The Use of Electronic Mail, Newsgroups, and the World-Wide
Web to Improve Chemical Engineering Education
1.1 The World of Information
The world is bursting with information. We see information every day on
television, in newspapers and books, and on computers. We obtain it with the
help of modems, fax machines, and cellular phones that provide an almost
constant link to information sources. Information sources such as the Internet
or the "Information Superhighway", Prodigy, and America Online have increased
our access to information all over the world. Knowingly and sometimes
unknowingly, we are surrounded by a constant exchange of information. We can
now use telecommunications and information technologies to learn about a wide
variety of subjects from how to brew your own beer to how to invest in the
stock market. While all this information has made our lives simpler, it can
present some problems. How do you get the information? How do you organize
it? How do you use the information once you find it? The challenge becomes
avoiding hopeless entanglement in the overabundance of information available
and developing effective methods to access, organize, and integrate only the
information necessary to accomplish your goals.
Agreeably, there is a vast amount of information available, but just how much
of it relates to chemical engineering education? Consider the following
examples: A biochemical engineering student anywhere on the Net can watch a
video of fungal growth from the University of Manchester in England (Figure 1).
An engineering professor can obtain a fluids simulation about the Reynolds
number from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthesis Coalition in
California (Figure 2). A student can learn about water treatment plants from
students in New York (Figure 3). All this information and more is easily
accessible with the help of information technologies and a computer.
1.2 Project Purpose
The purpose of this project is to show the impact of telecommunications and
information technology on chemical engineering education. Because this
technology is ever changing, this project will focus on only how to improve
chemical engineering education through the use of electronic mail (e-mail),
newsgroups, and a portion of the Internet called the World-Wide Web. This
project will demonstrate how to use e-mail to increase instructor
availability and course flexibility, how to use newsgroups to increase
student to student and instructor to student exchange of ideas, and how to
use the World-Wide Web and NCSA's Mosaic to access, organize, and integrate the
vast amount of chemical engineering information available on the Net today.
This project will demonstrate the impact of e-mail, newsgroups, and the
World-Wide Web on chemical engineering education by comparing current
teaching methods that do not use these technologies with methods that do. This
project will show that chemical engineering curiccula that use these
technologies have the potential to produce better chemical engineering
graduates and professors alike.
1.3 Computer Uses
Currently, the use of computers in chemical engineering education is
somewhat limited. While it is true that some instructors are using
electronic mail, newsgroups, Internet, and other telecommunication resources to
teach students about chemical engineering, most are not. Many professors
require their chemical engineering students to use computers everyday; however,
they are usually only doing so in two ways: problem solving and simulation.
These fundamental uses of computers do effectively teach, but do not alone
optimize the computer's capabilities to help students learn about chemical
1.3.1 Problem Solving
Problem solving is normally initiated by the instructor providing a chemical
engineering related problem statement. A typical problem statement might be to
develop a TXY diagram for Freon using Rault's Law. To complete this project
successfully, the student must clearly understand the fundamentals of the
equations of interest and must develop a logical method of solution. These are
important tasks for engineering students; however, there can be drawbacks. The
disadvantage of this use of computers is that students frequently encounter
programming problems. The student may understand the underlying principles
of the solution and even what the TXY diagram should look like, but they can
not get their programs to run. This problem can be further compounded when the
instructor or the teaching assistant (TA) neglects to solve the problem prior
to assigning it to the students. Frequently, this results in frustration as
students try to solve a problem that contains erroneous equations, constants,
or other critical data. The key to success when using computer problem solving
in chemical engineering instruction is for the instructor to have a through
understanding of the solution and the common programming problems that the
student may encounter. Computer Applications for Chemical Engineering News
(CASH NEWS) is an excellent publication that provides information about using
computers to solve chemical engineering problems.
The second common use of computers in chemical engineering education is
simulation. Computer simulations are normally preprogrammed computer exercises
that lead students through an already developed learning process.
Simulations can vary greatly in their complexity. Some simulations merely
ask students true and false questions about text previously presented, while
others may allow students to enter parameters for a specified system or
equation and see the results graphically. The best simulations are those
that require student interaction. These interactive simulations require the
student to manipulate the parameters and then make a prediction of the the
outcome. Students can see and compare the simulation's results to their
predictions. Interactive simulation is an excellent use of computers in
chemical engineering education. Chemical engineering students can learn not
only from what the simulation does, but also from what the simulation fails
to accomplish. The disadvantage of simulations is that they require the
instructor to program a simulation to accomplish an educational task. The
alternative is to find one already developed that satisfies the instructor's
needs. Programming your own simulations can be time consuming and frustrating.
