Joe Old



Welcome to the Lite Tech course. I hope you find it useful.


The first thing I want to say is that I approach instructional technology from the point of view of a user – someone wanting to make good and immediate use of it in class – and not from the point of view of a technician. That means I want to make as much use of it as fast as possible without having to master entire programs. And you can do it!


There’s plenty of time for mastery, anyway, after getting a few of the basics down!


In any case, let me introduce myself:


I teach English and mass communication at El Paso Community College, where I have been since 1990. Prior to that, I was a journalist. I worked six years as a reporter and city editor at the El Paso Herald-Post, and prior to that four years at City News Bureau of Chicago.


I became interested in instructional technology in the early 1990s, before EPCC even had any kind of Internet support for students. That was, in fact, before even the World Wide Web caught on. We had a technology genius here named Don Furth who decided to bring the Freenet concept to El Paso. He did, and as far as I know it’s still running.


In the old days, everyone used only text browsers. It was sure different from the way things are now. In any case, Don introduced me to the Internet using a text browser. I thought I had seen the future, and immediately started to figure out ways I could use it in my classes. I did, and it was a blast. I eventually wrote a paper about it, and the school was kind enough to send me to a conference in Beijing, China, where I delivered it: “High-Tech Living on a Low-Tech Budget.” It was all about how to get by with minimal technology. The paper is available on the conference web site. (I doubt of many of the links still work, though!)


At the Asian-Pacific Web Conference, I heard one of the creators of the WWW speak. His name was Robert Cailliau. He gave some fascinating figures about how the web exploded from 1994 to 1998, the year of the conference. Those are available on a report I did for the conference. They are worth looking at because they also show how really new this phenomenon of the WWW is!


I hope you enjoy this short course. I have tried to make it simple and straightforward, aiming it specifically at people who know little about instructional technology. If there are things that are not clear in the course, please be sure to post questions on the discussion threads. If I – or your classmates! – can’t answer them immediately, I will try to find an answer for you.




Incidentally, I created this page in Word and saved it as a web page. It is the simplest way to create a web page. If you put the text in text blocks, you have a bit more control over where it goes on the page. Even if you don’t want to bother with that, you can still create a reasonable looking page by just putting text and pictures on a blank Word page.