Part Three Contents
A. Online syllabi B. Content-Based Approach to Internet Literacy C. On-Line Test Taking D. Multimedia conferencing


Perhaps one of the best and most immediate uses to which the
Internet can be put for teaching purposes is as a repository for course syllabi. Not only does an online syllabus save paper resources, but, when well designed, an online syllabus will save students money and provide them with a vast array of course related resources. Readings and resources can be directly linked to the syllabus. For an example of an online syllabi visit the following site:

* Comparative Political Issues

Content-Based Approach
The content-based approach to Internet literacy teaches
Internet skills in the process of teaching course content. The idea is to design courses such that over the semester the student encounters and masters each of the Internet basics discussed in the first part of this paper. The content-based approach to Internet literacy borrows basic principles from the content-based approach to second language acquisition and produces Internet competency as a by-product of mastering an academic subject. A more traditional approach to Internet competency would have students enroll in an information science course and spend 100% of their course time learning computer skills. Students highly motivated to learn computing no doubt would learn much more computing in such a traditional course than they would in a course using the content-based approach. Many students, perhaps an overwhelming majority, however, never take an information science course. Indeed, many students are computer phobic, literally jumping out of their seat the first time they touch a keyboard. To reach these students, alternative approaches to computer literacy are necessary. For more discussion and examples of this approach, see Ward and Karet, 1996.

Test Taking
Answering survey questions on the Web, providing
responses to experiments on the Web, and taking tests on the Web all involve forms. Although it is possible to get very elaborate with online tests and surveys, we will focus here only on the simplest forms. If you already know how to write scripts to automatically grade, correlate, or run t-tests, you need read no further. In this section of the workshop we stick to basics.

There are some very good online sources to help you learn
how to create HTML forms, and below are the essential steps, but first, click here to see what a form looks like.

All All forms involve a few basic elements, including the
form command, the action element, the method element, and the submission command. The minimum attributes of a form are <form></form>. Of course, without anything in between the form command and the end form command, you're not going to get much by way of results, but every form begins and ends with those two commands. Here are the commands that created the form above:

<form action="" method=Post>
1. Clinton is President.<br>
<input type=radio name=1true>
<input type=radio name=1false>
2. Which of these three Presidents were, in your
opinion, charismatic? (you can choose more than one)<br>
<input type=checkbox name=2a>
A. Ford<br>
<input type=checkbox name=2b>
B. Coolidge<br>
<input type=checkbox name=2c>
C. Filmore<br>
3. In one sentence, describe President Reagan's legacy.<br>
<input type=text name=3 size=60><br>
4. Compare the leadership qualities of Carter and Nixon.<br>
<textarea name=compare rows=5 cols=100>
<input type="submit" value="Submit"> <input type=reset>

First notice that inside the form command are two "elements",
one has my email address and the other says "POST". These elements define what the form is supposed to do. In this case, the form will mail the form contents to my email address. Reduced to the basics, the command is essentially this:

<form action=? method=?>

In this example, since we are collecting data we will always use "POST" as the method and the action will be a "Mailto:" action with our email address. There are, naturally, other action elements and method elements, but let's stick with posting for now. The next series of lines, indeed, the bulk of the form, are the four questions. Each question is typed normally, then is followed with a series of commands (the stuff inside the < >). The <br> command is simply a carriage return. It tells the browser to start a new line on the screen. The following command, however, is the meat of the form. Reduced to its essentials, it looks like this:

<input type=? name=?>

The <input> command defines each section of the form. In this case we have four questions and four different types of input. The "type=?" element defines what kind of form will be rendered and the "name=?" element identifies the particular input. Since each question has several possible answers, each possible answer must have its own name. There are several possibilities for the type of input, but in this instance we are using four types: radio buttons (small clickable circles), check boxes, text, and text areas. Thus, if we want a radio button, after the "type=" element we type in radio: "type=radio". That will render radio buttons after the true/false question. Notice that both options, true and false, have their own input type and name. That's so that when the form is submitted the response can be associated with the right question. So in this case, the right answer, at least for now, is "1true". If we had several true/false questions, each question would have two input commands, one true, one false, both would be radio types, but each would have its own name, e.g., "2true", "2false", and so on for as many questions as you want to ask. One further point: radio buttons allow only one choice per question, no matter how many radio buttons are created for that question, so they are ideal for questions which permit only one option.

In the example above, the second question permits multiple
responses, so radio buttons cannot be used. Instead, we use check boxes which allow multiple checks in as many boxes as you want in a single question. The only thing different in question 2 is "type=checkbox". Just like the radio buttons, each box has its own name so answers can later be sorted.

Next is the short answer form, which is created with the
command, <input type=text name=3 size=60>. This should be easy to figure out. Type=text means the input will be text, the name refers to question 3, and the "size=?" element is set to be 60 characters. This command, then, produces a long thin rectangle form 60 characters long after question 3.

The last question requires a paragraph of text, so the command
provides for a text area that extends five lines down the page and all the way across the screen, and the question is named "compare":

<textarea name=compare rows=5 cols=100>

The last commands of the form create a "submit" button, a
"reset" button, and tell the browser the form has ended:

<input type="submit" value="Submit"> <input type=reset>

One final note; in both the single line rectangle and the text
area, the typing is allowed to overflow and is accommodated unless you specify limits for the maximum size. Now go back to the form so you can "steal" the source code! Pretty simple, right?

When the student/subject clicks the submit button, the
information typed into the form will be sent to my email account. I won't be able to read it until I process the message with a handy little utility called "The InFORMer" (Download a copy), which is a hypercard application. After saving the message to a "Form" folder that I created in my user file, I open The InFORMer, make sure all the settings match my operating environment, click process, locate my "Form" folder in the dialog box, locate the message, and click open. In a second or two The InFormer tells me the message has been processed. Sure enough, when I double click on the message in the Form folder, it opens into a readable format.

Multimedia Conferencing
The Internet creates a number of ways in which students
anywhere on the globe can be linked for real-time conferencing. For a discussion of applications permitting multimedia conferencing see Ward and Karet, 1996.

1. Simulations: There are several possible ways to use
multimedia conferencing to teach political psychology, but one of the most exciting is the use of simulations. Here are three possible areas in which to develop simulations, with a suggestion for each area:

a. Conflict resolution: A simulation on conflict resolution bringing together students in Northern Ireland with students in the UK and the US is but one possibility.

b. Committee decision-making: Classes from the US and Russia could recreate the Cuban Missile Crisis, examining how each group reached its decisions.

c. Intergroup dynamics: A simulation on budgeting in the U.S. Congress could focus on both inter-group and inner-group dynamics in the decision making process.

In the Workshop we will demonstrate some of the multimedia
applications which make these simulations possible.

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