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Students send in homework via LAN's E-mail.

Students Send In Homework Via LAN's E-mail In 1986, faculty at Oregon State University's School of Business, in Corvallis, were worried. Tight schedules made it tough for faculty, administrators, and students to stay in touch.

A local area network with heavy electronic mail emphasis improved communication.

"Universities are centers of learning with a high tolerance of risk-taking and experimentation, so we created an environment that fosters that kind of behavior," says Greg Scott, computing services manager.

Networking software included spreadsheet programs, word processing, and electronic mail. "E-mail has been the best solution for our communications problems. It's opened up channels and broken down formal barriers," Scott reports.

Nine servers using Novell NetWare 2.12, 1.15, and 3.0 are linked to the school's LAN along an Ethernet backbone attaching 250 workstations. Students and faculty communicate across the LAN through a server that sends E-mail to 700 students and 110 faculty members throughout the four-story building.

A faculty member conducting research during the installation of E-mail found faculty-student communication evolved from memos to ongoing electronic conversations, eliminating dependency on phone conversations or face-to-face meetings.

MBA students use E-mail to pick up assignments and send completed ones in. They have "read only" privileges. They can't delete messages or send messages to individual users. Assignments they mail in are time- and date-stamped to prove they met deadlines.

Before, students had to line up outside an office or wait for a posting on the department bulletin board. Now assignment instructions can be picked up and downloaded from any of three lab workstations (one is available anytime). In many cases, a student can complete the assignment and send it to the instructor directly from the library lab workstation.

Today, students log onto the LAN through nine servers, seven of which are named for Snow White's dwarfs.

The LAN includes three AST servers, used primarily by students in the school's lab. Doc is used by undergraduates and secondary undergraduates. Accounting majors use Sneezy. Grad students in the MBA program use Grumpy.

When faculty place assignments on Grumpy, for instance, MBA students can access the server from labs or download assignments onto diskettes. A student completes an assignment and attaches it to a mail message he writes at a lab terminal.

When off-campus or out of the classroom to do research, faculty can remain in contact with students, faculty, and administrative staff by using Dopey, the server for E-mail. They dial in via Network Courier's Modem Mail software. Faculty also use E-mail extensively to send documents for typing in the typing pool.

The first thing Scott did to simplify his LAN was place software on Dopey and other program files on Happy, Sleepy, and Bashful.

Apart from the four primary servers (Dopey, Happy, Sleepy, and Bashful) and the lab servers (Grumpy, Doc, and Sneezy), two remaining servers provide added flexibility to the programs.

Tinkerbell, a portable AST 386 server, runs a fully functional remote LAN during class registration, seminars, training, and workshops.

Pluto, an advanced software server, is used for beta testing.

The LAN is connected to the rest of campus through Bashful, a data file server linking the business school subnetwork via the Ethernet backbone. Users sending data to the rest of the campus can send batch files from the workstation to Bashful for rebroadcast over the campus broadband network.
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Title Annotation:local area network at Oregon State University School of Business
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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