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The Making of the Special Issue on the Application of Information Technologies to Engineering and Science Education

Marion O. Hagler, Kumamoto University
William M. Marcy, Texas Tech University
Jerry R. Yeargan, University of Arkansas
Kenneth R. Laker, University of Pennsylvania
Robert L. Sullivan, Florida Institute of Technology
David A. Conner, University of Alabama at Birmingham



Abstract

This special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education is an experimental team effort to identify and address some of the difficulties in applying information technologies to the creation, review, dissemination, and archiving of multimedia rich contributions in engineering and science education. The solicitation and review were done electronically using the WWW and a restricted access server. The dissemination of the contributions used WWW/CD-ROM technology as a practical means for electronically distributing and archiving multimedia material containing video, audio, graphics, and code. Permission was granted by the IEEE Publications Board to make the issue accessible on a WWW server for a four month period beginning two months before publication.

Contributions were submitted in two parts: a manuscript for publication in the printed Transactions and material for web accessible publication on CD-ROM. Detailed instructions for electronic submission of contributions consistent with ISO 9660 standards were enforced to alleviate excessive costly translations and to underscore the importance of the need for the continued development of user friendly authoring software.

The IEEE Education Society teamed with several co-sponsors to produce this issue. The co-sponsors include the IEEE Foundation, the IEEE Educational Activities Board, the IEEE Technical Activities Board, the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education, the IEEE Computer Society, the International Engineering Consortium, the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the IEEE Engineering Management Society. Without the support of these organizations and societies the issue would not have been possible.

The IEEE Education Society Administrative Committee is reviewing the need to transition its current Transactions, which does not support the membership's interest in multimedia research and development, to an electronic journal by the beginning of the next century -- which is four short years away. A phased transition is necessary because the current capability of many of its members to connect to the web to download contributions of interest is limited.

Introduction

Growing interest in the application of information technologies to engineering and science education during the past decade is based on the promise that multimedia information enhances learning, that information technologies permit the learning environment to adapt to the learning strengths of the student, and that learning through these approaches can be fun and engaging. Moreover, information technologies permit the creation of asynchronous learning environments that are useful for distance learners, as well as students on campus.

Despite the promised advantages, the implementation of information technologies to provide enhanced educational environments has proved difficult. Routine use of information technologies in the majority of engineering courses has yet to occur. Obstacles to implementation include the difficulty in creating and developing content materials, the substantial learning curve for authoring software, and the necessary expertise in artistic production and software development for production of the learning environments. Each endeavor resembles a research project more than a straightforward development project. Even when appropriate software is available, many universities have found it difficult to implement the technologies because of the initial cost of the hardware, as well as the difficulty in maintaining and modernizing it. An even more fundamental difficulty is the widespread conviction among faculty that development of interactive learning environments that employ information technologies rewards the developer with little international visibility or recognition. Until these issues are addressed, participation by university educators in the development of educational technologies and their use will be limited.

What is needed to addresses these difficulties? The cost of hardware, fortunately, continues to decrease so that increasing numbers of students purchase powerful notebook or desktop machines. As a consequence, the direct costs to universities for purchasing, maintaining, and updating the necessary hardware may become a manageable problem, especially as courseware that students find particularly useful and compelling becomes available. To develop such courseware, easy-to-use authoring systems are essential, however. Just as the relatively small market for most engineering and science textbooks means that faculty (rather than full-time text book authors) write most of them, the small market for specialized technical learning environments that rely on information technologies likely means that faculty must author most of these environments, as well. To be successful, most faculty must have available to them authoring tools for courseware that are as easy to use and as powerful as, for example, the best modern word processors and spreadsheets.

Once courseware and content have been developed, appropriate forums for sharing and demonstrating them must be in place so that faculty members can exploit the complex learning environments developed by others instead of beginning anew. Such forums not only improve faculty productivity, they promote visibility and widespread use of the best environments. Databases of reusable educational content for those educators who are casual users and archival journals are examples of such forums. In practice, the forums are most effective when de facto standards emerge for the critical aspects (file formats, architecture, and software, for example) of information technologies applied to engineering and science education [1]. Without standards, little sharing of the learning environments, and consequently, little recognition of the authors, can occur. Taken together, however, forums and their concomitant standards permit recognition and widespread implementation of the best work.

