Volume #4, Issue #3

Date: December 1990

Jason Ohler, Director
Educational Technology Program
University of Alaska Southeast


In the industrial age, we go to school. In the information age, school can come to us. This is the message implicit in the media and movement of distance education.

It is traditional in many countries to exchange messages of good will on paper-based media (often called 'Christmas cards') which are then distributed via post. Please accept our electronic equivalent, created by students from the Dalkey School Project National School in Dublin, Ireland:


Created by: SIMON ("WIZZ") CIARAN
Contributed by: Computer Communications Group, Dalkey School Project National School
Glenageary Lodge
Glenageary, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Volume 4, Issue 3

December 1990

Editor: Jason Ohler

Educational Technology Program Director
University of Alaska Southeast
11120 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801

Layout and Editorial Assistant: Ruth M. Ryan

University of Alaska Southeast

Technical Coordinator: Paul J. Coffin

716 Taschereau
Ste-Therese, Quebec
J7E 4E1
Phone: 514-430-0995


  1. An Italian Experiment in the Teaching of Distance Learning by Daniele C. Struppa (DSTRUPPA@GMUVAX.GMU.EDU or 1185UCC@ICSUNIV.BITNET), and James Turtora (ACS090@GMUVAX.GMU.EDU)

  2. About MoSTNet: Moscow School Telecommunication Network by Alexandra Prussakova, cdp!mostnet@labrea.stanford.edu

  3. The FrEdMail Foundation: Fred Mail is on the Move by Al Rogers, alrogers%CERF.NET@Sdsc.BITnet (FredMail)

  4. Distance Education: An Overview and its Use in American Education by Jeffrey Porten, Annenberg School for Communication (SJPORTE@ASC.UPENN.EDU)

  5. Echoes in the Electronic Wind: A Vision Quest for Native American Empowerment by Frank Odasz, oldcolo!bigsky!franko@hp-lsd.cos.hp.com

  6. Announcements, Requests, Reviews

    1. Requests for Asian-American Studies
    2. Norman Coombs named Professor of the Year
    3. IASSIST 1991 Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
    4. Request for International Directory Contributions
    5. University of Alaska Position Announcement, Visiting Research Fellows
    6. Catalogue of Distance Delivered K-12 Course Offerings Compiled
    7. Looking for Native networks, distance education efforts, or educational technology applications
    8. Getting Past Issues of the Online Journal

  7. Distance EDitorial- Choosing the Right Computer Conference Metaphor

  8. About the Journal


An Italian Experiment in the Teaching of Distance Learning
by Daniele C. Struppa and James Turtora


In the last few years, we have served on several occasions as consultants for an Italian Consortium of Universities, dedicated to the development of techniques and methodologies of Distance Learning. The name of this Consortium (in which several Universities participate, together with major companies such as the Italian Telephone Company (SIP)) is CUD, an acronym standing for "Consorzio per l'Universita' a Distanza."

Quite recently, CUD has engaged in a very ambitious and interesting project: the training of personnel whose specific duties will be the preparation of multimedial material for distance education. Having participated with different degrees of involvement in this project, we feel that the reader of this journal might be interested in getting a first look at the project itself.

We would like to begin by dedicating a short section to a quick description of CUD and of its activities. In the last section, we will more specifically describe the ideas and ambitions of the project.

Short description of the CUD

The idea of this Consortium came about in the seventies, in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Western Europe, i.e. in the Italian Region of Calabria. When we describe this beautiful region as being disadvantaged, we refer

Along this point of view, we should remark that Calabria had its first University only in the mid-seventies, and that the creation of CUD (together with another Consortium on the applications of informatics, CRAI) was intended to set up a technological center which would of Calabria.

In particular, Calabria offers one of those situations which seem perfectly suited for the application of the Distance Learning concept: while the area of the region is relatively large, communications among the many rural villages which compose Calabria is far from being optimal, and this fact immediately appeared to create a problem in fostering attendance at the University in Cosenza (one of the three large cities of Calabria).

CUD then moved immediately to offer a degree in Informatics, which was and is offered through distance education: local centers have been created throughout the region, where students can get their instruction in the form of interactive software, and where they can access tutors to perfect their understanding of the subject.

In these last few years, however, CUD has grown into a more ambitious institution, and has engaged into activities which show the desire to understand how the techniques of distance learning can not only be improved and perfected, but also how they can be theorized, so to be actually taught. Of particular interest are some very recent projects, which fit into the categories provided by the European Economic Community (EEC), for the support of joint activities with Eastern Europe. Indeed, in the framework of the TEMPUS protocol of the EEC, CUD has recently prepared a project, jointly with CRAI, the University of Calabria and other partners, to start diffusing these concepts to Poland and to other Eastern European countries.

