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Carolina Courses Are OnLine

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CHAPEL HILL — Teachers are familiar with the standard excuses for late assignments: The dog ate my homework; the printer wasn'tworking. But here's the most au courant: My guest tried to make aphone call.

That was the reason offered by Sylvia Robinson when she took the finalexam for African Studies 40, one of four on-line classes offered lastspring in a pilot program by the UNC-CH Division of Continuing Education.

She explained that, with a houseful of revelers awaiting the start ofthe Atlanta Coast Conference basketball championship, she was typing awayon her computer when a guest unwittingly picked up the phone, cutting offthe modem connection between Robinson and the campus, and interrupting heressay response.

"I PANICKED!" Robinson, a middle-school teacher in Winston-Salem, wrotein an e-mail.

Fortunately, university staff quickly helped Robinson reconnect hercomputer so she could complete the exam.

Despite that snafu, Robinson said she will take on-line learning overtraditional, classroom-based learning any day.

"It beats commuting to Greensboro (to the campus of UNC-Greensboro) with its gridlock traffic, or, worse, icy roads," she wrote. "When AFRI 40meets Interstate 40, AFRI 40 wins in a shutout."

The university's Carolina Courses Online allows students to learn,study and earn credits for undergraduate courses electronically.Students communicate with classmates and teacher via e-mail anddiscussion forums, and are encouraged to tap the vast information andeducation resources of the Internet to complete assignments. Coursesare open to anyone with the necessary computer equipment; studentsneed not be admitted to the university to enroll.

This fall, nine on-line courses will be offered. They are:"Introduction to African Civilization,""The History of Western Art,""MajorAmerican Authors,""Geohazards and the Environment,""The World Since1945,""Introduction to Internet Issues,""General Physics,""Introduction toUrbanism and Planning" and "General Psychology."

Enrollment is taking place now. The fee is $375 per course and does notinclude textbooks or Internet access service. Students must enroll throughthe Division of Continuing Education, CB 1020, The Friday Center, UNC-CH,Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1020. Phones are 800-862-5669 or 919-962-1134. Faxis 919-962-5549.