Volume #3, Issue #3

Date: March 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.

Volume #3, Issue #3

March 1990

Editor: Jason Ohler

Educational Technology Program Director
University of Alaska Southeast
11120 Glacier Highway
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: 907-789-4538, 4417

Technical Coordinator: Paul J. Coffin
716 Taschereau
Ste-Therese, Quebec J7E 4E1
Phone: 514-430-0995


I used to attend Marshall McLuhan's modern poetry class at the University of Toronto (-he was first and foremost a poetry teacher-) to listen to him talk on and on about the nature of the media, how it impacted the way we behaved and turned us into the people we were becoming. Much of what he said had very little to do directly with poetry, but that didn't bother my colleagues and me. Besides, McLuhan convinced most of us by the end of the year that life, most importantly, WAS poetry, a living metaphor telling us what we thought was important as a culture.

One day he decreed (he didn't suggest anything- he decreed it, like Zeus, with absolute certainty and authority) that reading the newspaper was for most a pleasant experience, like stepping into a warm bath. The comment drew an immediate objection from one of the students who said that given all of the bad news in the paper, reading it was more like stepping into a pit of warm sludge (or something to this effect). "Not at all," McLuhan smirked in his typically self-righteous, condescending manner. "There's plenty of good news- that's what the ads are."

Thus, McLuhanistically speaking, this issue is filled with "good news," because it consists mostly of announcements, as close as we get to ads in a public interest journal. I normally wait until I have five good articles before publishing, but because announcements rapidly become dated, I am publishing now. I am considering in the future releasing announcements independent of articles.


Please limit articles to 4 screens (2 pages) maximum if it's possible.


  1. Subject: Computer-Mediated Writing and the Writer In Electronic ResidenceFrom: Trevor Owen, USERNBSP@SFU

  2. Subject: An excerpt from "Personal Computing in the CEMA Community: A Study of International Technology Development and Management" From: Dr. Ross Alan Stapleton, STAPLETON@ARIZMIS

  3. Subject: ANNOUNCEMENTS & REQUESTS From: The readers

    1. Announcement #1 Subject: Sixth Annual Conference on Distance Teaching/Learning From: Chris Olgren, 608/262-5525

    2. Announcement #2 Subject: LINKING FOR LEARNING, a distance education publication from the US Congress From: Patt Haring, patth@sci.ccny.cuny.edu

    3. Announcement #3 Subject: Empire State College Position From: Lowell Roberts

    4. Announcement #4 Subject: Computer-Mediated Communication in Education: An Electronic Conference From: Teri Harrison, Associate Professor & Comserve Co-Editor, SUPPORT@RPIECS

    5. Announcement #5 Subject: Electronic Networking Association Conference From: KIDSNET@pittvms

    6. Announcement #6 Subject: Regents College is looking for distance education material From: Kate Gulliver, NYS001@ALBNYVMS

    7. Announcement #7 Subject: Looking for ways to reach the USSR via email From: Bob Lewis, R.A.Lewis@EXETER.AC.UK

    8. Announcement #8 Subject: ICDE world conference on distance education Reply-To: Chris Clark, GCC1@PSUVM.BITNET

    9. Announcement #9 Subject: Courses in social work offered online From: Tzipporah BenAvraham, cmcl2!dasys1!tzippy%harvard@harvunxw.BITNET

    10. Announcement #10 Subject: Editor looking for materials about using computer mediated communication as a tool for conflict resolution, negotiation, or intercultural communication. See DISTANCE EDitorial From: The editor

  4. Subject: DISTANCE EDitorial: Using Computer Mediated Communication as an Intercultural Communication Tool. From: The editor

  5. Subject: ABOUT THE JOURNAL From: The editor


Item #1

Subject: Computer-Mediated Writing and the Writer In Electronic Residence
From: Trevor Owen, USERNBSP@SFU


Trevor Owen
Riverdale Collegiate
1094 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, Ontario

At Riverdale Collegiate Institute, an inner city secondary school in Toronto, technology is used for writing in the English classroom, and for extending that experience by communicating with others, primarily students, writers, and teachers throughout Canada, North America and the world. Our work in language-based computer-mediated communication is known as "Computer-Mediated Writing." The "Writer In Electronic Residence" projects, which form the centerpiece of our program, have been supported by the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University for three years.


