Keith Seabourn guest edits this edition of the Real Issue. Seabourn joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1976, and served in Africa for 15 years. He joined Christian Leadership Ministries in 1992 and directs CLM's Internet project.
Internet, WorldWide Web, Information Superhighwaythese words fill our newspapers and airwaves. "But can they help us be more effective as educators and scholars?" you might ask yourself. "Can they help us reach our world more effectively?" This edition of the Real Issue explores these questions.
Throughout history, God has given his people diverse media for mass communication. Since the printing press, however, His church has been slow to adopt each new medium. Radio, film, and television were all first exploited by the secular world. Now, the Lord has given His people another timely medium to utilize in communicating His timeless truthsthe Internet. This newest medium is very different; it is interactive. The user can determine what is viewed, how it is viewed, and when it is viewed.
Leadership University, Christian Leadership Ministries' Web project, is a "virtual campus" created to provide professors and college students with information to minister effectively in the current American academic scene. The mission of LU is to defend the faith anywhere in the world in less than five minutes. An article in this edition examines this "virtual campus" in detail. Also enclosed is a "Campus Shuttle Bus Route" that will help you navigate this site using a WorldWide Web browser.
But apart from directly communicating the gospel, can this newest medium help you to become more effective as a Christian professor or faculty member?
Inside this issue, Don Bouldin, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee, discusses in an interview how he has integrated the WorldWide Web into his courses. Bouldin discusses how using the WWW has increased the quality of interaction with his students, made him more effective and efficient as a teacher, enhanced his research, and aided in obtaining information for grant proposals.
Fred Holtzman, professor of education at the University of Tennessee, takes us on a tour of the future of higher education considering the communication advances the Internet offers. He examines questions like: What will education look like five years into the future? What are the implications of the new technologies? His conclusion has serious implications for educators today.
Douglas Yeo, bass trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a faculty member of Boston University, debunks the idea that the Internet is for computer sophisticates. He chronicles his journey from a computer novice to a producer of pages for the WorldWide Web. The driving force behind his metamorphosis was his vision of how this communication technology, expressed through LU, could "bring resources shaped by Truth to students and faculty around the world in a matter of minutes."
Stan Oakes, national director of Christian Leadership Ministries, issues a call for papers. He invites professors everywhere to join in participating in Leadership U.'s goal of housing 100,000 articles and 10,000 annotated bibliographies of the best information informed by a biblical worldview.
Perhaps the most significant reason to become literate in this new medium is the perception the secular world has of us as Christians. George Barna, in his insightful book The Frog in the Kettle (Regal Books, 1990), speaks about the importance of Christians using modern technology: "[It] will also send a signal to the community that the church is relevant and informed about what's really going on in society. It will be increasingly difficult to convince the unchurched, and those who are questioning Christianity, that our faith is pertinent to the 21st century if the tools of our trade are from the last century ." [p. 60, emphasis mine].
We invite you to examine how you can use the Internet to become more effective as a professor and minister of the gospel.