University of California at Berkeley

Technology + Spring Classes = Cybersemester '97

 by Kathleen Scalise

Next term isn't just the spring semester, it's "Cybersemester '97," which means technology will take top billing across campus in everything from freshman English seminars to MBA roundtables and art practice workshops.

The expression "Cybersemester"was coined on campus and you can expect to hear it often over the next several months. It is the first official "theme" semester ever at Berkeley and will showcase the many ways in which Berkeley is using information technology.

"We are creating a public profile for the kinds of things that are already happening here, achieving more visibility and unity," said The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol T. Christ. "But we are also stimulating a campus conversation for where we want to be in the future."

"Students are caught up in technology; they are the users of it and they need to see how technology can be viewed from many different disciplines," said Peter Berck, chair of the Academic Senate committee that put the theme initiative forward.

To this end, many activities are planned on campus, including workshops, conferences and cyber projects, said Cybersemester project director Diane Harley.

For instance, freshmen can select from more than a dozen new seminar courses on the theme of computers and society. One, on how technology is portrayed in the movies, will be taught by Gary Handman, director of the Moffitt Library Media Resources Center.

"Technology rears its head in a lot of different ways," Handman said. "It is rejiggering almost everything we do. There are a lot of issues that could be addressed in a place like Berkeley about technology and society."

Cybersemester "is sort of like a big open house to bring to light all the wonderful activities going on around campus in this area„bringing the neat stuff, the cool stuff, to the fore. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people are doing."

For those just getting their feet wet with technology, Cybersemester is a time to explore. The library is offering free web classes and library research workshops and will roll out a new web interface for GLADIS, the campus online library catalog.

Most important for the success of Cybersemester, however, may be the sense of shared excitement it generates.

"The way the revolution happens is peer to peer," said Peter Lyman, university librarian.

Also see Academic Senate Plans for Cybersemester. For further information on Cybersemester or to participate in developing Cybersemester activities, call Diane Harley at (510) 642-5040.


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