Time to catch up on the Web;Publications;Books

13th March 1998 at 00:00
BUILDING A WEB-BASED EDUCATION SYSTEM. Colin McCormack and David Jones. Wiley, pound;39.95 from any bookshop.

Few would argue that the World Wide Web is set to play a significant role in educational delivery. If it isn't, the Government is making a huge mistake with its National Grid for Learning and Virtual Teacher Centre. However, the reality is that little use is actually being made of the potential of the Web at the moment. The authors identify three reasons why the rhetoric does not match the reality: lack of knowledge, reluctance of individuals to adopt new methods, lack of resources and, particularly, time.

Consequently the book takes a practical approach to addressing these issues. Unlike most books on the use of the Web the knowledge here is technical and educational, well-presented and carefully explained. However, the authors, both lecturers, have ensured that educational considerations form the starting point, the book being presented as a project which requires analysis and design stages involving reflection by the reader on appropriate methods and pedagogy.

Indeed it is the questions asked by the authors in the early part of the book, combined with the examination of the capabilities of the Web, which deal with the issue of "reluctance" mentioned earlier. By providing a context for the use of the technology, and relating it to educational purpose, the book challenges the sceptic.

The lack of resources and time is addressed by the accompanying CD-Rom which contains all the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) code for the classroom models covered in the book, plus additional information, for Unix, PC, and Macintosh platforms, and provides a resource that enables readers to make progress on their projects by reducing the number of wheels they need to invent.

Just as the CD-Rom forms a backup for the book, the Web site at www.wiley.comcompbooksmccormack provides a backup for the CD with the latest versions of the software and a forum for feedback on its usefulness. The book is essential reading for anyone needing practical advice and guidance to use the Web for educational purposes.

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