Web courses are constructed as the answer to fiscal crises evoked by neo-liberal restructuring. They are also touted as an anarchist exemplar of ‘de-schooling’ as envisaged by Ivan IIlich. The trouble is, some courses are vastly under-dressed and merely attempt to display a face-to-face course on-line. At the other extreme are those laced with links, animation and more than enough glitter and glam to make Liberace wince. In this study the authors employed a 43-item coding schedule to examine the accessibility, opportunities for interaction and attractiveness of 127 courses on the web. Interrelationships between the 43 variables and issues pertaining to accessibility, interaction and attractiveness were identified with the aid of SPSS. Exemplary web courses were then distinguished from mediocre web courses. In our view, Madonna exemplifies qualities that should be incorporated into web courses. After examining 127 sites the Madonna award for the ‘best-dressed’ site went to a University of Wisconsin History course. The ‘worst-dressed’ award went to a Social Foundations of Education course at a USA State University which exuded glitter but lacked substance. Reasons for these decisions are elaborated. (The word, course, used here, describes what some systems call a unit of study.).
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|Published - 1997