October 24,1997

  • Bear Facts:

  • Teacher Review: Is Your Teacher Making the Grade?

  • Web Basics Part 3: Yahoo! Save Time by Learning More About Search Engines

  • - - - Who is the Teacher Review Webmaster? Full Story


    By John Caldera
    Guardsman Features Editor

    The Natural Edge & Jazzland

    Located in the lower level of the Associated Student Union, this unique juice and java cafe' has something for everyone. If you need to quick start your day, their gourmet coffee's and espresso drinks are second to none. To quote one student, " It's the best coffee on campus." If your sweet tooth needs satisfying, their pastries and cookies go great with whatever hot or cold beverage you choose. For all you health nuts out there, their smoothies and fresh squeezed juices are excellent.

    Rally, Rally, Rally!!!

    Carrying signs stating, "Students have Rights," "City College Admin. is Unfair," and "This is about Student Rights," a number of boisterous students marched to the Administration Offices of City College on Gough Street on Wednesday, October 22. Chanting - "Students have the right to organize and fight", and "Peter, Peter, you can't hide we can see your greedy side," this peaceful demonstration ended with an impromptu meeting between members of the City College Administration and officers of the Associated Students. In response Peter Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer of City College of San Francisco stated, "There is a great deal of misinformation about the Administration position on these issues."

    Be there for the March

    Take a stand, add your voice, and join other City College students, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and few thousand close friends for the protest 209 march titled "Save the Dream" on the State Capital on Monday, October 27. Buses are scheduled to leave the Phelan Campus at 8:00 a.m. For more information call 239-3107. Ask for Scott Brown

    "Stakes is High"

    A Bay Area student conference on Homelessness and poverty is scheduled for Saturday, November 8 at San Francisco State Student Union from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A number of workshops and discussions will cover issues such as Civil Rights, Housing and Tenants Issues, Welfare "Deform," and Drugs and Homelessness. For more information please call Gabriella Schultz at (415) 561-1858.

    Queer Activities

    Join BI-GALA for a pre-Halloween Bash on October 30 from noon to 2:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Student Union. Free refreshments and drinks will be provided, costumes are optional. Also join BI-GALA as they prepare for the military's return to City College. BI-GALA meets every Wed. from 12:10 - 1:00 p.m. and Thurs. from 2:10 - 3:00 p.m.

    Web Basics Part 3: Yahoo!

    Save Time by Learning More About Search Engines

    By Eugene Bronstein
    Guardsman Staff Writer Imagine a library with a million books and no librarians. In fact, imagine that there is no library building. Rather, each book is housed in someone's home. Imagine that you need one of those books -- you just don't know which one or where it is. Welcome to the World Wide Web.

    The Web is a wealth of information, but finding what you need can be problematic. There are over 100 million pages of information available online. Although search engines and directories help, they cause problems as well as solve them.

    But first, a few myths about the Web. Contrary to the hype, you can't find everything on the Web. Not everything on the Web is free. Some information sources charge for their content. The quality and depth of detail vary widely, and you can't believe everything you see on the Web.

    Let's try searching for information, and you'll see how involved the process can be. I've picked the topic "How to search for information on the Web".

    A search engine or directory is a good starting point, particularly if you have no other sources of information. My usual starting point is Yahoo, at http://www.yahoo.com/.

    One reason I like to start at Yahoo is that you can easily narrow your search by category. In this case, I'll choose the category "Computers and Internet" and the sub-category "WWW".

    If you try it, you'll see that this brings up a search screen which gives us the option of only searching in the sub-category "World Wide Web".

    Being able to restrict what you search through is important. With over 100 million web pages out there, you need to limit the amount of information you have to look at. Search engines and directories generally give you a brief description of the page and the web address of that page. By clicking on that web address you go to that page.

    What happens if you don't limit your search? Well, I typed in the word "internet" and asked Yahoo to look everywhere for references to "internet". The results were 4,508 categories and 31,777 pages. Pass the caffeine, it's going to be a long night.

    By restricting that search to just the "World Wide Web" category, a list of only 286 sites is returned. Still a lot, but really a lot more manageable.

    So, lesson one is try to restrict what you search for. On Yahoo you can do this by selecting a category and/or subcategory. But there are over 500 search engines available and not all of them allow that kind of selection.

    Another type of search restriction is widely available. Simply use multiple words when searching. In our example, try searching for "internet research". Searching all of Yahoo produces 839 sites matching those two words. By searching for "internet research" only in the "World Wide Web" category, Yahoo gives us just 35 sites to look through -- not too bad considering that when we started, we didn't know which of the 100 million pages we should look at.

    But we can get even more specific. If we type internet research as just two words, most search engines will look for pages with either word. But, if we enclose those words in double quotes, as in "internet research", then the search engine looks for those two words as one continuous phrase.

    Doing that on Yahoo gives us 51 sites using that phrase. Restricting the search to just "World Wide Web" gives us just two sites to look at.

    So, when you use a search engine, check out its rules for limiting a search.

    Teacher Review

    Is Your Teacher Making the Grade...or Not Cutting it?