This special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education is an experimental effort to address some of the difficulties in practical implementations of information technologies to engineering and science education. It, for example, archives peer reviewed contributions related to the application of information technologies to engineering and science education, as well as provides international visibility for them. This feature and others of the special issue rely heavily on the combination of CD-ROM and World Wide Web (WWW) technology. Each copy of the special issue is accompanied by a CD-ROM that is an important complement to the printed pages. Although the CD-ROM contains electronic versions of many of the printed contributions, its main purpose is to permit distribution and archiving of special material related to the printed articles. Examples include software (executable files, source code and even installation software), color graphics, video files, sound files and postscript files. Cross-platform compatibility is achieved by recording the CD-ROM according to ISO Standard 9660 and treating it essentially as a World Wide Web (WWW) server so that WWW browsers (such as Netscape, Mosaic and others) running on Microsoft Windows machines, Macintoshes or UNIX machines can all view the same files on the same CD-ROM.

This approach to cross-platform compatibility exploits the de facto standards that the recent explosive popularity of the WWW have generated.[2] Authors of contributions to the special issue were strongly encouraged to use, as much as possible, the file formats that are accessible, through typical WWW browser installations, to users of all three major platforms so that their contributions will reach the broadest possible audience. Executable files and other platform specific files were also accepted, however. Each contribution received an allocation of at least 10 MB of space on the CD-ROM.

Objectives of the Special Issue

A primary objective of this special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education is to enhance communication between those in different disciplines who are working to apply information technologies to engineering and science education. These workers have much in common that is not bounded by discipline. A second important objective is to demonstrate WWW/CD-ROM technology as a practical means for journals to archive software and multimedia material.

To consider more specific objectives of this special issue, it is helpful to consider the functions of an archival journal in more detail. If the three main functions of publishing a journal are (1) screening and reviewing contributions, (2) disseminating the contributions, and (3) archiving the contributions, then it is easy to see that the special issue offers the opportunity to learn about the impact of CD-ROM/WWW technology on all three.[3]

First, the editors demonstrated a paperless review process [4]. The files for both the printed and CD-ROM parts of each contribution were placed on a controlled access WWW server for viewing and/or downloading by the reviewers, who transmitted their reviews by e-mail. (Authors were required to submit both their manuscripts and CD-ROM material in file format.) This approach also facilitated the preparation of the contributions for publication on the CD-ROM by allowing reviewers to check file formats, compatibility with standards (ISO 9660) and so forth. An important advantage of the paperless review process is that international reviewers could easily participate in the review process.

Second, we are conducting an experiment [4] on electronic distribution of the special issue. The experiment is to place the special issue on a widely publicized WWW server during a period extending from two months before publication of the special issue until two months after publication in order to promote the special issue and to collect access data. International readers of the IEEE Transactions on Education should benefit especially from the availability of the special issue on the WWW because they will have access to the contents of the special issue considerably earlier than would be possible by mail. We expect this experiment to give us some data to assess the WWW as a complementary vehicle for distribution and promotion of journal content.

Third, including a CD-ROM with each copy of the issue demonstrates CD-ROM technology as a practical means of archiving software and multimedia material. It is noteworthy that very little of the software produced during the computer era has been archived. Widely available archiving for large amounts of software and multimedia packages is possible for the first time through CD-ROM technology.

In addition to demonstrations related to the fundamentals of archival publication, the special issue has permitted assessment of authors' interest making contributions in the topical area of the application of information technologies to engineering and science education. Moreover, it has initiated cooperative publishing efforts in the application of information technologies to engineering and science education by several different professional societies. A joint publication should make it easier for members of diverse technical societies to share expertise in this area, the interest in which transcends any single technical society. Finally, publication of the special issue has given the participants experience in dealing with the practical details of cost and timing related to publication of an archival journal accompanied by a CD-ROM.

Call for Papers

The call for papers for the special issue encouraged contributions related to philosophy, strategy and tactics of applying information technologies to engineering and science education, as well as those related to more technical topics that include interactive learning environments, multimedia, networks, distance learning, virtual reality, demonstrations, simulators, software, hardware and all other aspects of information technologies applied to instruction in engineering and science, both at educational institutions and in industry. The call for papers directed those interested in contributing to contact the Guest Editor for detailed instructions for submission.

