________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 13 . . . . March 3, 2000

cover The Joke's Over: An Interactive Exploration of Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment in Our Schools.

Clinton, ON: West Coast Education Enterprises, 1997.
CD-ROM, Mac & Windows, soundcard required, $49.95.

Subject Headings:
Sexual harassment in education-Ontario.
High school students-Ontario-Sexual behaviour.

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.
Review by Don Hamilton.

** /4

This is the CD-ROM version of a program originally developed as a print package designed to act as an anti Sexual Harassment program in the secondary schools of Ontario. It was co-funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Ontario Women's Directorate and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. The CD attempts to provide some of the video and interactive material that a real workshop may have contained. This then is an attempt at a vicarious program created "by students" as they work through some of the essential elements behind sexual harassment. While the print material offers the teacher several excellent opportunities to engage students in very important dialogues about this real issue, the CD-ROM limits the approach!

As is so often the case with CD-ROM presentations, the medium is simply not able to do justice to the material. I used both a new high speed iMac and a Pentium II PC to test this program and still found it slow and balky. (I find it fascinating that we have junked the old sound filmstrip for this medium and yet have not found the way to make such programs move.)

The CD does offer the full text of the original print material (on Acrobat as a PDC file) together with a Bonus print volume called Good Sports Don't Hurt-Sexual Harassment Does! Those materials are the valuable part of this program, offering the teacher and students direction for meaningful dialogue and hopefully change in the schools and neighborhood. I did try to find the print materials as stand-alone publications, but they are not available from the original source- the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. This may well be the only source of the print versions at a very high price!

Possibly the CD-ROM would offer the student who was "away" the opportunity to engage the discussion, but unless s/he is very well motivated, the tiny movies and interactive questions will be lost. Will the school loan this CD-ROM to students? Will the limits of machine power in the schools serious affect the impact of its message? Will the single machine limit that pervades this medium negate its group approach? Will the student who wants to find a way to combat personal abuse be able to connect to this message in this form? I have serious doubts.

This material needs the support and motivation that a good teacher, coach or guidance councillor would be able to provide. In this form, it will be lost on the shelf unless it is part of a planned, orchestrated process.

You can find a preview of the disk and other information about it on the web at http://www.wceiway.on.ca/jokeover/Welcome.html

Recommended with Reservations.

Donald Hamilton is the Education Librarian at the University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364