While there is a great deal of shareware available, finding and accessing the
right simulation program can be a complex task. You can simplify the task by
purchasing a commercial package, but cost becomes an important factor. CACHE
NEWS provides excellent information on simulation packages available for
chemical engineering instruction.
1.3.3 Other Uses
Some instructors are using other teaching capabilities of computers in
addition to problem solving and simulation. The computer, when combined with
telecommunications and information technologies, provides capabilities such
as electronic mail (e-mail), newsgroups and multimedia information of all
types. While the use of these technologies is spreading, few instructors are
incorporating these capabilities into their chemical engineering courses. Most
instructors are just using e-mail to schedule appointments, confirm
schedules, and discuss upcoming events. Many are not even using the other
capabilities of newsgroups and information access. This project will focus
on ways instructors can use these capabilities to improve chemical
1.4 Educational Challenge
Problem solving and simulation are excellent ways of using computers in
chemical engineering curricula, but they only scratch the surface of how recent
advances in telecommunications and information technologies can help chemical
engineering students. Today, the challenge becomes how to integrate new ideas
and help students learn more efficiently (Cole, 1993). The integration of
telecommunications and Information technologies, with the help of our
computers, can greatly increase the efficiency of our chemical engineering
2.0 EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
To use e-mail, newsgroups, and the World-Wide Web to improve chemical
engineering education, one must understand the fundamentals associated with
effective learning. Many people have developed different models for how
students learn. This project will focus on four of the commonly accepted
principles of effective education. These principles are: category building,
learning flexibility, active learning, and feedback (Muhlhauser, 1990). This
project will discuss the effects of e-mail, newsgroups, and the World-Wide
Web on these principles and how they improve chemical engineering education.
2.1 Category Building
Building categories facilitates effective learning. Students group, unite,
and categorize things in an effort to relate new material to old (Muhlhauser,
1990). This explains why new students learning about Material and Energy
Balances may encounter difficulty as they attempt to understand DEW
calculations, while more experienced chemical engineering thermodynamic
students often find it easier to to accomplish the same calculations using more
complex equations. The former attempts to relate and categorize the DEW
calculations but has little to group them with. The latter can categorize
the complex calculations with those simpler ones learned in their earlier
Material and Energy Balance course.
2.2 Learning Flexibility
Another important principle of effective learning is flexibility. Flexibility
of the information greatly affects the learners performance (Muhlhauser, 1990).
Ideally, instruction would be flexible enough so that each student would
receive only the information required to learn the subject. This would allow
the advanced student to skip over already understood background information
while the less advanced student could review previous material. Today, most
chemical engineering courses are not capable of being that flexible.
2.3 Active Learning
Many educational experts agree the one key to student learning is the
student's participation in the process. Professor Philip C. Wankat states
the following in his article "What Works: A Quick Guide to Learning
Principles" in Chemical Engineering Education (1993):
" Lecturing without student interaction is active
only for theprofessor-which is one reason why
professors feel they havelearned more than anyone
else in the class."
This comment reinforces the need for students to participate actively in the
educational process. Chemical engineering education is moving forward in
this area by using interactive simulations.
Another important principle of effective education is feedback. The classical
form of feedback is the examination or quiz. This is an attempt by the
instructor to see if the student has attained some measure of proficiency in
the subject. Another form of feedback used in chemical engineering courses
is the computer project. The instructor develops a project that will
demonstrate the student's knowledge of the subject as well as the student's
ability to logically solve the problem using a computer.
The second important form of feedback is from the student to the instructor.
Some instructors do not request nor receive this type of feedback. If
implemented, this type of feedback is usually accomplished through the use of
end-of-course surveys. While these surveys attempt to provide information back
to the instructor on ways to improve the class, they occur too late to have any
effect on the current class.
3.0 TECHNOLOGICAL BACKGROUND
To understand the capabilities and impact of these technologies, one needs
to have a general understanding of the underliying technology. The
assumption is that the reader understands the basic use of computers and
information technologies. Each of the following areas will be discussed with
respect to their impact on chemical engineering education and not the
development of the technology.
3.1 Electronic Mail (e-mail)
E-mail is the electronic transfer of information from one person or
organization to another. E-mail is not and "end-to-end" system. E-mail
functions like the U.S. Postal system. The message is stored and forwarded
from one machine to another until it finally arrives at its destination. The
information can be sent regardless of whether the receiving station is "on"
or "off". The key to the successful use of e-mail is the address. It is not
important how the network passed the message to the receiver, but that the
network could find the receiver (Krol, 1994).