Students compose original works and commentary using word processors, and then incorporate telecommunications into the process, connecting directly to the host computer at Simon Fraser and posting their writing in an electronic conference that has been established for them. Most of the original writing is poetry and short fiction, but other issues emerge from time to time that encourage writing in other forms.

These language-based programs are about writing and communication, and embrace word processing and telecommunications as desirable applications in the English classroom for two reasons: [a] the nature of on-line interaction is textual and, therefore, appropriate to writing and commentary; and, [b] the on-line forum provides a certain equity of use, placing students in control of what to write, when and where to send it, and how to respond.

In each case, the goal of the program has been to place students in control of the media before them, and to utilize these media to broaden the shape and scope of the classroom experience. In this way, our program overcomes distance and time to bring the world to the classroom.


The first project, ELECTRO-POETS, was undertaken with poet LIONEL KEARNS from British Columbia in 1988. ELECTRO-POETS involved two classes: one from Riverdale, and the other from Cariboo Hill Secondary School in B.C. Over the four month period that the project operated, the students clearly embraced the online program as part of their daily classroom experience. They generated some two hundred pages of original text and commentary.

The second project, NEW-VOICES, operated in 1989 with poet DAVID McFADDEN, and science fiction writer GUY GAVRIEL KAY. Novelist and short fiction author KATHERINE GOVIER joined in near the end of the project. NEW-VOICES expanded the role of online activity within existing classroom-based curriculum, involving more schools from Ontario and B.C.

Our current project, WIRED.WRITERS, is operating with KATHERINE GOVIER, who returned for a second electronic residency, and poet LORNA CROZIER, who also served as writer in residence at the University of Toronto (UofT) during the fist half of this academic session. WIRED.WRITERS involves ten schools and has been operating since the end of January.


We know now that CMC links offer meaningful opportunities for language development and proficiency. Students control their own experiences and gain a very real understanding of themselves and one another through this control. Tolerance is promoted as a natural result of attempting to see the world as another might.


But we know, too, that a need exists to interpret experience within a meaningful context. To this extent, it is clear that CMC offers an oral possibility--especially when the telecommunicated experience is incorporated into an existing constituency, like a classroom. We believe that we have encountered this because we are dealing with students in classrooms, as distinct from, say, distance education models of delivery, which tend to flow out from a central source in a so-called "one-to-many" arrangement.

We have identified this need to interpret experience within the established, participating constituencies as "local shape".

We have learned much from our projects in which language links were made possible using telecommunications, and we believe that many, meaningful opportunities to summon language flow naturally from these links--both online and as a result of having been online.


We think there are some key ideas that may promote this interaction using telecommunications. The projects emphasize task, not technology, and they are language-based, involving participants in actively summoning language appropriate to the tasks at hand, and particular language in particular situations. Accordingly, they seek to empower learners by offering direct and personal access to activities that are relevant now. And they promote equity, seeking to increase access across constituencies by extending our reach out into the world and bringing what we find there back into the classroom--to meet existing curricular goals.

LANGUAGE ACTIVITY At Riverdale, we view the telecommunicated experience as a language activity, and we believe that many meaningful opportunities to summon language flow naturally from these links--both online and as a result of having been online. And students agree.

"What a WONDERFUL learning experience it has been," wrote student Yit Yin Tong, who is currently in grade twelve at Riverdale. "It has given me a new perspective on learning, and learning how to learn. With other writers of the world, we have all responded and contributed to one another. I see this as something that has changed my life." She adds that "education shouldn't always be within classroom walls."

