Thoughts about Online Behavior - Kris Stewart

Kris Stewart, Professor
Computer Science, San Diego State University (SDSU)
stewart at
Updated: 16july2010
This URL:

The CyberBridge - Summer2010 program has allowed me to learn of new technologies and establish a partnership with Montgomery High School that is useful and beneficial to me as well as the students at SDSU. As the faculty sponsor of the student ACM computer club, I hope the club might be interested in furthering this collaboration. Please see the club's home page for the tour of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) last year. Based on my research background in numerical analysis, I partnered with SDSC in 1985 since I was hired at SDSU in 1984. I have been lucky to have a front-row seat watching the Internet grow up and reach the Global Community of Online Users. There have been twists and turns along the way.

Internet History
The US National Science Foundation has an online publication providing a dramatic presentation of NSF and the Birth of the Internet, Of particular interest is to select each decade [1960s, 1970s, 1980s, ... 2000s] and note, in the lower right corner, the number of computers on the Net and the baud rate [speed]. The 1990s decade is special because this is when the first browser, Mosaic, appeared from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). NCSA and SDSC were two of the initial five supercomputing centers funded by NSF to ensure scientists and researchers in the US would have access to this high level of computing power. This 1993 cartoon from The New Yorker is a great example of how the general public was grappling with this new world of technology. As a faculty member at SDSU, since 1984, I was able to naturally form a connection with SDSC due to my original background in Numerical Analysis (topic of PhD dissertation from the University of New Mexico). acm portal image of 05july1993 Peter Steiner cartoon for New Yorker,_nobody_knows_you're_a_dog

The Internet Wayback Machine
The WayBack Machine was originally used by Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman on the Rocky & Bullwinkle show to provide cartoon history lessons. It is now an online archive of web pages. I find archives of my home page back to December 1996.
Screen Capture of
You should use this as a reminder that once information becomes posted on the internet, by anyone, it just never goes away totally.

Who is your audience? Students may communication socially via text messages or online using gmail or other few email systems. But it is important to distinguish casual, friendly communication from formal, professional communication. For example, nick-names are fine when communicating with friends. When communicating with your professor, you should always sign your email, with first-name and last-name at the end of the message.

Information Overflow and Manage your risk online
Think before you post information about yourself. Sometimes there is a great benefit to sharing photos and hobbies. I keep anise plants growing in my back yard because these [weeds] plants are what the anise swallowtail butterfly lays its eggs on, providing food for the catepillar.
picture of anise swallowtail butterfly anise_swallowtail
I was recently connected online by a gentleman who lives in San Marcos and works at a Laguna Beach park. He found my photos of the catepillars and butterflies and wanted to know if I had seen any this season. Turns out I have not yet, but after some email exchange Andy learned that his neighbor's boy found them in the vacant lot next door. So I may go to San Marcos to obtain from catepillars for my garden now.

An extremely valuable example is provided by a brave father who shares the story of his 13 year-old son who was a victim of cyberbullying.

WebQuest Copyright-Friendly Media page provides links to a large variety of photos, clip art, background textures, music and sound efferts for use by educators. As an example,

stylized image of Iwo Jima flag raising WW2 Find Free Clipart at School Clip Art