Teaching and Learning on the Web 
The emergence of the World Wide Web has been the largest and most important 
development for information delivery since the invention of the Guttenberg 
Press.  Guttenberg’s machine allowed for the mass distribution of books. This 
radically changed the landscape as prior to the press most books were literally 
copied by hand. The World Wide Web is equally as dramatic. Literally, any 
one can publish anything now via the Web.  Each individual can be a publisher 
and any one can access this information at anytime if they know where to look.

This has had a dramatic effect on education. A whole new method of delivering 
instruction has been opened up.  Classes can still be taught in traditional 
manners with additional instructional materials and contact time being available 
online.  Conversely, the entire course can be moved to the web. This frees the 
students and teachers from being limited by time or location.  However, it also 
creates new problems many of which are novel to the online environment.  How do 
we translate what works in teaching to the online environment?  How do 
librarians and faculty best instruct students in the ways to find credible 
information online? What are the best methods for teaching students to evaluate 
what they find on the Web and become educated information consumers? Further, 
what are the best ways for faculty to place information on the Web for student 
use? How does placing a course online change the needs of students who are 
taking the course?

These are not easy questions to answers. Teachers today are in the process of 
creating an entirely new method of delivering courses and instruction.  What 
works and what doesn’t work now will have a big influence on future 
instructional design on the web.  This creates an exciting time for educators.  
The opportunities to develop novel and innovative instruction for the online 
environment are many.  The first book publishers after Guttenberg’s Press 
literally invented the modern publishing world with their efforts.  The 
online teachers of today are the genesis of the new education world that is 
now in the process of developing.  It may be a long time before educators are 
placed in such an important role again.

This issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly shows the many ways that educators 
are dealing with teaching and learning on the web. This includes both American 
and international efforts. A variety of approaches and concerns are highlighted 
in the articles.  These include articles dealing with web course management 
software, training instructors to teach on the web, evaluating online 
information sources, and several articles dealing with teaching strategies.  
I believe this issue will be useful to the many of us who are striving to 
create quality online learning for our students.


Michael Lorenzen
Head of Reference Services
Central Michigan University