Among these recent activities, we would like to concentrate on a brief description of a program to specifically educate and train professionals in research and development of Distance Learning techniques. This program, therefore, might be considered as an experiment in the teaching of Distance Learning, and the final degree as an M.S.in Distance Learning.

The Program for Engineers of Didactical Communication

It is actually difficult to give a precise English translation of some of the terms we have been using and the title of this section is a perfect example of this; the official title of the graduates produced by the program is "Ingegneri della Comunicazione Formativa". Let us therefore describe the program itself.

The program, tailored for 20 students at a time, lasts for thirty months, and it is now in its second year. The students were chosen on a highly selective basis from all of Southern Italy. The prerequisite for application is a Laurea degree, which is equivalent to about five years of U.S. college.

The selection was done on a competitive basis and the students had to demonstrate their skills through both oral and written examinations. The attitude of the students was considered of the utmost importance, because of the long duration of the course.

The professional which this course will eventually produce is a new crop of worker, based on the "Education Engineer" idea, who will have acquired an in-depth knowledge of communication technologies, as well as the capability to integrate new technologies and philosophies of education.

The course is divided into a basic core curriculum which lasts 24 months, followed by a more specialized period of training which lasts for 6 months. The core curriculum is structured in four areas: methodological, scientific, applications, and management. We do not have the space here to get into a detailed explanation of the contents of each area, but as an example, the methodological area deals with such aspects as technological models of communication, the nature of the learning process, the planning and development of courseware, etc.

The most interesting part of the course is the final, specialized one, in which the students will be expected to actually produce concrete examples of courseware in which hypermedia and hypertext will play a key role. During this period, distance methods such as electronic mail and teleconferencing will be stressed. As a matter of fact, some of the classes have already been taught using such tools as satellite conferencing, in cooperation with Tecnopolis, the technological center in Bari.

Because of the experimental nature of this program, we look forward to reporting a year from now on the results, after the program itself has reached the conclusion of its first cycle.

Daniele C. Struppa is a Professor of Mathematics and has been consulting for CUD as a module coordinator for the project described in this paper.

James Turtora, a consultant who specializes in software engineering, has taught classes at the CUD for this same project.

The views expressed by the authors are their own and not necessarily those of their institutions or of CUD.

For further information:

or and James Turtora (ACS090@GMUVAX.GMU.EDU)

can be contacted at:
Department of Mathematical Sciences
George Mason University
Fairfax, Va 22030, USA
or Dipartimento di Matematica, Universita' della Calabria
87036 Rende (CS), Italy

CUD can be contacted at Rende (CS), Italy.
Telephone: 39-984-8351; Fax: 39-984-837716.


MoSTNet -- Moscow Telecommunications Network
by Alexandra Prussakova, cdp!mostnet@labrea.stanford.edu

E - Mail addresses
S C H O O L EIES: 1593

Moscow School Telecommunication Net is the first Soviet computer communication system providing services to education. It initially supported twelve Moscow schools taking part in the New York State/Moscow School Telecommunication Project.

Now the users of the net are: schools in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow City Committee on Public Education and Moscow University. At the present time the possibilities for network expansion are limited by the lack of equipment in the schools.

The MoSTNet host computer runs on the "WildCat" communication package. MoSTNet uses an IAS node in Moscow to enter the international computer networks.

The main aim of MoSTNet is development and selection of most effective means of telecommunication in education. The Laboratory "Telecommunica- tions in Education" of the Council of Cybernetics of the Academy of Sciences is conducting research based on the MoSTNet activities. Two primary activities are developing new educational materials, and conducting international educational research projects.

Alexander Uvarov - Director of Telecommunication
Center, Alexandra Prussakova - Project Coordinator

Concern about the necessity of educational system reform and on the need for new educational content has been expressed by many educators. There exists wide spread opinion that computers and telecommunicating can make a significant change in the teaching - learning process. However,in the center of our attention is still the vital problem of introduction of new informational technologies into the school, their interaction with rapidly developing process of integration of new content and new educational means with the traditional approaches.

The basic idea was that the use of new technological means of communication and the direct contacts between people of different countries with common interests will become in the next decade one of the global factors changing the consciousness of the people. The new communicational unity will define the next step of development of world culture and the global community. In this context, the NYS-Moscow project can be regarded as one of the attempts to organize the productive dialogue between the representatives of two different cultures.

