by Kathleen Scalise
All semester long technology will take top billing across campus. Along with engineers and scientists, Berkeley's artists, musicians, social scientists, historians and even archaeologists studying the distant past will examine computers and consider their effects on society.
And it won't just be the campus community benefiting. All those with an interest in how technology is shaping the world around them will be able to expand their knowledge through several public lectures and World Wide Web sites.
The expression "Cybersemester" was coined on campus and is the first official "theme" semester ever at Berkeley.
In addition to creating a public profile for the innovation that occurs on campus, the idea is to stimulate "a campus conversation for where we want to be in the future," said the Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol T. Christ.
The themed semester will also provide faculty an opportunity to integrate new communications technologies into their teaching and research, added Cybersemester coordinator Diane Harley, who is with the Center for Studies in Higher Education.
"In essence, new media forces us all to rethink how the university does business, whether it is teaching, research or service," she said.
In addition to focusing on what we do with technology -- from teaching to research to educational outreach -- Cybersemester will view technology from the point of view of its social and ethical effects.
During Cybersemester, the campus community can expect to hear all sides of the technology story.
Cybersemester plans include demonstrations, conferences, workshops and lectures looking at different facets of technology and society. Many activities are open to the public.
Two special Cybersemester issues of Berkeleyan will highlight what's happening on campus and what our experts think the future may bring.
The first special issue, on Feb. 12, will also include a full page devoted to the nuts and bolts of how to use the World Wide Web and a guide to resources available on campus.
Among the special programs to be offered on campus is the Cybersemester Speaker Series each Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in 2050 Valley Life Sciences Building. Students will earn a unit of credit for the course.
Faculty, staff and members of the public, who are invited to attend one or all of the lectures for free, will get world-class insight into issues facing computer users.
Sun Microsystem's chief scientist, John Gage, an alumnus, will kick off the series Jan. 29. Each Wednesday will feature a different speaker.
For example, on March 12, those attending will learn about the future of automated highways from Professor Pravin Varaiya.
Among other Cybersemester highlights is "Art, Technology and Culture: A Campuswide Colloquium at UC Berkeley," beginning Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in 160 Kroeber Hall. It will meet five times over the course of the semester. This new art seminar series will be launched with speaker Aaron Betsky of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
On March 7, a public lecture on telecommunications and Internet regulation will feature FCC Commissioner Reed Hundt. He will speak at 4:30 p.m. in Andersen Auditorium at the Haas School of Business.
In addition, all nine campuses will meet at UCLA March 25 and 26 for a conference on teaching and learning technology. Broadcast segments will be available on campus and online over the Internet.
Many more activities are planned and others are coming quickly together, said Harley, who can be reached via email at harley@ ishi.lib.berkeley.edu.
She urged the campus to regularly check in on the new Cybersemester web page.