The call for papers was first issued in March 1995 at the joint meeting of the National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association (NEEDHA) and the Mechanical Engineering Department Heads in Nashville, Tennessee. It announced August 31, 1995, as the deadline for contributions. It also announced a publication date of August 1996. Copies of the Call for Papers were also distributed at the 1995 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in Anaheim, CA.

Original Instructions for Submission

According to the original instructions for submission, contributions could consist of two components. A manuscript for publication in the traditional (paper) portion of the special issue was mandatory. As a second component, authors could choose to contribute material for publication in the CD-ROM portion of the special issue. Both the manuscripts and the contributions for the CD-ROM portion of the issue were to be submitted on 3.5 inch floppy disks in PC file format. The instructions were formulated to be consistent with the IEEE requirements, in effect at that time, for electronic submission of contributions for publication. MS-DOS file naming conventions were specified as a simple means of achieving compatibility with the ISO 9660 standard so that the CD-ROM disks could be read on either of the three major platforms. To be consistent with the de facto file format standards on the WWW, authors were strongly encouraged to use the following file formats [4]:

Files for specific platforms were accepted for inclusion on the CD-ROM although authors were cautioned that many readers would be unable to access them.

As an introduction and interface to the files contributed in conjunction with a manuscript, the authors were strongly encouraged to prepare and contribute, in addition, an HTML file that would help readers make use of the contributed files. Explanations, quick start information, and help files were mentioned as possibilities. If we were preparing the call for papers now, we would require all authors to submit their contributions for the printed part of the issue as HTML files. By now, a variety of HTML editors, converters from common wordprocessor formats to HTML and converters from LaTex are all readily available. Having the manuscript available in HTML format would make it much simpler for reviewers to access it from the WWW server for review.

For contributors with large files (each contribution was allotted up to 10 MB on the CD-ROM without special permission), sending the files on floppy disks was inconvenient, so some contributors were permitted to submit their contributions by FTP. If we were preparing the call for papers now, we would require all authors to submit their contributions via FTP to a controlled access server. With that approach, submission can be paperless, and simpler, for the contributors. Each author would be given a unique password so that they could FTP their submissions directly to their own subdirectory. Only after they tested and verified the files would the contributions be moved to the WWW server for access by reviewers.

The Paperless Review Process

An experimental paperless review process was possible because all contributions were submitted in file format. The files for each contribution were placed in separate directories on a controlled access WWW server. Files for the manuscript and for the CD-ROM were placed in separate subdirectories. Difficulties arose when authors did not submit their contributions in the proper file formats and when reviewers did not have helper applications or viewers installed on their WWW browsers that corresponded to all of the acceptable file formats. Difficulty also arose when contributions that included platform specific software, such as executable files, were reviewed by someone who used a different hardware platform. In many cases, reviewers were able to locate a nearby machine of the appropriate platform and complete the review. With the benefit of hindsight, we could have taken more care in matching reviewers and contributions according to hardware platforms. The process is discussed more fully elsewhere.[4]

Some of the submitted files appeared to be in an acceptable format but could not be read with what should have been appropriate viewers. Often, this difficulty appeared to arise when authors, attempting to comply with the file format specifications, saved their files in an unfamiliar format and had no conveniently available means to check whether or not the conversion was successful.

Instructions for Submission of Contributions in Final Form

After the initial review process, those authors whose contributions were accepted were asked to submit their contributions according to revised instructions for submission that reflected new flexibility in electronic submission of files for printed publications by the IEEE. Instructions for submitting modified versions of the contributed files via FTP to the controlled access server were also included. Indeed, authors were strongly encouraged to submit their revised contributions via FTP and all did so. The instructions addressed, in addition, copyright issues and referred questions about copyrights to William J. Hagen, IEEE Copyright Manager. The modified instructions were placed on a controlled access WWW server and included hyperlinks to IEEE copyright WWW pages and e-mail hyperlinks to Bill Hagen and the associate editors so that it was easy for authors to ask questions by e-mail. At the request of the IEEE Education Society, IEEE approved waiving the republication fee for authors of contributions to the special issue, although authors must obtain permission from IEEE for each reuse and include reference to the special issue as the original source.

