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3/18/96

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Course on cathedrals to be on Channel 51 - for credit

STANFORD -- Stanford's Continuing Studies Program will offer the course "Gothic Cathedrals and Great Churches of England, 1150-1350" on cable's Channel 51 this spring for two units of credit, tuition-free, as part of a pilot program.

The 10-week course, taught by sociologist Robert Scott of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, was videotaped as it was taught "live" during winter quarter. The class will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on 10 successive Thursdays beginning April 4, and repeats will be broadcast each following Sunday at 8 p.m.

Viewers who enroll in the course will be able to join an on-line discussion moderated by Scott. Those who enroll for credit will submit written work and other projects for evaluation and a grade.

Because this is a pilot program, no tuition is being charged; however, a $30 registration fee will be charged for those who want credit. (On-campus Continuing Studies students pay $135 per unit for lecture courses.) People who want to register for the televised course can contact Continuing Studies at (415) 725-2650.

During the course, registered students will be contacted from time to time by Continuing Studies staff members, who will ask for feedback and suggestions on the experimental program.

"Gothic Cathedrals" examines English cathedrals and great churches in historical context. The class explores why bishops and kings built cathedrals, and some of the political, economic and socio-cultural effects cathedrals had on the wider society.

The course also studies building techniques, how work was organized, and the nature of the building trades involved in the monumental task of erecting these complex structures. Scott delivers six of the lectures, and four visiting lecturers teach the others.

More Continuing Studies courses are expected to be offered in the future, with increasingly sophisticated systems enabling "distance-learning" students to get the most out of the experience using the Internet and other infrastructures, said Charles Junkerman, associate dean of continuing studies.

The pilot program got off the ground last quarter, with weekly broadcasts of "The War on Drugs: History, Policy and Alternatives," which was taught on campus in the fall by Hoover Institution Research Fellow Joseph McNamara. Though not offered for credit, the McNamara course featured a World Wide Web site where viewers could download written information, follow Internet links to related sites and interact with the instructors and other students.

The Web site for "Gothic Cathedrals" has not yet been constructed. Prospective students should contact Continuing Studies the first week of April to obtain the URL, or electronic address, Junkerman said.

Channel 51, Stanford's cable television channel, made its debut in September and can be seen in about 25,000 households in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton, as well as in all university residences and academic buildings that are wired for cable television.

In addition to showing selected Continuing Studies courses, Channel 51 offers a range of Stanford programming, from sporting events to lectures and interview shows, and runs daily and weekly calendars of campus events and other visitor information.

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