We have often had occasion to publish articles in the Basic Science Educator which described the development and/or use of innovative computer software for teaching the basic sciences. With this issue however, we more formally acknowledge the increasing importance of computer aided instruction and (distance) learning with the creation of a column dedicated to this theme. It is our purpose to present original articles concerning all aspects of Computer Applications in Basic Science Education, such as software development and applications, techniques for using computer generated images and graphics for lecturing, resources on the World Wide Web (WWW) and their appropriate (or inappropriate) use, computer applications in independent student study, etc.
In the following article, Dr. David Penney from Wayne State University School of Medicine describes in some detail his experiences in developing a closed system intranet resource for the teaching of Medical Physiology. He describes how human perceptions can present unexpected problems and how these may be overcome. He goes on to provide a 10 point checklist of potential problems to which many of us can relate, and a 7 point list of factors which encourage development of web-based instructional sites. As the capability for computerized communications, teaching, and distance learning becomes available to more medical faculty, it is necessary that we be aware of the issues involved, the problems to be expected and how they may be solved, and the various techniques for using electronic resources. That is the focus of this column and we invite submission of your articles that address electronic issues.