The WWW Server

A controlled access WWW server was set up and maintained at Texas Tech University by Multimedia Associate Editor William M. Marcy. The server was a Pentium 90 running Windows NT Workstation. Contributions for both the printed portion of the special issue and for the accompanying CD-ROM were placed on this WWW server and made available, initially, only to the editors and to reviewers for viewing and/or downloading. Early in the review process, however, contributors expressed interest in checking their files on the server. Because the server had been set up with a single password to give access to all contributions, the editors asked contributors, by e-mail, if they objected to all contributors having access to all contributions. No objections were raised, so contributors were given access to all contributions. Certain parts of the controlled access server, which contained identities of the reviewers, for example, could be accessed only by the editors, however.

Because a number of file compression formats were listed as acceptable in the instructions for submission, a number of the reviewers asked for help in decompressing the files so that they could be viewed after downloading. The Multimedia Associate Editor posted information and shareware compression utilities on the controlled access server for the convenience of the reviewers. He also responded to e-mail requests for help in installing appropriate helper applications or viewers in WWW browsers so that files of various formats could be viewed. In retrospect, the editors understand that such a page, with extensive helpful notes, as well as downloadable files, should have been provided from the start.

A publicly accessible home page for the special issue was established in June, 1996. Shirlene Hagler composed the home page and related HTML documents, including the Table of Contents document, for both the WWW server and the CD-ROM. A publicly accessible home page could have been useful much earlier in the project, particularly beginning with the issuance of the call for papers in March, 1995.

The CD-ROM

Multimedia Associate Editor William M. Marcy built the CD-ROM content mainly with files submitted by contributors. This process involved checking the files carefully to see that they were compatible with the ISO 9660 format standards, structuring them into appropriate directories, and recording them on a write-once CD-ROM that was sent to IEEE Publications for production and packaging with the paper portion of the issue. In a sense, he began building the file structure for the CD-ROM as soon as the contributed files began to arrive during the summer of 1995. During the review process, the editors and reviewers discovered and remedied many problems in the submitted files. This approach permitted some work on building the CD-ROM to be accomplished early in the production cycle of the special issue.

Authors were encouraged to include links in their HTML documents to URLs external to the CD-ROM with the condition that the contribution stand alone as an archival contribution without the external links, which eventually will disappear.

For simplicity, search capabilities in the CD-ROM portion of the special issue rely mainly on the search capabilities built into WWW browsers. For contributions on the CD-ROM, it is possible to search a single HTML Table of Contents document that contains a table of authors, titles and keywords to find hyperlinks to contributions which correspond to given name, keyword, or word that appears in the title of the contribution. Once a document that corresponds to a particular word is open, the search capabilities of the browser once again can be used to find instances of that word in the document. The Table of Contents document also contains contact information for each author. This arrangement means that it is possible to use the browser to search according to institutional affiliation, as well. In the contact information section of the Table of Contents, the names and affiliations of authors are linked to appropriate home pages, if available.

Sponsors

An important goal for the special issue and its attendant experiments is to achieve the highest visibility and broadest distribution possible. To that end, other professional organizations were invited to join the IEEE Education Society as co-sponsors as a means of increasing visibility and distribution for the special issue. Co-sponsors were asked to provide reviewers for the special issue, as well as financial support for copies of the special issue that the co-sponsors received. The IEEE Computer Society, the International Engineering Consortium, the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and the IEEE Engineering Management Society joined the project as co-sponsors. There are, of course, added costs in the production of the special issue beyond the incremental cost for producing extra copies for co-sponsors. Substantial financial support was provided by the IEEE Foundation, the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation, the IEEE Educational Activities Board and the IEEE Technical Activities Board.

People Involved in Publication of the Special Issue

The organization of the volunteers involved in the special issue, including professional affiliations, is as follows:

As Guest Editor, Marion Hagler (IEEE, Kumamoto University; on leave from Texas Tech University) led in the formulation of specific plans for the special issue. Beginning October 1, 1995, he was on leave from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Texas Tech University. He viewed the contributions to the special issue via the WWW and accomplished most of the required communication via e-mail.

As Periodical Associate Editor, Jerry Yeargan (IEEE, University of Arkansas) was responsible for assigning reviewers for each contribution and overseeing the reviews to completion. The Review Committee, who assisted in the review process, consisted of Jorge I. Aunon (IEEE, Texas Tech University), David A. Conner (IEEE, University of Alabama at Birmingham), Susan A. Mengel (ASEE, University of Arkansas), G. P. "Bud" Petersen (ASME, Texas A & M University), and Michael Salkind (ASME, Ohio Aerospace Institute).