Ritz Chow, who currently attends the Faculty of Pharmacy, UofT, has worked with us online for three years now. She writes:

"There is a transition from thoughts to words, a mechanical process of the brain that fills a 7" by 10" screen. I discovered that the best part about writing is writing. And being read is rather fun, too. In the past electronic writing conferences, I was most surprised by the reactions of those who read my pieces. I came to realize that when someone read my piece, the words were no longer my own, but rather the reader's. It was the reader's concept of my words, not the words themselves, that had life. The static sentences travelled in the interpretations of the readers. The small screen of the computer holds a great view. Not only can we glimpse the world through the computer screen, but the world can gaze back, into our rooms, into our faces, into our words."

Riverdale Collegiate. (1988, August). Computers and word- processing in the English classroom, 3(1). [Annual documentation of the school's telecommunications activities.]

Chow, R. (1989, August). The computer-mediated writer. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology in Education conference, Telecommunications in Education, Jerusalem, Israel.

Owen, T. (1989). Computer-mediated writing and the writer in electronic residence. In R. Mason and A. Kaye (Eds.), Mindweave: Communication, computers and distance education (pp. 208-211). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Owen, T. (1990). Waiting to connect: The writer in electronic residence, The Computing Teacher, (17)5, 46-49.


Subject: An Excerpt from "Personal Computing in the CEMA Community: A Study of International Technology Development and Management"
From: Dr. Ross Alan Stapleton, STAPLETON@ARIZMIS

Editor's Note: There has been a surge of interest in Soviet computing from many sectors of society, including the distance education community. A number of joint educational telecommunications projects using email connections with the Soviet Union are emerging. Dr. Stapleton brings us up to date on the status of computing within the CEMA community. Contact him if you are interested in receiving his entire report on the subject.

Author's Note: "CEMA" is one of several accepted acronyms for the East Bloc (formerly) the equivalent of the EEC. In Russian it is the "Soviet Ekonomicheskoy Vzaimopomoshchi." That translates most closely to "Council of Economic Mutual Assistance," hence "CEMA." Also used is "SEV" (the Russian acronym), "CMEA" (reshuffling of CEMA preferred by a minority) and "Comecon."

I have used it, as do others, because it avoids the military stigma of "Warsaw Pact," embraces all of the East European countries (also includes Mongolia, Cuba, North Korea, etc., though...) and actually does form the framework for multilateral economic cooperation. It is probably best to describe it as I have in the first three sentences of this paragraph, and mention that it is their vehicle for multilateral cooperation. There have been discussions recently over the desires by members like Hungary to move toward a more market-based relationship, which may severely diminish the role of the CEMA.

From "Conclusions and Directions for Future Research" section: It is readily apparent that the CEMA community is inferior to the West in the creation and application of personal computing resources, and that that inferiority is comprised of both a developmental lag, and qualitative and quantitative factors. It has always been extremely difficult to give a figure for "how much the CEMA community lags the West in personal computing" (though the question is often asked), because the deficiencies are not measurable on a strictly linear scale. This has become even more the case as personal computing has been transformed from a high technology to a mass commodity outside} the CEMA community.

This raises two points. The first is that the CEMA community should not be evaluated merely on "lag evidence," e.g., "What density of memory chip has been achieved by what time, and how does that compare with the West?"

A more comprehensive evaluation of the breadth and capacity of industries, the availability of information, and many other factors must be made, and the conclusions may not be reducible to anything approaching a one-dimensional scaling of East against West.

The second point is that the CEMA community is being presented with increased opportunities for interaction with the world markets, and that this interaction need not be as much a cause for concern to either side as it has been in the past.

There is an inordinate degree of reluctance in some portions of the CEMA community (the USSR being a prime example) to rely on non-CEMA sources for intermediate and final products. Some CEMA countries, on the other hand, have turned sharply toward the West, as if to make up for CEMA deficiencies at any cost.

A partial explanation for the former behavior lies in the fact that Western export controls have indeed had an impact on the CEMA economies in these areas. Despite some CEMA claims to the contrary, export controls have made the indigenous growth of some technologies much more difficult, though not impossible. More importantly, Western export control policies have had an apparent effect on trade even where technologies are outside the restrictions.

