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Although I can not offer a solution, I have a very funny story about
computer lab use.

About ten years ago, while working at a local community college, I would
often get students who used our lab pc's to go to various chat rooms (This
was years before facebook). One popular chat room was for Black engineering
students. Since many of our students did not have computers at home, and
chat rooms were relatively new, many a student spent his/her free time in
our lab. (Since it was our down time I didn't mind)

I happened to notice two particular students who were seated on opposite
sides of the room who both seemed to be extremely interested in their
chatting. Ever on the lookout for purveyors of porn, I stopped to chat with
each of them to try and find out what they were doing that was so
interesting , without looking over their shoulders. The first one told me
that as the first in his family to go to college he was always interested
in meeting other Engineering students who could mentor him. He was so
thrilled to meet a student on-line who was also from the same city and who
was taking very similar courses.

Through a little more conversation with him and then with the other
student, we all discovered that the two of them had been chatting with each
other, unbeknownst to either of them!!

I invited the two of them to log-off and have a "real" conversation, and
the two became best friends throughout the duration of their time in
school!


 Roberta Schotka
NADE'08 conference co-chair
Head, Peer Tutoring
Northeastern University Libraries, 242 SL
(617) 373-2150 voice
(617) 373-2529 fax
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