Congressional Web-based Education Commission Begins One-Year Probe

The Congressional Web-based Education Commission, a panel of congressional members and education experts created to advise education-technology policymakers, convened its first public hearing on the potential of the Internet for education. Of particular importance was the discussion of the obstacles that are keeping students from reaching the aforementioned potential. Said Commission chairman Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), “We believe the 185 days students are not in school to be just as important as the days they are seated in the classroom. We can utilize the Web as a tool to improve the quality of education both in and out of school.”

The two-day hearing, which was the first of a number of hearings to be held over the next year, featured testimony from U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley and Commerce Secretary William Daley, among others. The Commission, which includes legislators, educators, business leaders and other experts, will culminate their work in a report to the President this November.

Core issues discussed included: technology trends; costs associated with Web use; access and equity of usage; how traditional pedagogy must change to take full advantage of new technology; standards and accreditation; distance education and Web-centered learning; teacher training; non-traditional learners and more. In the long term, the Commission is working on a comprehensive policy roadmap to assist in Web-based education decisions. Congressional Web-based Education Commission, Washington, DC, (202) 502-7561.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.