The real and perceived problems, including delays in license applications and the potential for a calculated or even capricious readjustment of the control limits, have certainly not encouraged closer interaction. Simultaneously, however, the global markets (excluding the CEMA countries) have become much more open. The US has gone from a position of relative isolation as a majority, if not monopoly, supplier of PC technology to a major consumer of products from Japan and the NICs.

It may be too strong to say that Western export control policies have discouraged those CEMA countries that are overly self-isolating from more closely integrating themselves into world markets. But they have probably contributed to the inertia. Gorbachev's "perestroika" is an attempt to restructure the slow-moving industries, putting internal pressure on organizations and bureaucratic structures that have shown themselves incapable of reacting well to external change. And export controls may have served as much as an excuse for inaction as they have been a deterrent to growth. CEMA officials have often made the claim that the trade restrictions have only served to build up the CEMA technological base, by requiring indigenous solutions. But many of the CEMA "solutions" would be utterly noncompetitive if all barriers were removed, and the CEMA planners, researchers and designers have been underinformed and unimaginative. The rapid change and growth in the computer industries of the West over the last decade caught the CEMA community, the Soviets in particular, flatfooted.

Perestroika, whether or not it succeeds, is designed to substantially alter the situation. There is little the West can do to influence that process, but its success would not necessarily be a bad thing from a Western perspective. Western companies have shown great interest in dealing with the CEMA community, and the transformation of personal computing to a commodity good makes trade acceptable, even desirable, in light of the stated intentions of Western export control policies. But there remain enormous barriers on the CEMA side, both economic and political. Whether or not the Gorbachev administration can survive in the wake of the changes it is inducing is a question for other researchers, though it is clear that the Soviet Union is far from an absolute dictatorship, and political opposition to the current policies is a matter of record. Important limitations also exist in the ability of the Soviets to raise funds for international trade, and in the rate at which organizations can be made to change.

Item #3


From: The readers

Announcement #1

Subject: Sixth Annual Conference on Distance Teaching/Learning
From: Chris Olgren, 608/262-5525

Presentation proposals are invited for the Sixth Annual Conference on Distance Teaching/Learning, to be held August 8-10, 1990, in Madison, Wis.

The conference theme, "Echoes from the Future: Challenges for New Learning Systems," examines how distance education is responding to social and technological change. For example, what are new learning needs and organizational roles? How does the future affect today's plans and actions? What are current responses?

Proposals for 50-minute informational sessions may be submitted in a number of areas, including the learning process, teaching/training approaches, learner assessment/support, instructional design, program management and organizational change. Proposals are due March 1, 1990.

The annual Distance Teaching Learning Conference focuses on applications of educational technology--telecommunications, computers, tape or print--to bridge geographic boundaries. As a national forum on distance education and training, the conference is attended by people from throughout the United States, Canada and other countries.

For more information contact Chere Gibson at (608) 262-8611
Chris Olgren at (608) 262-5525
University of Wisconsin, Department of Continuing and Vocational Education
225 North Mills Street
Madison, WI 53706.

Announcement #2

Subject: LINKING FOR LEARNING, a distance education publication from the US Congress
From: Patt Haring, patth@sci.ccny.cuny.edu

[Excerpted from LINC NOTES, December 1989
Published by LINC Resources Inc.
4820 Indianola Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 885-5599]

"Linking for Learning" A New Course for Education," a study of distance learning requested by the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and endorsed by the House Committee on Education and Labor, is available for $9 from :

The Superintendent of Documents
U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402-9325
GPO #052-003-01170

Announcement #3

Subject: Empire State College Position
From: Lowell Roberts


Empire State College's (State University of N.Y.) new Center for Learning & Technology is developing a multi-media delivery system to support student/ faculty learning, link students/faculty to learning resources & promote development/implementation of innovative applications of technology.

The Center is now accepting applications for 3 positions:

USER SUPPORT COORDINATOR to support faculty academic computing (state-of-art knowledge of micros & design analysis exp.);

TRAINING COORDINATOR to design, develop, coordinate faculty/staff telecom training;

LEARNING RESOURCES COORDINATOR to work with faculty to identify & secure access to mediated resources (including elect- ronic libraries).

