BYU-Hawaii Staff and Students Exploit WordPerfect's Internet Features

Nestled on the North Shore of Oahu, Brigham Young University-Hawaii is a small university with a high-tech feel. Established in 1955 as the Church College of Hawaii by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1974 it became affiliated with Brigham Young University's main campus in Provo, Utah. Today, BYU-Hawaii has 2,200 students with about 500 faculty and staff.

Because it's a smaller institution, the university is well positioned to offer its students excellent technological support. Each student has a personal e-mail account, and students have easy access to computer labs.

"BYU-Hawaii has used WordPerfect products since the DOS days," said Lei Cummings, BYU-Hawaii's head of computer support. "It's been here for at least 10 to 15 years. We're familiar with it, it's easier to use and it has nicer features [than other software packages]."

Cummings said that about 70 percent of the faculty and staff use WordPerfect. The percentage is a little lower for students, she added. PC users use the Corel WordPerfect 7 Suite, and Mac users have WordPerfect 3.5.

Because WordPerfect's offices were just minutes from BYU's Provo, Utah, campus, the university was an early adopter of WordPerfect products and has always had a close relationship with the company. Another reason BYU-Hawaii has decided to stay with Corel (Ontario, Canada) WordPerfect is because of its excellent educational discounts, Cummings related.

Posting On the Web

According to Cummings, instructors at BYU-Hawaii are beginning to use WordPerfect's HTML translation capabilities in order to provide more Web content to students. The professors are able to quickly provide their syllabi and other teaching materials on the World Wide Web because WordPerfect makes the translation easier for them, she noted.

All professors need to do is to take their syllabus they prepared in WordPerfect 7 and use the HTML translator tool to get an HTML version. "The trend is to use translation programs more instead of straight programming in HTML," agrees Dwight Miller, an associate professor of educational media at BYU-Hawaii. "Translation programs are making it easier for anyone to post material on the Web, he said." Instead of worrying about tags and strange symbols and trying to format pages using straight HTML, professors can now simply take a few minutes and convert the material they've already created in WordPerfect.

"It's all pretty easy," said Paul Freebairn, director of BYU-Hawaii's testing services. He is planning to create a new Web page with student testing hours information, and later expand his department's Web presence to include a way for instructors to check the grades of their students, the progress of their exams, and other related information.

Students Instruct the Instructors

Faculty and staff, instructed by students, are keeping up with changing technologies. Freebairn, along with several other faculty members, took a class from a student worker on how to use WordPerfect 7's HTML conversion tool. Student workers give monthly classes on a wide range of topics, from using spreadsheets to using the Internet and e-mail, to creating Web pages.

But creating Web pages is just one of the uses BYU-Hawaii finds for WordPerfect 7. Anna Kaanga, a secretary in the Religion Department, uses the suite for making labels, managing fonts and merging tables.

The Physical Plant, which has about 50 full-time employees, has also found innovative ways to use the WordPerfect Suite. While looking for ways to make the employee evaluation more efficient, Judd Whetten, the department's supervisor, worked with WordPerfect's merge feature. He created a template for the standard information on a form. Now, if there is a need to change the form, it only has to be done once instead of 50 times.

Karen Harper, the accounting supervisor for the Physical Plant, uses other programs, but she mostly sticks with the Corel WordPerfect 7 Suite. "I've used WordPerfect since the early '80s, and I'm comfortable with it," she says. She uses WordPerfect to make contracts, write memos and update her address book. And she uses Quattro Pro for spreadsheets and accounting budgets.

So, even though BYU-Hawaii is small and located in an area noted more for surfing than for technological prowess, it is still offering its students and staff cutting-edge technology.

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This article originally appeared in the 08/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.