April 13, 1998
Taking courses through the Gemological Institute of America got easier recently when GIA went on-line, building a Web resource valuable to students and non-students alike.
Following the lead of a handful of universities and colleges that now offer Internet degree programs, GIA includes a number of its courses on-line with electronic quesionnaires that students can complete for credit. Once they register for a course, students enter their student number and get access to the appropriate material; they can also e-mail the live instructor if they have questions or need help. Hands-on courses are not included in the list of Web offerings.
The school has also taken advantages of many of the Internet's capabilities to offer an incredible resource to the entire gem and jewelry industry. The GIA DIamond Dictionary, a 17-year subject and author index for Gems & Gemology and a number of G&G articles are available to the public. The site hosts live chats: users can ask "reference questions" to members of the GIA Library the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m., and can participate in themed discussions with GIA leaders and instructors on the third Wednesday of every month at the same hour. A message board provides less structured, private and public discussion by subject. All of GIA's news releases, with photographs, are also available.
Technically speaking: There is a quick, easy registration process for anybody who wants to access GIA Online. The site is brilliantly organized and incorporates few graphics for fast load time. Some parts of the site, including the Tables of Contents for Gems & Gemology, were still under construction at press time.
- by Stacey King