Positions located in Saratoga Springs, NY, & pay mid-30s (US). Complete descriptions & qualifications from
Janet Zimmer, Dir. of Personnel
1 Union Ave.,br> Saratoga Springs, NY 12866,USA.

To apply send letter & resume to Ms. Zimmer.

Review 1/23/90 ff. until filled.

Announcement #4

Subject: Computer-Mediated Communication in Education: An Electronic Conference
From: Teri Harrison, Associate Professor & Comserve Co-Editor, SUPPORT@RPIECS

Computer-Mediated Communication in Education:

An Electronic Conference
edited and moderated by
Professor Norman Coombs,Rochester Institute of Technology
sponsored by Comserve

Interested individuals are invited to participate in an electronic conference addressing the uses of computer-mediated communication for educational purposes. The conference will explore how electronic mail and computer conferencing can be integrated into college education. Among the topics addressed will be: uses of electronic mail and computer conferencing to deliver information, conduct class discussions, handle questions and answers; the techniques and technologies that are currently being used and new ones that are envisioned; how these educational technologies influence course content, teaching style, student participation; and studies that have explored the success of these applications.

The conference will be edited and moderated by Professor Norman Coombs of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Prof. Coombs has used electronic mail and computer conferencing to teach college courses for the last four years and conducts research in the educational applications of information technology. In 1989, Prof. Coombs won a Masters of Innovation Award from Zenith for his innovative use of computer conferencing in an educational program for deaf students.

The conference is scheduled to begin January 15, 1990 and continue throughout the Spring semester. Individuals with experience in computer conferencing applications in education, individuals who are interested in exploring such applications, and graduate students are encouraged to participate. The conference is sponsored by Comserve (the online information and discussion service for the communication discipline) and will take place over the CommEd (Communication Education) Hotline.

Those interested in participating in the conference must subscribe to the CommEd Hotline. To subscribe, send an interactive message to Comserve@Rpiecs with the following command:

Subscribe CommEd First_Name Last_Name
as in
Subscribe CommEd Mary Smith

or you may send this command (with no other punctuation or words) in an electronic mail message addressed to:

Comserve@Rpiecs (Bitnet)
Comserve@Vm.Ecs.Rpi.Edu (Internet)

For more information about Comserve, send an interactive message or electronic mail message to Comserve@Rpiecs containing the word "help" (without quotation marks).

Further information about the conference will be sent to subscribers when the conference begins. However, if you have other questions about how to subscribe to the conference, send an electronic mail message to Comserve's editors at Support@Rpiecs, or write:

Dept. of Lang., Lit., & Communication
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180

Announcement #5

Subject: Electronic Networking Association Conference
From: KIDSNET@pittvms

MAY 23-26, 1990

"Online Networking: Collaboration in the Global 90s" is the theme of the fourth face-to-face conference of the Electronic Networking Association which will meet May 23-26, l990 in San Francisco.

ENA is the hub of knowledge exchange about the rapidly advancing collaborative computer-based communication technologies--the technology itself, the impact of that technology on organizations and individuals, and its global potential for productivity and learning.

A phenomenal growth in the use of electronic messaging has occurred in the past five years as users have skyrocketed from 1m to 8.6m with messages exceeding 1.5 billion in l989. Beyond messaging, another level of group interactive communications offers great possibilities for productivity gains, team and project enhancement, strategic scanning, and consensus building, on these emerging group applications and their impact on organizations.

ENA Online, a computer conferencing and information service to be developed for the meeting, will provide a unique gateway to multiple conferencing, videotext and other online information systems. Available from a bank of computers on-site or from personal computers in the hotel, this network will permit attendees to explore and compare features and advantages of many group communications services.

Vendors interested in having their product or service included on the conference system should contact

Mark Graham
Pandora Systems
(415) 346-4188
online via MCI Mail: Pandora
Internet: mark@Pandora.sf.ca.us

This year's program will showcase leading applications of computer conferencing and groupware from corporations, small businesses, education, government, not-for-profit organizations and public Interactive examination of critical issues facing the industry in diverse areas, including cultural differences in online communications around the Pacific Rim, electronic technology transfer, government regulation, access and equity, electronic nets in social and political action, online learning, global online communications between East and West,technical issues of gateways and intersystem connectivity, and multimedia in telecommunications.