The primary advantage of using e-mail is that both the author and
reader send and receive the message at times that are convenient to each. This
is much different from a telephone call that is almost always convenient for
the caller, but frequently inconvenient for the receiver.
Newsgroups are Internet's discussion groups similar to the "Bulletin Board
System" (BBS) available on other commercial information systems such as
CompuServe or Prodigy. The primary purpose of these groups is common
discussion of specific topics. One of the largest sets of newsgroups is
USENET. USENET is available around the world and contains hundreds of separate
groups subdivided into seven categories as provided in Table I (Krol, 1994).
Table 1. USENET Newsgroup Categories
comp Computer Science
news News network and software
sci Scientific research
soc Social issues
Local groups that are maintained by a local server account for 14 additional
categories as provided in Table II (Krol, 1994).
Table 2. Local Newsgroup Categories
alt Alternate views
bit BITNET listserv
hepnet High Energy Physics
ieee Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers
info Mailing lists
gnu Free Software Foundation
k12 Elementary and Secondary Education
relcom Groups from the former USSR
u3b AT&T 3B Computers
vmsnet Digital Equipment's VAX/VMS
One example of a newsgroup address is sci.eng.chem, a newsgroup about
chemical engineering. The addresses for newsgroups start with one of the above
categories followed by subcatagories that are divided by periods.
Hypertext is the term given to any text that contains embedded links with other
files or documents. This allows the user to select and expand key portions
of text. The use of hypertext, in some respects, gives up the author's
predetermined path through the information. Unlike a book, hypertext's
non-linear capabilities allow the user to follow an individual learning
path. This greatly increases the educational flexibility and adaptability of
3.4 The World-Wide Web
The World-Wide Web is the newest information server on the Net today.
Researchers at the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) in Geneva
(Figure 4) developed the World-Wide Web to give computer users universal access
to multimedia information on the net (Hughes, 1993). This information
originates from a vast network of servers that connect many educational
institutions and other facilities. The World-Wide Web attempts to organize all
information on the internet into hypertext documents (Krol, 1994). By using
hypertext, the key advantage of the World-Wide Web becomes its
non-linearity. Unlike some other servers, the World-Wide Web has the
flexibility to access other sources of information on the net such as Gopher
and WAIS (Wide-Area Information Server). The World-Wide Web's flexibility
and interoperability make it the best "one-stop" source of information
available on the Net today.
4.0 INFORMATION ACCESS
With a general understanding of the technological background of e-mail,
newsgroups, and the World-Wide Web, the problem becomes how to access this
technology. Accessing e-mail and newsgroups is fairly simple. Most servers
provide users with an e-mail address and mail processing packages such as
Z-mail. Access to e-mail is as easy as calling up the e-mail managing
program and sending mail.
Accessing newsgroups is as simple as accessing e-mail. Most servers have
newsgroup reading programs such as rn and xrn that allow the user to
subscribe to some or all of the allowed newsgroups. Some servers restrict what
types of news groups they will handle based on the nature of the newsgroup
and the goals of the server. Again, access is as easy as opening the
application and subscribing. The key to both e-mail and newsgroups is
practice. For more information on access to e-mail and newsgroups see The
Whole Internet Users Guide and Catalogue by Ed Krol (1994). Published by
O'Reilly and Associates in Calfornia..
4.3 World-Wide Web
By far the more difficult task we encounter while working with
telecommunication and information technology is effectively accessing needed
information. The World-Wide Web organized the information into hypertext form.
The National Center for SuperComputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed Mosaic (Figure 5), one of the best
browsers one can use to find multimedia information from the World-Wide Web.
Mosaic is a hypermedia browsing tool than uses "pull-down" menus to display
text, graphics, video and audio (Valauskas, 1993). NCSA's Mosaic is
available in many forms to support Unix, PC, and Macintosh systems. Mosaic
makes information access easy and entertaining.
HTML is a hypertext language that is secret of Mosaic's flexibility. HTML
can access all types of multimedia information available on W3 and is as
easy to use as any word processing package. In fact, we can use our favorite
word processing program with a few special commands to develop a HTML document.