The project was founded as a pilot experiment for the evaluation of the potential role of computers and telecommunications with the rapidly changing educational content of general education and increasing contacts between the educational establishments, teachers and students of USA and USSR. The results obtained during the experiment can serve as a model for similar programs as computers and telecommunications become more widespread and less expensive.

The project was founded by Copen Family Foundation and the Council of Cybernetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR with the organizational support of New York State Department of Education and Moscow State Department of Public Education.

Alexandra Prussakova - project coordinator


FrEdMail is On the Move
by Al Rogers, Executive Director, FrEdMail Foundation
alrogers%CERF.NET@Sdsc.BITnet (FredMail)

Since the days of Horace Mann and Andrew Carnegie public schools and libraries have made the basic tools for learning and achievement available to all citizens. This same vision is the motivating force behind the rapidly growing FrEdMail Network.

Data communications is fast becoming one of the most important of the new information technologies. Electronic mail is becoming a way of life for most businesses. The access and use of electronic text is a basic and necessary research function. The solvency of any modern global economy is now dependent upon international telecommunications, which transports information from where it is created to where it is needed. Yet given the costs of most of today's commercial networks, few schools can afford to utilize the commericial networks which are available.

The FrEdMail Foundation is committed to the idea that schools and libraries across America must once again step forward, in the spirit of Horace Mann and Andrew Carnegie, as forces for democratizing access to electronic text as a basic tool of information and education. The FrEdMail Foundation believes that all teachers and students must have access to, and be able to constructively use, this increasingly important technology at the lowest possible costs.

In order to achieve this goal, the FrEdMail Foundation was incorporated in January, 1990, as a California non-profit corporation. Its purposes are to:

  1. Promote a better understanding of telecommunications technologies, and encourage and promote their responsible and effective use, in schools and classrooms across America;
  2. Promote and foster the development of a low cost, community- based, distributed electronic data communications network owned by public agencies such as schools, libraries, cities, and other community service organizations, with the goal of providing all citizens equal and free or low-cost access to the basic tools of information access, retrieval, and transmission that are so important in our age of information;
  3. Promote articulation between all segments of the community (such as schools, universities, community health agencies, community service organizations, and others), and to bring those agencies into a closer working relationship with the schools;
  4. Promote the development of effective reading, writing, and communication skills in students at all grade levels;
  5. Promote the development of geographical, cultural, and socio- political understanding on a global scale.

The FrEdMail Foundation is currently undergoing a major transition, from an informal, experimental network to a full- service, utility-grade service which can meet the growing and pressing needs for access to telecommunications technologies. In order to accomplish these goals, the FrEdMail Foundation engages in several activities.

  1. It operates the FrEdMail Network;
  2. It develops and distributes training materials in the instructional applications of telecomputing;
  3. It conducts workshops and classes to train teachers in effective applications of telecomputing;
  4. It consults with schools and districts to design telecomputing solutions;
  5. It lobbies at the state and national level to develop telecommunications policies which recognize the need of schools and students to have low-cost access to basic information services.

FrEdMail stands for "Free Educational Electronic Mail." It is a dynamic, growing distributed telecomputing network, consisting of over 120 locally owned and operated mail centers across the country, with sites in Argentina, Australia, and Ireland. During most of every day, each site operates as a stand-alone electronic bulletin board system serving local teachers and students. However, it has three features which make it unique:

  1. It allows you to send lengthy files of student writing to your correspondents.
  2. In the middle of the night, all of the FrEdMail nodes in the network busily dial each other up and exchange electronic mail (email). Thus, a teacher in California can send a batch of student writing to a teacher in Philadelphia, Connecticut, Australia, San Diego, or one of 120 other places.
  3. This service is provided to teachers and students absolutely free of charge.

FrEdMail is not an information utility. Its primary function is to transmit student writing from one place to another, thereby opening up distant audiences for students. FrEdMail is more properly thought of as a writing tool, one which can be used effectively at any grade level and in any subject. The purpose, and emphasis behind, FrEdMail is to provide real audiences and real purposes to motivate writing!

For the most part, students do not correspond directly with each other. Most activities grow out of teacher-developed projects and are implemented through teacher to teacher contacts.

Students do all of their writing away from the modem, away from the telephone line. In a well-designed program, the phone line should be used only occasionally, at which time a batch of student writing will be transmitted wholesale, quickly and efficiently. It should alleviate the pressure for acquiring expensive dedicated phone lines in order to participate in a network, thus enlarging the audience of potential teacher-participants.

Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, in the fall of 1990 the FrEdMail Network will begin using the Internet and NSFNet as its high-speed national backbone transportation system. This will permit many existing university computing facilities around the world to serve as a community file server for FrEdMail sites at local schools and district offices. This will in effect give FrEdMail users access to a utility-grade, international transport system at minimal costs. With access to these facilites, within three years the FrEdMail Network will serve over three thousand districts around the United States, with many international connections.

To receive more information and a free complimentary copy of the latest FrEdMail Newsletter, send us your name, school, district, and complete mailing address to:

FrEdMail Foundation
Box 243
Bonita, CA 92002-0243

Al Rogers, Executive Director
FrEdMail Foundation
PO Box 243
Bonita, CA 92002
Internet: alrogers@cerf.net
Applelink: alrogers
CIS: 76167,3514


Distance Education: An Overview and its Use in American Education
Presented at the Second International
Student/Young Pugwash Conference
Leningrad, USSR, September 22-26, 1990
by Jeffrey Porten, Annenberg School for Communication


New technologies can now change an aspect of education that has remained the same since the time of Aristotle: physical location of the instructor in relation to the students. Predominant in the history of education to date has been the group-based, oral method of instruction to a group within sensory distance of the instructor. In recent decades, however, more and more sophisticated methods have become available that separate the tutor from the tutee but still allow a relationship conducive to quality education.

This method of teaching, termed distance education, has been either somewhat successful or an abject failure, depending on the interpretation of results. Although a university has been running on this model for two decades in Great Britain, few similar programs have followed in its footsteps.

Varieties of distance teaching are gaining acceptance in the United States. This success has applied only to certain aspects of distance education; for various reasons, other types have been inhibited by insuperable hurdles.

Even in the accepted medium of combining distance education as part of a classroom curriculum, through the use of broadcast television, controversy has been sparked by an offer by Whittle Communications, which has offered free television equipment in return for a guarantee that all students will watch the program, as well as the two minutes of commercials that are included.

Distance education is not meant to be a panacea for educational deficiencies, yet it could be a method of correcting some faults of the educational system as it stands. This paper summarizes its tenets, and determine why it has met with resistance in this country, or, more frequently, not been introduced at all.

Jeffrey Porten
Annenberg School for Communication


Echoes in the Electronic Wind: A Vision Quest for Native American Empowerment
by Frank Odasz, oldcolo!bigsky!franko@hp-lsd.cos.hp.com

"This electronic telepathy lets one toss thoughts to the electronic wind and hear the echoes of other minds, as they touch our thoughts, without debt to time or distance." Frank Odasz

US West has funded Western Montana College of the University of Montana to empower the ingenuity of Montanans through a grant designed to train 104 rural residents in the use of telecommunications to benefit their communities. These "Community Telegraphers" will learn how to enjoy greater access to statewide resource persons and to communicate nationally and globally through Big Sky Telegraph. An additional five community electronic systems, modeled after Big Sky Telegraph, will be created to demonstrate the advantages of a local system, which can provide everyone within the local dialing area with free access to national and global communications.

Big Sky Telegraph is a model project showcasing the convenience of personal computer communications for community empowerment. Written messages can be more easily shared than spoken communications with 100% reliability and NO telephone tag. Many of the benefits are invisible until personally experienced, but the power is indisputable.

Today, Native Americans may be faced with a spiritual challenge. Whether a spiritual mission, or an ancestral obligation for survivors of a tragic past, this technology presents a challenge of vision. Young Native Americans carry the dreams and hopes of countless generations of ancestors in an age where personal computer telecommunications make it possible to bring together tribal communities to strengthen cultural bonds.

Communities have traditionally changed and evolved through the introduction of new technology, new information, and world events. The view that cultures remain static appears true only in the short term.

American Indian cultures have transformed themselves for thousands of years as tribes traveled, merged with other tribes, shifted from hunters to farming, or the reverse. American Indian cultures changed in the 1700s when the Spaniards introduced horses and iron knives. The rifle, white settlers, disease, and alcohol changed the culture again in the 1800s. The 1900s have overwhelmed Native American cultures through massive development brought on by increasing global mobility and rapid technological advances.

Knowledge today is the "meat" necessary for community survival. "Scouts" can use telecommunications to seek out knowledge necessary to the survival of a community and bring it home to for all to share. Knowledge on how to use telecommunications to access vital information can stengthen a community's ability to meet its own needs. In this way, Big Sky Telegraph is the Winchester of the 1900s.

