The Net Nerd’s Profiles

Wondering what’s going on in the Distance Ed world? Seek out

This website is found within the dusty, dark corridors of the Athabasca University web site. If any of you are like me, navigating the AU website is a time consuming process, so for the next few columns I’ll be reviewing some of the sites within AU.

This site is from our friends in the Centre for Computing and Information Systems. RIDE (Resources In Distance Education) is a good starting point if you want to find out more about distance ed, which you can delve into at many different levels.

At the most basic level is a tutorial about how to use the internet and how to search the web. Here you will find topics such as Internet 101, Listserv, Usenet, and where to find software. Even the most seasoned net surfers will find new information here. You can sign up to different newsgroups from this page too. The “searching the web” page has everything you need to begin your internet search. You can choose from search engines, virtual libraries, subject indices, databases, a list of electronic journals and magazines. I really liked the www virtual library.

The other resource headings on the homepage are: Distance Ed & WWW Design, Educational Technology Resources, Theory and Practice, Distance Education Issues, Associations Conferences and Special Events, Distance Education Organizations and AU Staff and Student Papers and Projects. All of these headings have links for what you may be looking for. The bulk of information on this website is about the internet and web based learning.

Neat Stuff: RIDE has won two awards : “a Links2Go Key Resource Award in the distance learning category and was chosen as Site of the Month’ by The Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) (, a federal government program within Human Resources Development Canada” (RIDE: About This Project). These people know what they’re doing.

Not so neat stuff: Some of the links on this website no longer exist. Some of the information such as the info on conferences is outdated. The last update for this website was January 31, 2003, almost ten months ago.

Rating: **1/2 / 5 Hmmm.. not to insult the CCIS, but I had to give a 2.5 . Why, you ask? I based this rating from the perspective of the average AU student looking for educational resources. Way too much outdated information and dead links, make this site a bit frustrating when looking around. Though there was a great wealth of information here, most of it probably wouldn’t apply to the average AU student (with the exception of “Searching the Web” and “Distance Education Issues”). All that aside, this site is a great tool for the distance educator and was extremely well organized, I had no trouble snooping around.

Are you lonesome tonight? Try

Yes I am happily married, so I had to review this fast before my partner questioned a dating website on our bookmarks. There’s nothing new about, in fact almost since the conception of the world wide web, people have been using it to search for romance, sex (any one-handed typists out there?), and companionship. There are a variety of dating services out there for your hooking-up needs, but I choose to review, well, because it was there.

In order to review this properly I made two profiles, one as a man and one as a woman (both hetero, but for all my alternative lifestyle friends out there feel free to look for a same sex partner). Yes I rampantly abused the “sign up free” feature, but only for educational purposes.

The first step is to create a user name, password etc. (Rusty Shackleford is taken), then you get to post your profile for others to see. Some of the questions are basic, like what do you look like, but others you have to think about like, “What do you do for fun” and “Favorite local hot spots and travel destinations” (I choose Tim Horton’s and Tim Horton’s respectively). Then you get to choose your turn-ons from a list they give you (sleeping didn’t make the list so I had to do some thinking). After that, choose your ultimate date from yet another list (again, sleeping couldn’t seem to make the cut – yes I wonder how I ever managed to get married too). Then there are basic lifestyle questions regarding issues such as smoking, exercise and of course the most important one “annual income” (who really looks at any other?). Relationship history is next followed by a short essay describing yourself and what you want in a partner.

After submitting your profile you can search for singles in your area. In fact, does that for you. They gave me a list of my three top mutual matches based on my criteria. You can also do a search based on geographic location and other choices. Just based on location my search came up with fifty lucky people within 300 miles from me.

What you see when you click on a picture or name is the person’s entire profile. After that you can add that person to your “favorites” list, send the profile to a friend or block them from contacting you. If you like them you can send them a “wink” for free. This site was fun and easy to use. Now excuse me while I delete my history and bookmarks.

Neat Stuff: The “Match Scene” tells you how to date, gives hints and tips and lets you read success stories from couples who met on their site. You can also take tests such as the “Astro compatibility test.” I especially liked the “5 Bad Breath Blunders to avoid on a First date.” Remember to brush the spaces between your teeth!

Not so Neat Stuff: Alas, all good things must come to an end, well, if you’re cheap like me they do. In order to e-mail other members and take full advantage of this service you must pay. A yearly rate is $79US and a monthly fee is $19.95US (why can’t people just charge an even $20??). But on the bright side you can pay with money order instead of credit card. You just need to ask yourself if the quest for true love is worth the cash.

Rating: ****/5 was easy to use and maneuver. Searches were relevant and they gave a lot of helpful hints and tips to help you. So dim the lights, slip into something comfortable, put on a little Barry White (or Chef, whoever you prefer) and find the mate of your dreams. The only thing better than may be a real live person.