Figure 6 is a professor's "Home Page" complete with the professor's name,
photograph, telephone number and e-mail address. Additionally, this HTML
document contains links to the professor's biography, research, publications,
courses, and educational material. HTML does this by using embedded commands
that are normally not visible to the reader. The reader sees only a
highlighted word that represents the link to another file (Figure 7). The
reader selects the highlighted word and is automatically sent to the new
selection. Once you write this HTML document, you can then read, edit, and
store it just like any other file.
4.4 Mosaic Menus
To manipulate HTML documents, NCSA's Mosaic uses a display window (Figure
8) that contains a series of pull-down menus that allow the user to browse
easily through the World-Wide Web. With the help of these menus, the user can
link and view HTML documents that contain text, image, audio, and even video
files. This section will highlight some of the most important uses of
The File menu (Figure 9) contains 14 separate commands that the user
may invoke to manipulate the HTML document. One of the most important
functions is the Open URL (Universal Resource Locator) function. This window
allows the user to go directly to any HTML document by simply entering the
address into the URL window (Figure 10). HTML addresses normally look like
This is the address for the example HTML "Home Page" provided earlier.
While this address is long, by taking the time to enter it into the URL window,
the user saves time by eliminating the requirement of navigating through the
other layers of HTML to get to the one needed.
Another important feature of the File window is the Save As function (Figure
11). This allows the user to save the information in the HTML document in
the user`s file. The user typically does not have the ability to change the
parent HTML document. Normally, this can only be accomplished by the author of
the document or someone who has read/write authority for the author's
originating file. The user may view the source document at any time by
selecting the View Source option (Figure 12).
The Options menu displays eight separate functions (Figure 13). One of the
most useful functions is the Load to Local Disk option. When the user
selects this option prior to selecting a HTML document, the selected HTML
document is automatically stored to a user specified file (Figure 14). One
major use of this function is to allow the user to store video files
locally. Without this option selected, the user will see the video only one
time after transmission. There is no way to view the video a second time
without downloading all the video data again. Because some video files are
very large, this can take a long time. The user must remember to deselect this
option after data transfer. Otherwise, all future data transmissions will be
stored in the user's local account.
A second important option is Delay Image Loading. This provides the user
with text data only, and can accelerate the response of Mosaic. The user
sees small icons in place of graphical images (Figure 15). The user can then
select the icons to see specific images.
The Navigation menu lists eight different selections (Figure 16). Two of
the most frequently used selections are the Hotlist and Add Current to Hotlist.
The Hotlist is a submenu of HTML addresses that the user may use to develop a
list of frequently used documents (Figure 17). The user merely selects one
of the titles stored in the Hotlist and Mosaic automatically links to the
selected document. This eliminates the need of opening a URL and typing in the
address each time.
The Add Current to Hotlist allows the user to automatically add the
current HTML document to the Hotlist. This is useful if the user wants to
return to that document frequently and does not want to use the URL
function. This is also an excellent way to keep track of sources while
conducting research using the World-Wide Web.
The Annotation menu provides the user with the opportunity to make and edit
annotations to the original HTML document (Figure 18). Selecting the
Annotate menu allows the user to make notes about the document (Figure 19).
These annotations can serve as notes for the user that expand certain HTML
documents. Annotations appear as additional HTML documents at the end of the
original (Figure 20). Personal annotations can only be viewed by the
5.0 INFORMATION ORGANIZATION
Once you understand how to access e-mail, newsgroups, and the
World-Wide Web, the second problem becomes how to organize your information.
Effective organization is critical. If your information is not organized well,
it is not very useful. While focusing on the characteristics of Mosaic and
HTML, your organization should maximize the user's ability to browse through
You can effectively organize hypermedia information by understanding a few
important fundamentals. To organize your information effectively you must
remember the goal of your multimedia presentation. This project will focus
on the goal of improving chemical engineering education. With this goal in
mind, the organizational fundamentals that pertain to text, color, and
visuals are most appropriate.
The goal of text development is to optimize the non-linear capabilities of
HTML while still providing enough guidance to prevent the chemical
engineering student from getting lost in the information. A topic outline is
one of the best text organizational tools. This outline should provide only
the information necessary for the student to understand each topic clearly.
You should develop separate files that include the detailed descriptions,
graphics, and or video that supplement each topic. You use HTML embedded
commands to send the user to specific files as desired. The result is that the
user can easily move through your information selecting areas of interest and
ignoring unwanted material.
The key to the effective use of color is using it to highlight important ideas
and concepts. Color can help motivate and increase the student's attention,
but it does not guarantee that the student will retain the information. You
can use color to help organize your information by color grouping similar items
or ideas. This will help reinforce the concept that specific items are somehow
linked (Steinberg, 1991).