It is now possible to vend original Native American poetry and art internationally via telecommunications as a culturally-reinforcing economic activity. The value of the artwork is in its authenticity, making it important for a Crow to be MORE Crow to succeed, instead of becoming less Crow to survive in today's changing world.

There are hundreds of Native American artists working in relative isolation across the Northern Plains. Cultural re-education programs are emerging, an example of which is the Mountain Crow in Lodge Grass, MT, who are re-learning the crafts forgotten during the last generation, as well as creating new crossover art forms. The need exists to bring these artists together to market their art internationally.

Native American products are held in high esteem in Europe and around the world. If all Native American product listings from Montana were gathered and telecommunications was used to market them around the world, the value inherent in being Crow, or Blackfeet, or Shoshone, would be reinforced. The Navajo already are using telecommunications to market their products in 40 countries. Several international trade experts have already pledged their support in helping create a Northern Plains Marketing Consortium. The Whole Earth Review Magazine has pledged to run a major article next spring on Big Sky Telegraph's efforts marketing Native American computer art through telecommunications.

A tribal electronic bulletin board, placed at the location of the tribe's choice, and accessible by everyone at no charge within the local dialing area, could serve as a reflection of the tribal community. Limited public access to the system would allow people from all over the world to call in to learn about the specific tribe and what the tribe has to market or teach.

Written histories, essays, and stories can be collected, preserved, and shared. Pow-wows can take place without traveling, by sending and receiving messages of light, at ANY convenient time, using a personal computer and phonelines. This is easy to learn, but requires a forward vision of that which could be.

The young can assist the old in preserving cultural history, and in sharing it more easily within the tribe and throughout the world. Online courses teaching tribal history and culture could be offered worldwide as an economic educational activity. Cultural tourism could be promoted. Tours such as Curly Bear Wagner's Blackfeet historical tour could provide international tourists with an opportunity to hear each tribe's historical perspective. Causes such as protecting Mother Earth can be dramatically empowered.

It is possible that tribally controlled electronic bulletin board systems could serve a positive democratizing role for tribal members. Another advantage would be allowing tribal members living off the reservation to remain linked with their tribal community. Western Montana College, Telegraph's Circuit Riders, and the Big Sky Telegraph staff can show you how to use these new tools for yourself, but you must lead your own hunt for knowledge. We can provide the training, but you must provide the talent and the vision. The full potential will remain invisible until the rites of initiation have been experienced, through direct participation. Once this first step has been taken toward your tribe's future in the Information Age, we will walk with you every step of the way, until we all share the view from the ridgetop



A. Request for Asian-American Studies

I am looking for courses, majors, minors, or concentrations in Asian-American studies. Does anyone know of such courses which are offered on-line? If so, please let me know. Thanks

Harry W. Gardiner, PhD
Psychology Department
University of Wisconsin
LaCrosse, WI 54601

B. ANNOUNCEMENT: Norman Coombs named Professor of the Year

Norman R. Coombs, a blind professor of history at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been named New York State Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The organization chose Coombs from 537 state nominees for his extraordinary commitment to teaching, service to RIT and his profession, and his impact on students, according to RIT. About 2,900 colleges and universities belong to the council, the nation's largest association of educational institutions. Coombs, who has worked at RIT since 1961, is known for teaching his classes along with telecourses in the College of Continuing Education through RIT's computer network. He conducts class discussions and sends and receives assignments all on the computer. A voice synthesizer enables him to "read" his students' electronic messages. "I tell them I'm blind, but it's irrelevant," Coombs said in the written announcement. "I work on the computer the same as they do. The computer obliterates my handicap."

Coombs is on a sabbatical leave to adapt three of his black history courses for computer delivery. Coombs wrote Black Experience in America and he has published extensively on computerized instruction. He has a master's degree and a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


IASSIST 1991 Conference Announcement IASSIST 1991
Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce the 17th IASSIST conference, which will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada during May 14-17, 1991. The central theme will be "DATA IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE: STEWARDSHIP OF AN EXPANDING RESOURCE." This title expresses IASSIST's concern for managing and sharing computer-readable data gathered on a wide range of issues facing our global community. This theme also touches upon the need to care for and preserve an ever-expanding volume of computer-readable data.

The Conference Committee is soliciting proposals for papers, presentations, poster sessions, and panel discussions in areas including:

Specific topics within these general areas for the 1991 conference include:

Proposals for presentations of any kind should be received by the Program Committee Chair on or before November 15, 1990.

Proposals should be accompanied by a brief abstract (ca. 100 words). Notification of acceptance of the presentation will be given by December 15, 1990.

