COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IS famous for its Core Curriculum, the oldest Western Civ program in the nation. It's designed to give all undergraduates a solid grounding in the humanities. In the areas of art and architecture, lectures have typically included a showing of slides and prints. But now, as part of a pilot project, those two subjects are being taught using the World Wide Web and other digital technologies.
Students and instructors will soon have 24-hour access to about 1,000 digitized images, both in computer-equipped classrooms and back in the students' dorm rooms. Before, limited copies of such images were often available only in the university library reserve room. Another plus: If a classroom discussion veers off to a new topic, lecturers won't be limited to projecting only the slides they brought to class that day; they can summon any image they like off the Web. They'll even be able to take a virtual tour of a cathedral with images created using Apple Computer's QuickTime VR technology.