Higher education met the Mac several weeks ago at the fifth annual Apple-sponsored MacAdemia conference. Some 800 educators and Macintosh enthusiasts gathered in Rochester, New York (USA) to view a variety of Macintosh demonstrations with an emphasis on the Mac in education. TidBITS editor Tonya Byard attended several sessions.
Professor Douglas L. Chute from Drexel University showed samples from a HyperCard stack that he projects from a Mac as a visual aid to his lectures. Rightly enough, he pointed out that hypermedia can be a valuable learning tool, but that the media must contain content as well as hype. He has designed his lecture stack so that it occasionally has a bit of glitz, but so that on the whole it provides a consistent, easy-to-use lecturing tool that is full of content.
Dorothy Mulligan talked about her college’s Project ISDN. At Jersey City State College, video conferencing with remote classrooms has become reality, using regular telephone wires to send real-time sound and video two-ways, between the classroom having the teacher and the remote students. Mulligan pointed out that the key advantage of using existing telephone wires was that the cost and mess of installing special networking cables was eliminated.
Robert Dwyer and Raymond Melcher, both from University of Massachusetts at Boston, demonstrated a prototype hypermedia archive for a collection of video tapes, photographs, and news articles concerning America in what Americans call the Vietnam War (We at TidBITS are unsure what the rest of the world calls it). The project (given time and funding) will integrate vast amounts of data. It will use what is called a videodisk jukebox, whereby a number of disks can sit in the jukebox, ready to play when called upon. Using HyperCard interface, researchers will be able to perform complex searches and take data away with them in the form of a laser printout, video tape, or audio tape.
Chris Espinosa, System Software Project Manager, from Apple, demonstrated system 7.0. We saw Helvetica TrueType functioning and many other features which at this point have been previewed ad nauseam in most computer magazines. The version that Espinosa had running did not crash and even performed as he said it would.
Tonya Byard — TidBITS Editor