Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

The Virginia Tech Cybershcool: Critical Reflections on a Decade of Distance Learning on the Web with eTexts, On-line Courses, and Virtual Faculties

Dr Tim Luke, Jeremy Hunsinger.

In 1994, Virginia Tech’s College of Arts and Sciences launched an experiment in on-line learning: the Virginia tech Cyberschool. It became, in turn, one of the key foundational units in the development of an electronic point of publication (the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture), an electronic e-commerce site for student services (Virginia Tech Online), an entirely on-line MA program in Political Science (OLMA/PSCI), and a new campus-wide units devoted to supporting distance and distributed learning (the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning). The alleged ease with which this would all become possible due to the emergence of the WWW was overshadowed by the continuing challenges of overcoming cultural, institutional, and operational barriers with the faculty, the students and administration of the university. This paper will discuss the challenges posed by making such transformational changes as well as the continuities that endure in such higher educational settings despite their migration into digital spaces. The need to create much more than on-line work spaces is real, because these kinds of shifts represent a broader need to redirect many of the older professional practices, financial bases, and organizational powers that developed along with print-based university instruction.
Ten years later, the university is in many ways a very different place because of digitalization, on-line teaching, and electronic communication, but in other ways a lot of these changes in this one public university in Virginia and the USA also can be connected to other forces --
both inside and outside of the university -- that have used electronic technologies, changes in public economics, and shifts in global production to lessen the authority and importance of higher education.


Dr Tim Luke  (United States)
Program Chair, Government and International Affairs
Department of Political Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Timothy W. Luke is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. He also is the
Program Chair for Government and International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs, the Executive Director of the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning,, and he serves as Co-Director of the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. His most recent books are CAPITALISM, DEMOCRACY, AND ECOLOGY: DEPARTING FROM MARX (University of Illinois Press, 1999), THE POLITICS OF CYBERSPACE, ed. with Chris Toulouse (Routledge, 1998), and ECOCRITIQUE: CONTESTING THE POLITICS OF NATURE, ECONOMY, AND CULTURE (University of Minnesota Press, 1997). His latest book, MUSEUM POLITICS: POWERPLAYS AT THE EXHIBITION was published in Spring 2002 with the University of Minnesota Press.

Jeremy Hunsinger  (United States)

Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
Virginia Tech

  • Distance Learning
  • Electronic Texts
  • Learning Objects
  • Electronic Publishing Multimedia Learning

(60 min. Workshop, English)