When it comes to teaching technology classes online, one professor at the University of Houston-Victoria literally wrote the book on the subject.
"Strategies and Technologies for Developing Online Computer Labs for Technology-Based Courses" by Lee Chao, professor of computer science and math, was published in November by New York-based IGI Publishing.
Online technology-based classes such as system administration, networking, database creation and Internet security can't be taught online in the same way as history or English, Chao said.
"You have to get the theory and the practice together," he said. For example, such classes often require special computer labs where multiple computers are reserved for one student to use as a lab. That lab has to be accessible from the Internet, he said.
It's no simple task to design such a lab for the teaching materials, create it, use it properly and evaluate how well it helps students. That's where Chao's book comes in.
The book will guide researchers and educators through the process of investigating the requirements for online technology-based courses, creating lab-based teaching materials, and making proper use of computer labs in the teaching process. The book also includes strategies for evaluating how well such programs work.
Chao spent two years investigating the subject to write the book. It is his second book. His first, "Database Development and Management," was published in November 2005.
"The research that Dr. Chao's book presents is cutting edge," said Jeffrey Di Leo, School of Arts & Sciences dean. "Research on online best practices and strategies is in high demand around the country. Dr. Chao's research is not only theoretically interesting, but will also help universities and colleges around the country to improve the quality of their online instruction."
During the past year, 81 percent of the school's faculty has published materials, Di Leo said. That figure marks the highest in the history of the school.