor who created it. ``Being able to use the Internet really is a literacy.″

The university joined forces with PBS after Hofstetter met Will Philipp, senior director for PBS’ adult learning service, at a conference.

PBS is testing the course and hopes to officially offer it by the fall of 1998. Each college will pay a $500 licensing fee plus $20 per student. PBS and the university will split the proceeds.

It took Hofstetter 18 months to create the class. Seventy-five students took the first-ever class last fall, and another 75 are now enrolled.

Students learn how to surf the Net, create Web pages and do virtual research. They also learn about Internet ethics.

Although students never share the same classroom, they meet in newsgroups and chat rooms. They are graded on their participation and the quality of their e-mail.

``There’s more integration than in a traditional classroom,″ Hofstetter said.

Stan Cahill, senior director for marketing and business affairs at PBS, said the company’s most popular televised courses net a quarter-million dollars for each partner.

``We’re adding (the Internet-based course) as a complement to television-based courses. A large number of our students have access to the Internet,″ Cahill said.

Cahill said PBS plans to use the course as a blueprint for future Internet-based courses.

``This is as good a model as exists out there,″ he said. ``We’ve had nothing but good responses from people who have taken it.″

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