24 Hours in Cyberspace

24 Hours in Cyberspace

Painting on the Walls of the Digital Cave


Cyberspace. Intangible electronic space.The term was first used in a science fiction novel but has since become reality. And Stout students became a part of this new frontier recently when they participated in "24 Hours in Cyberspace," a worldwide project to capture electronic images of the impact of technology on how people live.

Stout students were in good company with more than 100 of the world's top photojournalists participating. Thousands of students from all over the world shot pictures, wrote articles and crafted their own home pages for the Cyberspace "Student Underground."

The project's headquarters site had a direct link to Stout's Cyber24 page which listed all students as they submitted pages. Pages submitted to university sites were posted as they came in.

Susan Hunt, Stout professor of graphic design, said Stout students had only two weeks to create their entries. "I'm especially proud of what the students were able to accomplish in that short time," Hunt said, noting that it was also during those two weeks that the entire Stout computer lab was moved to a new location.

Hunt admitted that at first some of the students were intimidated by the computer Internet. "It's not just people over 30 who may feel they're being left behind," Hunt said. "It's changing so fast, it's hard for anyone to keep up. It's a tremendous transition phase."

Darrel Austin, a junior in graphic design, had just completed a co-op with 3M in which he used the computer extensively so the Internet was not new to him. His team's project was to write material comparing the Internet to other mass media - radio, TV and newspapers. Austin likened it to the era when TV was a new medium, and advertisers were eager to use it. "It's a great worldwide market," he said. "It has created a whole new field of design."

Austin was fortunate in that he had experience with Internet. But those students who didn't, at least got their feet wet. "It was like a jump into a cold lake," he said. "It woke them up to the Internet."

Like Austin, Garrick VanBuren had previous experience with Internet, and he was eager to tackle the project of making his own page on the World Wide Web. VanBuren's project was to show the difference between traditional ways of finding information, for example encyclopedias, books and periodicals, and the Internet.

"When you search for information on the Internet, you get up-to-the-minute information," VanBuren said, citing stock quotes as an example. "It's as quick as your thoughts are," he said. He noted that even weekly periodicals or daily newspapers can be out of date by the time they are printed. VanBuren said he now uses the Internet to do research for all his school papers. Hunt said she hopes other students' exposure to the Internet via this project will make them aware of the possibilities as well.

Hunt said she also sees the project in terms of producing a time capsule, noting that a permanent World Wide Web site is to be established, and a book and CD-ROM will follow. Readers can access the 24 Hours in Cyberspace site at:

http://www.cyber24.com

"It's historic," Hunt said, "and exciting. I'm happy Stout was able to be a part of it."

Equipment used for the Cyber 24 project was funded by grants from the
Stout University Foundation and the Nakatani Center.

Outlook Winter '96