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the more detailed the picture the
more the student will learn. This is not necessarily true. Visuals, things
such as graphs, pictures, and videos, can become too complex for the student to
understand. Instructors should develop visuals to illustrate specific learning
concepts, and not just to dazzle the student with the instructor's knowledge of
6.0 INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY
With a general understanding of basic education principles, technological
background, access, and organization, the problem becomes how to integrate this
technology in a way that enhances chemical engineering education. This project
will compare and contrast current chemical engineering teaching techniques that
do not use these technologies with those that do. To ensure that these
techniques are having a positive effect, the analysis will focus on each
technique's ability to enhance one or more of the educational principles
6.1 Average Chemical Engineering Course
An overview of the average chemical engineering class is important to
illustrate the potential impact of technology integration. The average
chemical engineering course consists of two or three lectures per week possibly
combined with recitations and a few laboratories. The average lecture consists
of the instructor writing notes on the overhead projector and the students
busily trying to copy all the information before the instructor scrolls the
overhead. During the lecture, some students feel that the instructor is
going too slowly, others feel the pace is too fast, while others struggle to
stay awake. The lecture presents little opportunity for individual
As the class prepares for a test, the class attendance increases and students
tend to write faster. In some courses, the professor or Teaching Assistant
(TA) will conduct a recitation to help the students prepare for the exam. This
presents a better opportunity for individual instruction; however, the focus is
on ensuring that all students can pass the test, not necessarily learn the
The professor then gives the the class the test that focuses on some of the
most important aspects of the course material. The students take the test
and provide the professor with a measure of how well they are learning the
material. For most classes this cycle continues throughout the semester.
While this may not be representative of every chemical engineering class, it
does serve as a good comparison to demonstrate the significant impacts
telecommunications and information technologies can have on chemical
6.2 Electronic Mail
How can we integrate e-mail? Professors and students alike can successfully
use e-mail to improve chemical engineering education. The instructor can
easily improve learning flexibility, instructor access, and feedback by
distributing e-mail addresses. Learning flexibility is increased because the
student can use e-mail to gain additional information and help from the
instructor at almost any time. Feedback increases because the professor can
determine what areas need further emphasis based on the e-mail usage. The more
e-mail requests for help, the more clarification that material requires.
Students who encounter problems while completing their homework or computer
projects can now easily contact the professor and ask for assistance.
Some professors may even find advanced uses for e-mail such as computer project
turn-in or take-home quizzes. Professors could require students to e-mail
the computer code for their projects. This would allow the professor to
convert the message file to a program file to see if the code actually runs, or
whether the student "fudged it". Students could e-mail professors answers to
take-home quizzes. E-mail is one the easiest way to use telecommunications and
information technology to improve chemical engineering education.
Like e-mail, the use of newsgroups can also improve both flexibility and
feedback. Newsgroups are a natural expansion of e-mail use. Where e-mail
provided instructor to student communication, newsgroups facilitate whole class
communication. One simple use of newsgroups is to develop a newsgroup for a
specific course. The professor can post key elements of information about
the course such as the syllabus, homework and test dates. The advantage of
newsgroups is that all the students may easily view the information by
subscribing to the course's newsgroup. Students can then write about
difficulties they encounter while trying to solve homework problems or computer
projects. Other students can share information about how they solved the
same or similar problems. Still others can provide information about where
to find additional information on course related topics. All this is easily
monitored by the professor who, like all the other subscribers, can view all
the postings to the group.
6.4 World-Wide Web
Integration of the use of the the World-Wide Web has the greatest potential to
improve chemical engineering education. Proper integration can improve
learning by helping students categorize information, increasing learning
flexibility, increasing active learning, and providing feedback. With the
numerous capabilities of the World-Wide Web, how you integrate this information
is only limited by the imagination of the professors and students who use
The World-Wide Web helps students categorize information because of the nature
of its underlying HTML. Students typically see outlines that logically group
common sets of information together. HTML and Mosaic automatically link this
information by the simple press of a button. This allows students to focus
on how the categories are related and not how to get to each specific area.
The World-Wide Web uses HTML that allows the reader to develop an
independent, logical learning process. This results in a teaching tool that
has the ability to adapt to each student's individual needs and thereby
increase learning flexibility. The World-Wide Web also has the additional
advantage of being able to maintain the student's interest in the subject.