The entire conference is planned to enable a high degree of networking and valuable personal exchange. Aided by electronic and hypermedia systems attendees will be able to locate and meet persons with similar interests. The presentation tracks are designed to allow time for interaction with experts and other conferees. Events will be arranged to enable clusters of people to gather easily for informal sharing.


On May 22-23 pre-sessions will be offered on groupware, how to select computer conference systems for business and organizations, strategic planning for the introduction computer conferencing into organizations, skills for moderating conferences, computer-assisted meetings, and "excellence networks."


The Electronic Networking Association offers the broadest exposure to the total context of computer-supported group work and communications. In a field that is rapidly evolving, ENA brings together visionaries with planners, applications designers with user-group pioneers, organizational development specialists with in-house champions, sysops with strategic planners, groupware developers with client companies. The dynamic interaction which results provides insights as well as and strategic planners, MIS/DP/telecommunications managers, network systems developers and operators, communications managers, network administrators.


For the additional conference information, call the registrar's office on East Coast (215) 821-7777
or the West Coast conference office (415) 8TO-CONF (886-2663).

Online: through InterNet to ENA@pandora.sf.ca.us. (Ask your sysop for assistance if you need it.)
Compuserve 71500,3635 or MCI Mail: MTA.

Fax: 415-582-4826.

Announcement #6

Subject: Regents College is looking for distance education material

From: Kate Gulliver, NYS001@ALBNYVMS

Regents College, the external degree college of The University State of New York, is seeking information on college-level courses available at a distance using some technological delivery medium such as computer or video.

This information is needed for DISTANCELEARN, a database of distance learning opportunities designed for use by adult learners and by organizations that provide educational information to them (such as libraries, military education centers, and colleges).

A course qualifies under the distance availability criterion if it

Initially, the database contains credit-bearing courses from regionally accredited colleges. At a later time some non-credit courses may be added as well.

If your institution offers courses that meet these criteria, please contact Kate Gulliver, Director of Learning Technologies, or Donn Aiken, Systems Manager, to obtain a survey form for course information. They can be reached at Regents College, Cultural Education Center, Room 5D61, Albany, New York 12230; the telephone number is (518) 486-1907.

DISTANCELEARN is supported in part by a grant from the Annenberg/CPB Project.

Announcement #7

Subject: Looking for ways to reach the USSR via email

From: Bob Lewis, R.A.Lewis@EXETER.AC.UK

I asked on RUSTEX which deals with Russian language wp matters and more general matters concerned with links to the USSR for any information about US schools' email links with Soviet schools. It was suggested that DISTED members would be likely to know what was happening.

My reason for wanting to know what is going on in the US of A is that going between schools here (Exeter, Devon, UK) and schools in our twin Soviet city of Yaroslavl'.

Does anyone have any information on schools with links? on which Soviet cities may be involved? on how email is transmitted - e.g vis modems and inter- national telephone calls, or using an 'email line'?

Bob Lewis

Editor's Note: Since I started the World 2000 project which supports an email link with a high school in Moscow, I have collected a number of different ways to reach the Soviet Union via email. If you know of any, please let me know. I will add this to the file which I will publish in the Online Journal.

Announcement #8

Subject: ICDE world conference on distance education

From: Chris Clark 814-863-3778, GCC1@PSUVM.BITNET

announces a preconference workshop

In Caracas, Venezuela --- Fri.-Sun. Nov. 2-4, 1990
in conjunction with the

One of the major goals of ICDE is to promote and conduct research and scholarship on distance education. A workshop on international research in distance education sponsored by the American Center for the Study of Distance Education in conjunction with ICDE will be held November 2, 3, and 4, immediately prior to the World Conference in Caracas. The objectives are to exchange information on current research initiatives around the world, and to lay the foundation for future collaborative research. There will be three days of thought-provoking sessions, information-sharing time, and idea-generating discussion with world leaders in distance education research.