For further information, we invite you to contact the Program Committee chair:

Laine Ruus
Data Library Service
University of Toronto Library
130 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 1A5

telephone: (416) 978-5589
FAX: (416) 978-7653 or
e-mail: laine@vm.utcs.utoronto.ca

D. Request for International Directory Contributions

I am compiling an international directory of computer-based facilities doing research in the humanities and general area of language. Approximately 175 such facilities are presently catalogued through questionnaires dis- tributed throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. So far, we have had no evidence of such activity in Latin America, Australia or Africa. Whether this lack of information is due to the absence of activity or a failure to identify it cannot be easily determined. If anyone on the DISTED network is aware of facilities that should be included, any information will be appreciated.

Joseph Raben
Queens College
Flushing NY 11367


Visiting Research Fellows

The Center for Information Technology at the University of Alaska Anchorage is seeking applicants for one senior visiting research fellow and two junior visiting research fellow positions.

The research fellows program provides full support for research projects that will contribute to the understanding and/or development of Alaska's communication and information systems.

Senior Researcher: $55,000 for 12 months, medical benefits, relocation allotment.
Junior Researchers: $27,500 for 12 months, medical benefits, relocation allotment.
One junior research fellow position is to be filled in February 1991. The senior research fellow position and the other junior research fellow position are to be filled at the beginning of the 1991-92 academic year. All positions are for 12 months, with the possibility of renewal for an additional 6 months.

The fellows will be selected on the basis of research or project proposals that offer some promise of accomplishing one or more of the following:

The center wants to encourage a variety of methodological approaches to analysis of communication and information issues. Projects may be in the areas of communication effects, information management, telecommunication policy, or applications development. They may be critical assessments from the users' perspective of existing technologies or demonstrations of how technologies might be used in innovative ways to meet Alaskans' needs. They might also focus on improving understanding of how decisions regarding Alaska's telecommunication systems are made.

The senior research fellow would be nationally recognized for research activities related to communications and/or information systems. Possess a Ph.D.

The junior research fellows would have graduate training in the type of research that is proposed. Possess an M.A.; ABD preferred.

Deadline for senior visiting research fellow and one junior visiting research fellow position is Feb. 27, 1991. A candidate for the senior research fellow position may nominate a candidate for one of the junior research positions in the application. Review of applications for junior research fellow position to be filled in February will begin Dec. 28, 1990, and continue until the position is filled.

Applications should state:

More information is available from the Center for Information Technology, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2221 E. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 209, Anchorage, AK 99508. The Bitnet address is AFLLP@ALASKA. Submit application materials to Dr. Larry Pearson, Director of the Center.

F. ANNOUNCEMENT: Catalogue of Distance Delivered K-12 Course Offerings Compiled

I am putting together information on K-12 course offerings and inservice teacher training programs delivered via distance learning networks. As far as I can determine, no such complete catalogue exists. If your oganization does provide either or both services (for free or for a fee), and you would like them included in our survey, please send the information to:

Prof. Arthur Shapiro
Management Department
Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, NJ 07030

G. REQUEST: Request for information about the use of networks, distance education, and/or educational technology by, for, or with Native audiences or indigenous cultures.

If you have any information about this, please email the editor at: jfjbo@alaska. Thank you.

H. Getting Past Issues of the Online Journal

A number of people have asked for directions in obtaining past issues of the Online Journal, which, along with Paul Coffin's help, I have finally put together. This is basically a three step process:

  1. Request the "disted filelist" from listserv@uwavm.
  2. Once you receive the disted filelist, look through it and decide which back issues you want.
  3. Request the back issue from listserv@uwavm

From the VAX main frame at the University of Alaska the process is as follows. Everything I type is in square brackets []. All my notes to the reader are in regular brackets {}.

$ [send listserv@uwavm]
(UWAVM)LISTSERV: [get disted filelist]
(UWAVM)LISTSERV: {Wait a few seconds (hopefully), until you see:}

(UWAVM)LISTSERV - * File "DISTED FILELIST" has been sent to you in Punch format. {This means it has been sent, but NOT received yet.}
(UWAVM)LISTSERV: {A few seconds later you should see:}

(ALASKA) - Received network file DISTED.FILELIST from LISTSERV@UWAVM
{Of course you wouldn't see the word Alaska, but the name of your own node.}

(UWAVM)LISTSERV: {Now the file is on your main frame waiting for you.}

$ [receive *.*] {note- this process converts the file I receive from Punch format to something that I can list on my screen.}
%RECEIVE-S-COPIED, Copied punch file

{Now I type out the file, which is essentially a catalog of back issues, to see what it is I want.}

$ [type disted.filelist]

* * File "DISTED FILELIST" contains records larger than 80 characters. * It is consequently being sent to you in "Listserv-Punch" format.

