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While the "basic course in communication" can vary from one institution to another, often in significant ways, there are also forces within the discipline of communication that have established basic parameters and standards for constructing, maintaining, altering, and evaluating what many within the discipline readily identify as "the basic course." The identity of the basic course does, however, undergo changes and transformations, some of which are exerted by forces external to the educational system. This paper suggests that a series of forces external to the discipline of communication and the educational system are exerting overwhelmingly powerful influences upon the basic course. The paper focuses particularly on the possibilities created by the World Wide Web and how Web page options of the basic course are likely to affect the basic course itself, the relationships among the faculty involved in the basic course from school to school, and how the discipline of communication itself--especially through the various professional organizations--should, not must, respond to the technological transformations provided by the World Wide Web. First, the paper examines and extracts the basic features of a policy research analysis as a method for analyzing a problematic situation. Second, it applies this method to the forces currently transforming the basic course. Finally, it isolates and identifies several policy areas and propositions that suggest ways of dealing with the web page option of the basic course in ways that foster cooperation, the shared use of resources, and pool pedagogical insights when responding to the technological changes embedded in the Web page option of the basic course. (Contains 1 table and 42 references.) (NKA)

Descriptors: College Instruction, Educational Policy, General Education, Higher Education, Introductory Courses, Speech Communication, World Wide Web

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Autor: Chesebro, James W.; Worley, David


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