It is hoped that projects conceived at the workshop will help formulate ICDE's agenda for research for the period 1990-1992 and will qualify for preliminary funding as official ICDE projects. Participants should plan to bring a short, written statement of their research ideas.


DAY ONE: International Research in Distance Education

DAY TWO: Techniques and Communications

DAY THREE: Work Session

* Research consultants, space, and equipment available.

The workshop will take place minutes from Caracas Airport at a hotel near the beach. An informal party is planned for Friday night. It is expected that the total cost of the workshop, including hotel and meals will not exceed $200 US.

To assure maximum benefit to all participants, participation in the workshop will be limited to fifty people, on a first come, first served basis. Potential participants are invited to send $25.00 (U.S. currency) to reserve a place. This may be refunded until June 1. The balance must be sent by August 1. All new registration forms received after JUNE 1, 1990 must be accompanied by full payment in US funds. Some financial assistance may be available for individuals in difficult circumstances. If you would like to be considered, please explain the nature of your need in a letter to be attached to your registration.

Make all checks payable to Penn State University. Send the form below and your payment to:

ACSDE Workshop

Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16803 (USA)

Registration Form -- PLEASE TYPE!

Dr/Mr/Ms/Mrs ____ Name______________________________________

Position ____________________________________________________

Employer ____________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________


Country ____________________________________________________

Daytime Phone __________________________

Fax or Telex __________________________

Other __________________________

Briefly describe any distance education research you have COMPLETED:



Briefly describe any projects you are CURRENTLY carrying out:



Briefly describe any plans you have for FUTURE research:



Rank order (1 = greatest) areas of interest for FUTURE research:

____ Learners & Learning ____ Delivery systems

____ Course Design ____ Management/Administration

____ Other - ______________________

Announcement #9

Subject: Courses in social work offered online
From: Tzipporah BenAvraham, cmcl2!dasys1!tzippy%harvard@harvunxw.BITNET


Button and Dietz, Inc., P.O. Box 19243, Austin, TX 78760-9243 Toll Free at 1-800-876-4244 (In Austin call 444-9822)

Note: All courses are approved for Continuing Education Units (CEU) for Texas social work re-certification, and most are also approved for training hours for Texas adult and juvenile probation officers. Other states with CEU requirements have accepted credits earned by taking these courses. Please check with us for additional information. (1.0 CEU is the same as 10 hours of training, thus a course granting 0.6 CEU provides 6 hours of training).

Course offerings:

Announcement #10

Subject: Editor looking for materials about using computer mediated communication as a tool for conflict resolution, negotiation, or intercultural communication.

From: The editor, JFJBO@ALASKA

See the following editorial. If you have information about any of the topics with which the editorial deals, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Item #4

Subject: DISTANCE EDitorial: Using Computer Mediated Communication as an Intercultural Communication Tool
From: The editor

I am looking for references, projects, or people who might shed some light on the research described below.

Note: CMC means Computer Mediated Communication and includes electronic mail, bulletin boards, and computer conferencing, as well as permutations and hybrids of these.

After working with CMC for the past five years I have come to believe that it has great potential for bringing together people or groups of people who ordinarily don't, can't or won't communicate with each other because of perceived intercultural, intracultural, or interpersonal divisions or differences. This potential can be realized in a number of ways, from using CMC as a tool to link groups who often don't communicate because of inhibitions or constraints imposed by social structures, to using it to connect people of different religions, cultures, spiritual aspirations, or political convictions for the purpose of discussing the often emotional issues surrounding their differing belief systems. CMC's separation in time and space, as well as the appearance of each participant as text on a screen, create a non-confrontational forum in which people are often induced to speak more freely, openly, and rationally than they might in a face-to-face setting.

In fact, CMC is potentially ideal for a number of intra- or intercultural encounters in which participants either need distance in order to be able to exchange views in a rational manner, or have distance forced upon them due to a variety of geographic, social, or personal reasons. And CMC's near instantaneous delivery allows relationships (one-to-one as well as group- based) to be created and sustained with relative ease.