    By Rosie Daswani & Sandy Staggs
    Guardsman Editors Instructors grading students is an ancient tradition in the U.S. educational system. But students conducting their own independent evaluation of instructors is a growing trend at nearly every college.

    Aside from the routine official faculty evaluations, there are other venues that allow students to grade and comment on teachers without impunity from college officials. In the forefront is the popular website Teacher Review.

    Designed and created by Ryan Lathouwers, a biology and computer science major at City College, Teacher Review (www.teacherreview.com) allows a student to choose a particular professor and comment on his/her teaching. An automatic program assesses the reviews and increases or decreases the GPA after every submission. Students can keep their identity hidden, if desired. Lathouwers edits reviews for profanity and libelous remarks.

    "I like the anonymity of it. It's great for students," said Mike Heilman, a staff member of the Academic Computer Lab.

    Audrey Vidal, a City College student, said, "I think it's a cool site and it's very effective."

    But not all are happy with Teacher Review.

    "People have a right to say what they want to say,'' said Computer Science instructor David Kadlecek, who has received several unfavorable reviews on the Teacher Review site. "There is a lot of information on the internet and a lot of it is wrong, misleading or confusing. There is no means to guarantee the accuracy of information when people are allowed to say whatever they want anonymously."

    Math professor Charles Burke, in an Oct. 13 cyber posting on the Teacher Learning Round Table (TLTR) web site, called Lathouwers "a hacker" and "cyber terrorist."

    Burke is one of the numerous professors included on the list of Teacher Review. His GPA was 3.17 (4.0 being a perfect performance).

    "Is it intended to be a review or a purposeful attack to get back at me, to teach me a lesson, or to publicly embarrass me based on my activities regarding Teacher Review?" asked Burke, in the posting. "In simpler terms, is this an example of cyber terrorism?"

    Burke's message on the TLTR stunned Lathouwers. Burke not only put up the posting, but he included Lathouwer's name, address and phone number with the comment: "The following technical information has been sent to me regarding the Teacher Review site. Please forward it to any individual that feels the need to file some sort of formal complaint regarding slanderous, libelous, or abusive remarks that have been posted on the site." This message was signed, "Chuck Burke, Math."

    "I thought Teacher Review was a great idea," said Lathouwers. "I started Teacher Review because I was dissatisfied with teachers at City College. There had to be a way to find out about teachers." He came up with the idea of creating a teacher review on-line while at summer school.

    It took Lathouwers two months to create Teacher Review. A disclaimer at the bottom of the web page states the site was "not endorsed or supported by City College of San Francisco. The opinions expresses on this site are the opinions of individual students and do no necessarily represent the views of City College of San Francisco or Teacher Review."

    "Students and teachers think it is a great idea," Lathouwers said. "But some teachers are afraid of it, not because of the student's remarks, but the fear another teacher may take a pot shot at them as students."

    Said student Rene Garcia, "I think it's a great idea. The site creates a friendly environment where students can talk about their professors without any criticism or any repercussions."

    "I believe that as it's constituted, the site should be stopped," said Burke. "The college should maintain some responsibility and it has been participating through its inaction and complacency."


    Lathouwers filed a formal student complaint with Anita Martinez, dean of students, stating that Burke has violated Computer Usage Policy by "using electronic mail to harass others, posting on internet services information that may be slanderous or defamatory in nature."

    He added, "Due to the irresponsible and threatening nature of Charles Burke's e-mail posting to the TLTR news group, I have chose not to contact him directly."

    Martinez, however, felt that she had no authority to resolve complaints, as "I served in an advisory/monitoring capacity," she said in a letter to General Council Robert Lee. She forwarded the complaint to City College Attorney Robert Lee and Mamie How, Information Technology Services Associate director.

    In the letter to Lee, Martinez said Lathouwers was concerned that he could be subjected to harassment as a result of his name, address and telephone number being revealed on a public network. "This concern is of primary concern."

    Lee, however, refused to comment on the matter, as "it concerns private issues, which involves disciplinary action."

    Said How, "This (the web site) is something being run by a private individual. The school has nothing to do with it. We have no control over it."

    Stephen Levinson, co-chair of TLTR, said, "TLTR has no control over what is posted on it's site. We cannot censor, since everything is automatic."

    According to Levinson, TLTR is self-regulating. Faculty that are regaled on the postings come back and post their comments. TLTR was created one year ago to deal with problems of access and spot crisis of technology advancement faced by the faculty.

    "I can understand the students' right to be better informed about teachers," said Levinson. "I wish, however, Teacher Review would be less anecdotal and more scientific."

    According to How, Lathouwers could sue the college for anything. "I cannot comment on the complaint," she said. "I need to wait for legal counsel."

    Teacher Review was also included on the agenda at the Oct. 22 meeting of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121. Said vice-president Allen Fischer, "There is concern among the faculty about slander issues, but the majority of the faculty understand that students have a right to free speech on the internet."

    "Our union would not stand for curtailing free speech," he added.

    "What goes around has to come around," muses Levinson. "If someone is doing what he (Lathouwers) is doing, he has to take some risks."

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