Unlike the flat and sometimes boring text associated with some chemical
engineering subjects, the World-Wide Web and NCSA's Mosaic can employ color,
graphics, animation, audio, and video to stimulate the student's interest.
The World-Wide Web and Mosaic allow the student to learn actively about
chemical engineering material. Students actively select HTML documents that
provide information in the form of multimedia. Additionally, students can
develop and publish their own HTML documents that illustrate some important
aspect of the chemical engineering course.
The best way to demonstrate the potential impact of the World-Wide Web is by
example. Chemical engineering departments can develop home pages (Figure 20).
The benefits of sections on the World-Wide Web that describe the department's
faculty, facilities, research, and curricula are obvious. This information
is commonly available through university catalogs; however, catalogs are not
available all over the world and are frequently out of date.
Each faculty member could develop a page that included a photo, biography,
research, and courses taught (Figure 21). This would help students and other
professors learn about what chemical engineering professors are doing.
Now, consider the educational possibilities if each faculty member included
a section containing educational material (Figure 22). Each professor could
enter text, graphics, video, or programs to help students learn more about a
specific topic. This information could be used as homework assignments,
additional readings, or research guides. The benefit of using the World-Wide
Web and Mosaic is that the students can learn at their own pace on their own
time. This not only helps the students taking the class, but also allows other
students and professors with access to the World-Wide Web to learn more about
that topic. By using Mosaic, instantaneous dissemination of information is
as easy as saving a file. This may even reduce the department's reproduction
In addition to their own information, professors may want to provide a list of
other sources (Figure 23). Again, this is easily accomplished with the use
of HTML. While you browse through the World-Wide Web, you only need to
record the site address and include it in your own document with a brief
description. The single most important aspect of developing an organized
source list or any HTML document is checking to see that your embedded commands
work. There is nothing as frustrating to the user as trying to access a source
that does not work and that the author failed to check properly.
Student and professor research is another important area of the World-Wide
Web integration into chemical engineering education. Much of the chemical
engineering information on the World-Wide Web is from ongoing chemical
engineering research at major universities. Schools such as the University
of Florida (Figure 25), University of California (Figure 26), Virginia Tech
(Figure 27), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Figure 28) all have chemical
engineering sections on the World-Wide Web. While many of these sections are
just getting started, they have potential to provide a great number of chemical
engineering sources. Integration of this information could include a list of
where students and professors could find many of the World-Wide Web sources
that provide the best information on chemical engineering.
Mosaic can be used in the classroom as well. Professors can use computers
and projection television technology to display computer screens to large
classes. By using the save to local disk file and the open URL (Uniform
Resource Locator) features of Mosaic, a professor can locally store and
directly access information from other sources. This greatly reduces the
time required to access and load information. The advantage of using Mosaic is
that the information remains available to all students after the instructor's
presentation. This allows the students to go back and review the information
that they think is interesting or want to study more.
Professors conducting research in chemical engineering could also benefit
from the world-wide dissemination of information about their specific projects.
This opens the possibilities of collaboration with others working in similar
areas. With their research ideas being viewed throughout the world, professors
may even find additional people and organizations willing to provide research
funding. While the intent of the World-Wide Web is to be non-commercial, it
does present an excellent opportunity for professors and chemical engineering
departments to "educationally advertise".
Electronic Mail, newsgroups, and the Word-Wide Web are the ways of the
future for chemical engineering education. Chemical Engineering instructors
can easily start by using e-mail to increase learning flexibility, instructor
access, and effective feedback. Professors can use newsgroups to increase
the student to student exchange of chemical engineering concepts and
problem-solving techniques. Mosaic and the World-Wide Web provide access to an
almost limitless source of material capable of enhancing students' and
professors' knowledge of chemical engineering principles.
The ease of information access combined with the non-linear nature of Mosaic
make it the application of choice in educational uses. It provides a wide
array of information that is available to the student and professor alike in
a self-paced manner. Its ease of use and world-wide dissemination offer
opportunities for vast exchanges of chemical engineering concepts.
Realization of the World-Wide Web's potential to improve chemical engineering
education requires learning how to access, organize and integrate the
information. With a little forethought and practice, anyone can effectively
use the World-Wide Web to enhance their chemical engineering curricula. The
World-Wide Web can improve and widen the student's understanding of chemical
engineering through the use of a non-linear application that makes learning
fun. The added side benefits of reduced reproduction costs and world-wide
"educational advertising" can only further enhance chemical engineering
curricula. Failure or hesitance to accomplish these critical tasks could
result in missed opportunities for both students and professors alike.