* * You can get information about that format by sending the following * command to LISTSERV@UWAVM.BITNET: "Info LPunch"

78/2/* Archives for list DISTED (Online Journal of Distance Ed. and Communication)
70/1/* The GET/PUT authorization codes shown with each file entry describe
44/1/* who is authorized to GET or PUT the file:
21/1/* ALL = Everybody
26/1/* N/A = Not Applicable
56/1/* LCL = Local users, as defined at installation time
36/1/* PRV = Private, ie list members
23/1/* OWN = List owners
65/1/* NAD = Node Administrators, ie official BITNET/EARN contacts
60/1/* CTL = LISTSERV Controllers (Also called "Postmasters")
27/1/* HDR = See list header
33/1/* NOTEBOOK archives for the list
21/1/* (Monthly notebook)
61/1/* rec last - change
71/1/* filename filetype GET PUT -fm lrecl nrecs date time Remarks
103/2/ DISTED LOG8803 ALL OWN V 79 594 88/03/23 01:26:56
Started on Thu, 3 Mar 88 14:22:34 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8804 ALL OWN V 79 1163 88/04/17 12:45:50
Started on Sun, 17 Apr 88 11:44:13 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG8807 ALL OWN V 79 902 88/07/03 19:22:42
Started on Sun, 3 Jul 88 18:17:49 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8810 ALL OWN V 79 1028 88/10/13 20:49:46
Started on Thu, 13 Oct 88 19:47:00 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG8811 ALL OWN V 79 38 88/11/01 15:04:58
Started on Tue, 1 Nov 88 14:05:21 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8812 ALL OWN V 80 3246 88/12/14 19:24:18
Started on Tue, 13 Dec 88 18:18:56 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8902 ALL OWN V 79 1319 89/02/27 00:54:51
Started on Sun, 26 Feb 89 23:50:45 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG8903 ALL OWN V 79 145 89/03/17 11:57:38
Started on Wed, 1 Mar 89 20:44:55 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8904 ALL OWN V 79 20 89/04/13 16:09:01
Started on Thu, 13 Apr 89 15:09:10 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8905 ALL OWN V 80 1428 89/05/12 11:26:42
Started on Fri, 12 May 89 10:20:02 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG8907 ALL OWN V 79 2713 89/07/05 16:22:47
Started on Tue, 4 Jul 89 17:34:49 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG8910 ALL OWN V 79 957 89/10/04 10:19:53
Started on Wed, 4 Oct 89 09:11:01 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG8912 ALL OWN V 79 1185 89/12/21 06:28:21
Started on Thu, 21 Dec 89 05:21:41 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG9003 ALL OWN V 80 1098 90/03/18 12:42:28
Started on Sun, 18 Mar 90 11:36:12 -0900

104/2/ DISTED LOG9009 ALL OWN V 77 1542 90/09/14 14:38:30
Started on Fri, 14 Sep 90 12:36:18 -0900

103/2/ DISTED LOG9011 ALL OWN V 76 1532 90/11/09 14:19:20
Started on Fri, 9 Nov 90 12:42:31 -0900


{The file format makes this difficult to read. However, all you really need to know is that the date at the end of the record corresponds to the LOG number toward the beginning. For example, in the last record LOG9011 pertains to the issue that came out November 9, 1990. Read that: Log from 1990, month 11. To get that issue, I procede as follows:}

$ [send listserv@uwavm]
(UWAVM)LISTSERV: [get disted log9011]
(UWAVM)LISTSERV - * File "DISTED LOG9011" has been sent to you in Punch format. {The back issue has been sent, but not yet received.} (UWAVM)LISTSERV:

(ALASKA) - Received network file DISTED.LOG9011 from LISTSERV@UWAVM {Now it is on the main frame waiting for me.}
$ [receive *.*] {Again, the receive process is necessary to convert the Punch file.}
%RECEIVE-S-COPIED, Copied punch file
from: DISTED.LOG9011;1

{To see it I print it to the screen.}
$ [type disted.log9011]

{The Online Journal would appear on the screen, at which point it could be read real-time, captured in a file, printed to your printer, or any combination of these.}

Le me know if you need more information.
The editor.


Distance EDitorial- Choosing the Right Computer Conference Metaphor

Although on-line teachers may be sitting at an electronic round table, they still inherit a number of responsibilities of classroom teaching. It will be largely up to the teacher to make sure that a conference is organized and successful.

