The GNA has some resemblence to a university which has a large number of geographically distributed member colleges. These are the schools, of which The Virtual School of Natural Sciences is one. The schools have a great deal of autonomy and will have very different styles. Some, for example, may be based on liberal arts colleges, offering modular courses leading to degrees and other accrediations. Others might concentrate on shorter courses , or on disciplines where the subject is covered poorly or not at all IRL. The GNA's range is probably limited only by our imagination, and our ability to manage this cultural change successfully.
The GNA is a non-profit organisation incorporated in the state of Texas, USA, but there are Board members from several countries. It has now developed to a position where it is being taken seriously by a number of existing institutions , both educational and commercial. (There was an article on this in the Times Higher Educational Supplement of Sept 16 1994). The effect is, of course, synergistic. The GNA has unparalleled experience of how the Internet 'works' and how to 'organise' things. There will shortly be a number of mutually beneficial interactions between the GNA and RL organisations.
How does the GNA interact with VSNS and hence PPS? It has a coordinating role in that we can find out rapidly what is happening elsewhere and it can also start building up a resource of experience and technology which can be called upon. As a school of the GNA, VSNS will have a member on the Council. Since, at present, the VSNS does not require fees for its courses and does not give accreditation, there is little other formality. However if any participant has comments or suggestions, the electronic basis make it easy to get views discussed.
The GNA is run, at present, copmpletely by volunteer labour. If anyone would like to be involved in helping - there are both general tasks and specialist ones to be tackled - read the GNA hypertree which gives instructions.
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pmr for pps
Sept 30 1994