THE FORUM HITS THE NET
(Note: this article was omitted from the April newsletter for lack of space.)
- Ken Lyons
No, we haven't taken up tennis (or even volleyball). The "net" in question
here is the internet, affectionately known as the World Wide Web, or WWW.
The first week of January, the Forum on Education became the first of the
forums to link a WWW homepage to the APS homepage, which itself opened
less than a month earlier. As with any other homepage, the information
here is accessible via a number of browser programs, notably lynx and mosaic,
which are available to a wide range of users. To access the homepage, you
can use the direct URL (http://www.att.com/APS/),
or you access it via the APS home page (http://aps.org),
following the links for the Forum on Education. There are two interactive
forms systems accessible from this homepage, which make it rather unique.
(In fact, for those who know about such things: they have been implemented
as an experimental demonstration of a new form server system based on an
extension of the HTML language.) These systems are the Forum
Member Survey and the Summer
The Summer Jobs Database has attracted a great deal of attention in the
few weeks it has been open on the internet. Under the old system, accessible
via email since August (see FEd News, August 1993), only seven programs
had registered. By contrast, 22 additional programs registered in the first
three weeks that the internet system was open, and more are arriving with
regularity. I encourage everybody in the Forum to consider whether their
institution, or they themselves, could usefully list positions on this
database. We are hoping that many individuals will decide to seek qualified
undergraduates as summer assistants via this mechanism. The use of the
database via the internet is simple both for the person registering a position
and the person seeking the information. As a matter of fact, a number of
users have commented on the simplicity of the interface. The system was
announced to student organizations in mid-January. At this writing, two
weeks later, we have received more than 400 user inquiries via the WWW
interface. [As of April 18, we now have more than 1000 inquiries via the
database.] If this early use is any indication of its long term activity,
we may clearly regard it as a success.
The Member Survey is designed to give us information as to the interests
of the members to guide the executive committee as we make decisions that
affect the future of the forum. It is also the first step in the development
of a national precollege mentoring database which we hope will soon become
an adjunct to the Summer Jobs Database. The Member Survey gives you an
opportunity both to indicate your interest in being listed and to provide
the information on your interests which will be listed there. See the related
article for information on the progress of this survey.
There are a number of interesting information sections available on the
page as well. Newsletters since April 1994 are available online, with hypertext
links as appropriate to augment the text. A complete list of officers,
including on-line mail service for various subcommittees, is also provided.
There is a subsection of other resources, including curriculum materials
and links to other database systems.
The page continues to evolve, even on a daily basis. A number of comments
and requests have resulted in changes in the material presented, and in
the organization of the databases. Your constructive comments will enable
us to continue improving the effort. We also invite your contributions
of material to add to the page. If you have WWW materials available, or
know of relevant material, we would be grateful if you would send us information
for a hyperlink. Send any such communications to Ken Lyons (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I feel sure that the existence of this homepage will become a major asset
to the Forum, as we find new ways to make use of the emerging technologies.
I encourage all of you to participate, not only by making use of what it
provides but also by sending us your ideas on ways to extend the effort
and improve its effectiveness.