Of primary importance is the structure of a computer conference, as it impacts the conference the same way a classroom's physical arrangement impacts the kind of education that can happen within its walls. I recommend you think in terms of a conference metaphor [Mason,1989]: Is your on-line conference a graduate seminar room? a round table? a glorified record-a -phone machine? a coffee shop? a drop-in center? a cooperative classroom? a bulletin board? Here are a few examples based on real PortaCOM applications at Univ. of Alaska:

  1. BULLETIN BOARD- Students post papers to a conference, bulletin board style; other students don't read or reply, only the teacher does.
  2. SMALL GROUP LEARNING- Groups of students have separate conferences in which they critique each other's papers; a grade is shared.

  3. JIGSAW COOPERATIVE LEARNING- Every student or group of students is responsible for a part of an assignment; they share information and build one complete assignment out of their efforts.

  4. COFFEE SHOP/SALOON- Individuals sign on to an open forum, where anything is up for discussion.

  5. TAKE HOME-EXAM DISCUSSION SEMINAR- A mid-term exam is posted to a conference; students are allowed to conference about the questions (only on- line, not face-to-face), simulating a cross between peer tutoring and collaborative learning; this mid-term tests for process (if learning computer conferencing is part of the course), as well as content.

  6. SUGGESTION BOX- A conference is established in which students can log on anonymously and leave notes for a teacher about a class they are taking from him or her; this makes possible a certain level of honesty not possible in face-to-face evaluations.

  7. LECTURE HALL- A read-only conference about Islam is maintained by one person who adds text to the conference weekly.

  8. EXTENDED OFFICE/COMMONS HOURS- A computer conference is maintained as a supplement to weekly face-to-face classes. Students conference with each other about weekly assignments and post questions for each other or the teacher to answer.

These are just a few applications of computer conferencing, each of which pertains to a metaphor or combination of metaphors for group communication. Many metaphors and conference models wait to be discovered.



[What follows is an excerpt from the first issue of the Journal.]

This first issue will be primarily concerned with the Journal itself. Once we provide an idea of the Journal's identity and direction, we hope you will contribute to this rapidly growing field of education and communication.


We want short contributions, 4 screens maximum. Rather than trying to compete with a paper-based magazine which does a much better job of presenting long articles, we want contributions that present overview information. Based upon information gleaned in contributions, readers can directly contact the author for more details.


The issues that the Journal is concerned with fall into four basic content areas:

  1. Content Area #1- Distance Education

    The Journal is interested in distance education as the organized method of reaching geographically disadvantaged learners, whether K-12, post secondary, or general enrichment students. Areas of interest include:

    • delivery technologies,
    • pedagogy,
    • cross cultural issues implicit in wide area education delivery,
    • distance education projects that you are involved with,
    • announcements, workshops, or programs of study,
    • anything else regarding the theory and practice of distance education.

  2. Content Area #2- Distance Communications

    The Journal recognizes that education encompasses a broad area of experience and that distance education includes distance communications that fall outside the domain of formal learning. The Journal welcomes contributions that deal with serving people at a distance who aren't necessarily associated with a learning institution. The Journal welcomes information about, for examples:

    • public radio and television efforts to promote cultural awareness,
    • governmental efforts to inform a distant public about social issues,
    • or the many training programs run by private business to upgrade employee skills.

  3. Content Area #3- Telecommunications in Education

    Once the distance education infrastructure is solidly in place, local learners will want to tap into it, because they simply prefer learning in a decentralized setting or because they want to expand their learning opportunities and resources beyond those immediately available to them. This phenomenon, which we call 'bringing distance education home,' will grow in the coming years and we look forward to hearing from people about telecommunications in education, as a tool or a content area.

  4. Content Area #4- Cross Cultural Communication Efforts
    Particularly Between the US and the USSR

    The Journal is interested in projects concerned with overcoming cultural barriers through the use of electronic communication. The Journal particularly looks forward to contributions concerning:

    • efforts to improve electronic communication between the USSR and the US
    • international electronic conferences
    • cultural domination through the inappropriate use of media
    • the use of telecommunications to promote understanding of the human condition

To subscribe to The Online Journal of Distance Education and Communication, send the following command to LISTSERV@UWAVM :

SUB DISTED your_full_name

All contributions should be sent to JADIST@ALASKA

Any other questions about DISTED can be sent to:

Jason B. Ohler, Editor
Paul J. Coffin
Disclaimer: The above were the opinions of the individual contributors and in no way reflect the views of the University of Alaska.

End of the Online Journal of Distance Education & Communication