CMC can be used to facilitate the kind of communication described above in five ways:

  1. Bridge gaps in non-integrated community structures.
    Example: I am currently helping facilitate a project called The Online Talent Bank that connects elementary students with their state legislators in an effort to involve them in the political process, a "culture" they are essentially excluded from because of their age and position in life. Funding willing, I will assess changes in the students' attitudes toward government, government accessibility, and personal empowerment due to involvement in the political process.

  2. Change attitudes about cultural stereotypes and increase tolerance toward or respect for other cultures.
    Example: Margaret Riel (formerly of UCSD and now running the ATT Learning Circle Project) led a project a few years ago in which middle school and high school students from about a half dozen countries were linked together to discuss what is unique and universal about their cultures. She reported, among other things, a new understanding of and respect for the diversity of world cultures on the part of those involved.

  3. Broaden or alter one's sense of citizen identity, making participants feel less nationalistically inclined and more like global citizens. Example: I am helping facilitate project World 2000, which links 9th grade students in Moscow, USSR, and Juneau, Alaska for the purpose of discussing global environmental health issues. I expect to find that the students will identify more with the earth than their country as "home," and be more concerned about threats to both countries (and hopefully the world) than to just their own.

  4. Aid conflict resolution between individuals.
    Example: A telecommunications student of mine used CMC to finally resolve long standing hostility with a former relationship partner. In one another's presence, both would escalate emotionally, precluding the possibility of a rational discussion. Using CMC they managed to work towards resolution.
    An adjacent concept, using CMC to overcome intrapersonal conflict, is also worth exploring. In this case, an individual uses CMC to work through a highly personal problem by involving others "safely." An example is Alcoholics Anonymous' use of an electronic bulletin board to help people overcome an inability to face the reality of addiction and to eventually convince them to attend AA meetings.

  5. Aid conflict resolution among groups by creating a non-threatening bargaining table for them to come to.
    Example: I know of no specific example here, but recognize CMC's potential in this area. For example, Jews and Moslems, often so mutually antagonistic that face-to-face meetings are a near impossibility, might attend an electronic meeting in which a number of "face saving" issues were not present. Using CMC as a healing or peace building tool in this respect is particularly exciting.

Research Issue

In each of the five applications described above, CMC encourages participants to assume an expanded viewpoint, to respect or absorb some of the other participants' culture and become more global in their outlook in order to 'create community' and facilitate action toward a common goal. My research seeks to assess the degree to which CMC encourages or enables this kind of personal change by analyzing programs or projects whose participants use CMC as an inter- or intracultural communication tool.

Pertinent research questions in this area are:

It should be noted that research may in some cases reveal the opposite, that is, that CMC makes participants more heterogeneous or determined to remain culture bound. It should also be noted the above questions can be modified in order to apply to inter- or intrapersonal communication as well, and that valuable research can be carried out with that focus as well.

Impinging upon the two cultures that would be studied, there are four other cultures that are present whose effects must be considered :

  1. The culture of the computer. Inherent in the computer is a particular language, mind set, and approach to the world.

  2. The culture of testing or analysis. Built into any analytic approach are assumptions about the world, people's abilities to take tests and respond to questionaires. For example, as I plan to use metric multi-dimensional scaling as one measurement technique and as MMDS depends upon a participant's ability to use ratios, I need to ask what the inclination of the participant's culture is to using ratios. Would children use them as well as adults? Are ratios understood equally well by people from less developed countries? etc.

  3. The culture of I, or, my particular bias. My personal bias and world view affect everything I do. Therefore, part of my methodology will include an explication of my personal biases and methodological assumptions, as well as I can understand and explain them, and an exploration of how that affects my analysis.

  4. The culture of class. While cultures may be different, they may also be part of an overall structure which gives one an advantage over the other, affecting the willingness of some to communicate, as well as the nature of the communication.

The above frames my research. If anyone has any comments about it, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Item #5


[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