4.3.3S
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR PLANT PATHOLOGISTS: GLOBAL COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION AND TRAINING

T STEWART

Massie University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

The Internet allows global communication and collaboration at a level undreamed of in the past. Through the use of e-mail and newsgroups, researchers are able to discuss, debate and plan research programs faster and at costs far lower than by more traditional means such as letters and phone calls. Furthermore, the development of the World Wide Web has facilitated easy contact between plant pathologists through the use of institutional and personal websites.

Today's Internet software offers many collaborative tools including real-time text, audio or video communication, together with file sharing and whiteboard manipulation. The same technologies can also facilitate plant pathology training, within the campus and at a distance.

Several examples of the use of these technologies in plant pathology communication, collaboration and training will be discussed, including (i) how the extensive use of e-mail, ftp and web technology facilitated an international collaborative project to develop a plant pathology training package; (ii) international discussion, debate and the electronic submission of papers; and (iii) plant pathology training, over the web and within the classroom. Some of the difficulties and issues relating to these uses of technology will also be highlighted.