Wheaton Wire, April 1993

The Wheaton College Academic Computing Center (ACC) underwent several major changes over the course of this year, says Director Fred Kollett. The biggest and most recent of these changes is the installation of a new UNIX mainframe computer, which allows members of the Wheaton community direct access to Internet. The Internet is a large computer network made of education institutions such as Wheaton, as well as other computer related organizations.

The most commonly used resource of this new system is electronic mail, which allows a person at Wheaton to write a letter to a friend or colleague at another school across the country or around the world. Once your letter is written, it can be sent with the click of a button, and the other party will receive it in seconds. Such an e-mail system isn't new to Wheaton, but the newer computer makes the process easier than ever before. Kollett says that only about 1/3 of Wheaton students use the system, and hopes that "more students will take the initiative to obtain e-mail accounts... most of their friends at other schools probably have access, and it's a good way to keep in touch."

Kollett also says that it's possible that in the fall, incoming first-year students will have an account automatically created for them. Hopefully, this will make it easier for new students to use the system.

In addition, Kollett stressed the fact that the Internet "has many valuable uses," and is not just an electronic mail service. File transfers are also available, as well as "talk" facilities, which allow to users to "converse" simultaneously. Over the summer, Kollett and ACC workers will be "exploring possible additional uses such as newsfeeds and a local Bulletin Board system." Newsfeeds at Wheaton would make it possible to read news on specific or general interests from around the world on computer, and even contribute articles of your own. A local bulletin board system would allow Wheaton news to be posted on the computer as a sort of on-line information service about college events.

Kollett also encourages use of e-mail as a method of promoting computer literacy. He says he's "a firm believer in encouraging use of technology step by step, and learning how to use electronic mail is a good first step."

The staff at the ACC encourages anyone with an interest in a UNIX account to obtain one. The service is free to all members of the Wheaton community, and help is readily available from the ACC. In addition, the Wheaton Computer Users group is in the process of restructuring, and is a good resource for assistance. Contact Stephen Amster, Box w0023 or via e-mail for information on meeting times and how to become involved with the group.


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