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Re: CEU's or paying for information?

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I absolutely agree that a lot more documents, reference material as well as
instruction could/should be available online. I would like to think that the
reason more is not online is that it takes resources to create the web
documents. As simple as it is to do, it takes time to create web pages.
Maybe what we should be "requesting" from our professional organizations is
that they provide on their staff a full time webmaster or at least hire a
consultant to create web pages. Our dues should include the cost of this
service considering the day and age in which we work.

I have anticipated ICBO putting reports online for a long time. There is no
reason why we cannot go to their web site and print a report instead of just
ordering one. If you have to be a member and have to enter a membership
number to do so, fine. If one does not have a membership number, he/she can
submit their credit card number.

The SEAOC dinner meetings are O.K. for some (75-150) people, but if the
presenter's topic was online, the information could reach thousands.

The SEAOC practical design and detailing seminars are good too but the same
applies as far as being able to disseminate the information to a lot more

Again, there is time and effort associated with putting these docs online as
well as maintenance. I feel that the cost of this effort should be born by
the dues paying members. To limit the access of this information to members,
membership numbers could be required (or MC/Visa).

These examples could/should apply to other organizations as well and we as
professionals should "encourage" the organizations we pay membership to get
with it.

As far as continuing education and professional development, there are
already some great examples of how this can be done on the 'Net. A publisher
of computer books, The Waite Group, has such a curriculum online for
computer classes. Once you buy one of their books, you may register for a
computer class. You work the exercises out of the book, review the online
material and take a multiple choice test at the end of the chapter. If you
have questions, there is a "mentor" available to ask questions via e-mail.
These questions to the mentor are assembled at a FAQ site so people don't
keep asking the same question. Another good example is Autodesk. They have
CAD training right their at their web site. To translate this into our
application/needs, to get credit for professional development, we could
simply answer the multiple choice test to demonstrate that we have reviewed
the material adequately. If we were just interested in the information, we
would not take the test.

To summarize, I first was disappointed that the professional organizations
to which we belong seemed reluctant to participate in a medium that is so
far reaching. It will not be long before it will be difficult for us to
distinguish between our desktop and the 'Net. I have since realized that
(hopefully) the cause of the problem is that the leadership of our
interested organizations is not 'Net aware nor do these organizations budget
for the labor to create these documents online. Voluntary service is a
wonderful thing, but it is difficult to expect these volunteers to do the
amount of work I feel is necessary to get the ball rolling.

I encourage all of you to take your respective organizations to task and
have them defend the fact that they are not budgeting for the necessary
resources to make the information they produce available online.

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)>
To: SEAOC Newsletter <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 2:51 PM
Subject: Re: CEU's or paying for information?

>>Why is at that none of the organizations like
>>AISC, ACI, AITC are not making journal available online?
>Maybe they haven't heard enough outraged commentary from the membership.
>The ASME is in the same boat--their web site has less content than a used
>car ad. I've been taking them to task for a while, and I don't expect to
>do anything single handed, but maybe if enough members speak out... I
>think we'd have better luck with this if information were available on a
>members-only basis as a benefit of belonging. God knows my dues have been
>going up (and benefits going down) fast enough. If I could sneak a peek
>at some of the out of print publications or even be able to borrow
>library materials on-line, it might make getting nicked each year a
>little less painful.
>Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
>chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
>___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)