Spring 2001, Volume 37, No. 2


Lives of a Saint

Altruism 101
Reach Out!
Venture Catalysts
Sagehens in Paradise

-Pomona Forum-
Altruism 101
-News Print-
Professor's Philosophy of Life Unshaken

-Pomona Today-
Professor of the Year
Inside the Power Crunch
Rite of Passage
Top Five
Frats with a Difference
Bridge Over the Pacific

-New Knowledge-
The Secrets of the Hydra
-Sports Report-
Dynamic Duos
Getting On
George Moore
-Campaign Update-
American Dreams

-Parlor Talk-
-Family Tree-
-Alumni Profile-
Casey Trupin '95
-Alumni Puzzler-
-Back Cover-
Pilgrims' Progress


Facing each other across a table, five students from Pomona and six from Japan talked animatedly about college life and cracked jokes. Then, with the click of a mouse, they parted, and a bridge over the Pacific vanished into thin air.
   The Pomona students and their professor turned a classroom in the Academic Computing Center at Claremont Graduate University into a live chat room during an Internet videoconference last fall with counterparts from Japan's Keio University. During the conference, the Pomona students gazed up at a large projected Netscape "Net Meeting" image of the six students from Keio, who, like the Pomonans, were clustered in front of a microphone and videocam.
    The conference took place while ballots in the U.S. presidential election were under dispute in Florida, and the useful phrases that Kyoko Kurita, associate professor of Asian languages and literatures at Pomona, had written on the whiteboard included "to refuse" and "to offer a compromise plan."
   The Pomona students--David Mathews, Anne Gibson, Celina Godoy, Jesse Gillespie and David Turken--talked about candidates and issues such as gun control, but also about nonpartisan topics like dining hall food. That subject seemed to strike a chord and elicited laughter on both sides of the Pacific.
   The technology was effective though imperfect; the students pictured on the screen were clear and in focus except when they moved, which caused a brief ghost-like visual effect. "It would be better if it was a little easier to see, but I think it was a good introduction," said Turken. "It's fun to be able to use the language that we've learned a little bit."
   Kurita plans more Net meetings for third- and fourth-year students of Japanese. "What we did today was to introduce each other," she said. "The way I would like to do it in the future is to set a topic, so there can be discussion and study prior to the event, and then we can have a teleconference meeting and later write up a report. The idea is to eventually expand this type of communication to other parts of Asia as well."
   Videoconferencing appears to be a useful teaching tool, she said."This is a way to learn Japanese through talking about real-life problems and issues."