The UWired Project:

Creating an Electronic Community with the World Wide Web and Other On-Line Resources

Bernice Laden and Andi Bartelstein
Coordinator, UWired Program
University of Washington

The UWired project began as an outgrowth of the Provost's initiative on teaching and technology. The overall goal of the project is to create an electronic community in which communication, collaboration, and information technologies become ongoing, integral parts of teaching and learning at the University of Washington. During UWired's first year (1994-95), a selected group of students (all freshman) and faculty were targeted for intensive technology instruction and use, and were loaned portable Macintosh computers for the duration of the academic year. Through a year-long Information and Technology Seminar, the project provided sustained, discipline-specific instruction about electronic resources and their applications in the classroom and beyond, and served as a prototype for integrating computer use across the disciplines. In the 1995-96 academic year the number of groups receiving intensive training, similar to the first year's program, will triple. In addition, all freshman interest groups --60 groups, involving 1500 students -- incorporate elements of last year's UWired program.

The year-long Information and Technology Seminar is team taught by a librarian, a peer advisor, and a technical support person. Faculty who teach courses relevant to the seminar also collaborate with the team. The World Wide Web (WWW) is central to the UWired curriculum because it is relatively easy for both faculty and students to master, thus offering them immediate satisfaction when they access the *infobahn*. Students and instructors involved in the UWired Information and Technology Seminar use the WWW for dissemination of course information, for research, as a tool to spark discussion, and to work on collaborative projects.

This presentation will focus on several issues that are central to use of the WWW in education, including: training faculty and students to browse the web and to develop effective web projects; the effect of *web presence* on student projects; and the limits of the Web as an information resource. One UWired WWW project -- the Freshman Survival Guide -- will be shown to demonstrate the type of project that first year students can accomplish when they collaborate.