As Multimedia Associate Editor, William M. Marcy (IEEE, Texas Tech University) was responsible for setting up and maintaining the WWW server and for preparing the CD-ROM for publication. The Multimedia Advisory Committee consisted of Burks Oakley II (IEEE, University of Illinois), Willis J. Thompkins (IEEE, University of Wisconsin, Madison), Mark A. Yoder (IEEE, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), Shirlene Hagler, Geoffrey Marcy (Semiotic Media Labs) and Mark Takacs (Sterling Software).

As Financial Associate Editor, Kenneth R. Laker (IEEE, University of Pennsylvania) was responsible for soliciting needed financial support for the special issue. The Finance Committee consisted of Robert L. Sullivan (President, IEEE Education Society), Peter Grosewald (Treasurer, IEEE Education Society), and Marion Hagler (Guest Editor).

As the 1995-96 President of the IEEE Education Society, the lead professional society in the publication of the special issue, Robert L. Sullivan (IEEE, Florida Institute of Technology) has led in developing co-sponsorship agreements with the IEEE Computer Society, the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and the International Engineering Consortium and in securing additional financial assistance from the IEEE Foundation.

As 1994-1995 IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities, Kenneth R. Laker saw the need for a special publication related to the application of information technologies to engineering and science education and led in the formation of an informal group that developed specific plans for this special issue. He views the special issue as an opportunity to gauge the interest in such a publication both by contributors and users. He is particularly interested in meeting the longer term need for a publication in this area either through modifying the scope of an existing journal or the establishment of a new journal. As 1996 IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities, Jerry R. Yeargan gave continued support to the special issue.

Henry Bachman served as liaison to the IEEE Foundation. Margaret C. Weeks served as liaison to the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education. Kenneth R. Laker and Jerry R. Yeargan served as liaisons to the IEEE Educational Activities Board. Bruce Eisenstein served as liaison to the IEEE Technical Activities Board. Doris Carver served as liaison to the IEEE Computer Society. Robert M. Janowiak served as liaison to the International Engineering Consortium. Rui de Figueiredo served as liaison to the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. Michael Salkind served as liaison to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Gus Gaynor served as liaison to the IEEE Engineering Management Society.

Fran Zappulla and Klaus Gutfeld of the IEEE publications staff coordinated, respectively, publication of the printed journal and the CD-ROM. William J. Hagen of the IEEE staff assisted the authors and contributors with copyright issues. Thomas J. Perry served as staff liaison to the ASME.

Schedule of Publication

Kenneth R. Laker began informal discussion about the need for an archival publication for educational software and multimedia material in mid-1994. After lengthy e-mail discussions led by Marion Hagler, a group interested in a multimedia archival publication met during the 1994 Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference in San Jose. This group decided to attempt publication of a special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education that would include a CD-ROM disk. The group consisted of Kenneth R. Laker, David A. Conner, Jerry R. Yeargan, Robert L. Sullivan, Jorge I. Aunon and Marion Hagler. Subsequent to this meeting, the idea of organizing the CD-ROM as a WWW server to achieve cross-platform file compatibility arose during a December 1994 conference call that included IEEE volunteers and staff, in addition to the group that met at FIE '94. Mark Haas, an IEEE Computer Society volunteer, suggested the idea and Mark Takacs, who had experience with that approach with the CD-ROM version of the proceedings for the IGARSS '94 Conference, subsequently confirmed its practicality. In March 1995, the IEEE Education Society approved proceeding with the special issue and a preliminary call for papers was distributed at the joint meeting of the National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association and the Mechanical Engineering Department Heads. The due date for papers was set for September 1, 1995, and the date of publication was listed as August 1996. As an experiment, with the clear understanding that it did not set a precedent, and that access data be collected and analyzed, W. Kenneth Dawson, IEEE Vice President - Publications, communicated in July 1995 permission of the IEEE Publications Board to make the contents of the special issue available on the WWW two months before and after publication of the special issue. Initial reviews of most contributions were completed by early February1996 and revised contributions were due in late February 1996. Reviews of most revised contributions were completed in early April 1996. Revised versions of both manuscript files and files for the CD-ROM, including updates and file format corrections, were accepted until early July 1996. Manuscript files were submitted, via FTP, to IEEE Publications by the Multimedia Associate Editor beginning in late May 1996 and continuing until early June, 1996. The CD-ROM portion became available on the WWW on June 17, 1996. Publication of the special issue should be near the originally scheduled publication date of August 1996.

