Surfin' CVU?: Students at UC Irvine rally around the Anteaters. At USC, it's the Trojans. And at Cal State Long Beach, fans cheer for the 49ers.

So what could possibly serve as a mascot for a virtual school?

That's the quandary for the staff at California Virtual University, a statewide initiative to put courses from California colleges and universities on the Internet.

Launched last year, the venture offers a selection of nearly 700 courses from 81 public and private schools in the state: from education powerhouses Stanford University and UC Irvine, to the smaller Cerritos College in Cerritos and Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley.

The project--found at people register for either online classes or videoconferencing courses, in subjects ranging from astronomy to computer-aided design.

"This is part of our effort to hear feedback about the project from the public," said Rich H. Halberg, director of communications and online content at the virtual university project. "We want to design this online 'university' to fit their needs."

Online students began voting for the name of their cyberspace mascot last fall, and nearly 1,000 users have cast their decision digitally. Some of the choices include the RAMs, the Icons and the Bugs. The leading contender to date--the Surfers.

A winner will be named in September, Halberg said.

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