Costs

The incremental costs of this special issue in comparison with a typical issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education arise from three main factors. First, the issue contains more papers than a typical issue. Second, extra copies of the special issue were published for distribution by co-sponsors. Third, the CD-ROM disk distributed with each copy of the special issue adds to the cost. The cost of co-sponsorship was designed to cover the incremental costs of producing the issues that were distributed by the co-sponsors. We wished to attract co-sponsors primarily to initiate cooperative efforts and provide increased visibility for the special issue. The extra cost for replicating, packaging, and mailing the CD-ROM (approximately 6,800 in quantity) with each copy of the special issue averaged less than $3 per copy. This cost does not include that of producing the write-once CD-ROM that was provided to the IEEE for replication. That CD-ROM was prepared solely by the editors and contributors. Less than one-fourth of the space on the CD-ROM was filled. Each printed copy of a 100 page issue of the Transactions on Education (normal run of 5,000 copies) costs about $6 per copy, delivered. Because substantial space would be available on the CD-ROM at essentially no extra cost, it may be possible in future efforts to decrease substantially the number of printed pages by placing much of the content on the CD-ROM. That approach to publication offers the possibility of holding costs fairly constant while simultaneously increasing the volume of publication (and thereby decreasing delays) and permitting authors to enrich their contributions with multimedia content.

As a small experiment related to decreasing the number of printed pages and increasing the use of the CD-ROM, the printed version of this contribution consists only of an extended abstract while the main content exists on the CD-ROM as an HTML file.

Conclusion

We believe that this special issue has established the viability of a mixed media journal on the Applications of Information Technologies to Engineering and Science Education. The early decision to encourage authors to submit their papers as HTML files, with mixed-media files conforming to a limited set of WWW compatible and platform independent file standards, was a very important step. In the future we believe that compliance with these file standards should become mandatory. Otherwise the burden of translating files, while preserving the look-and-feel anticipated by the author, will unnecessarily drive up the cost of mixed-media publications. Furthermore, the concept of organizing the CD-ROM as a WWW server enabled the CD-ROM to include links to several off-the-CD resources such as the home pages of the special issue contributors.

Our hope is that this special issue has helped promote the principle that those defining the cutting edge of the application of information technologies to education are doing research every bit as legitimate as the research in such areas as electron devices or information theory. These contributors deserve the same visibility and rewards. By publishing in this special issue, their work is in the public domain for all educators to use to advance their teaching. Thus, the potential impact of each contributor's work is greatly magnified. It is our hope that readers will make liberal use of all or parts of the works included in this special issue and that such use will include proper reference and acknowledgment of those who contributed the work. We believe that as this basic courtesy becomes standard, contributors will be encouraged to make their works available to the education community at large and therefore enrich the educational experience for all of our students.

References

1. Marion O. Hagler, Kenneth R. Laker, William M. Marcy, Jerry R. Yeargan, Robert L. Sullivan and David A. Conner, "Standards, the Virtual University and CD-ROM/WWW Technology," Proceedings of the ASEE International Conference on Engineering Education and Practice (CD-ROM), Washington, D. C., June 21-23, 1996.

2. The first use of WWW browsers to view CD-ROMs of which we are aware was for the Proceedings of the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) '94. See http://stargate.jpl.nasa.gov/ddl/igarss/ for a most useful account of that experience. Mark Takacs, Sterling Software, a part of the IGARSS '94 proceedings publication team, provided early and valuable advice to the Guest Editor and Multimedia Associate Editor based on the IGARSS '94 experience. Other early examples of viewing CD-ROM versions of conference proceedings with WWW browsers are the 1995 Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference and the 1995 Frontiers in Education Conference.

3. Attracting and collecting contributions could be added as a fourth function. Collecting the revised contributions to the special issue by FTP, as discussed below, relates to this function. Use of the WWW has grown to the point now that placing a call for papers on the WWW likely would attract a significant number of contributions.

4. Marion Hagler, William M. Marcy and Jerry R. Yeargan, "CD-ROM/WWW Technology: A Pragmatic Approach to Cross-Platform Archival Publication," ACM Applied Computing Review Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 16-18 (1995).