Levinson (Paul)  17-Feb-89  9:42AM-PST


Copyright (c) 1989 by Paul Levinson
                      (Connected Education and The New School
                                                   for Social Research)

          Until very recently, quality higher education was thought
     to require in-person physical meetings (classes or seminars) and
     reading of information presented in books.  Although much
     excellent education continues to take place under these
     conditions, the prevalence of "place-based, book-paced" learning
     has also hampered the growth of knowledge in many ways.  The
     vast majority of people cannot physically attend a seminar at a
     given place; some of those who are in attendance (including the
     teacher) may not be in the mood for learning at the time of the
     meeting; even paperback books are cumbersome to carry and
     expensive, and the reading of a book in a library precludes
     others from reading the book while it is being read.  These and
     related limitations of the traditional educational setting show
     that it is not necessarily the best educational setting.

          Since the Fall of 1985, Connected Education(r) has offered
     more than 100 courses entirely via computer teleconferencing for
     graduate and undergraduate credit in conjunction with the MA in
     Media Studies Program at The New School for Social Research, and
     for several prgrams at Polytechnic University in New York City.
     The heart of these courses is "interactive asynchronicity" --
     made possible via computer conferencing on the Electronic
     Information Exchange System (EIES) at the New Jersey Institute
     of Technology. In a typical course offered via computer
     conferencing, the faculty begins by wordprocessing and
     telecommunicating (through modem and telephone wires)
     introductory comments and a course outline to the central
     computer system (what we call our "Electronic Campus").
     Students registered for this course then access and read these
     comments, also via their personal computers and modems.  They
     can do this any time night or day, from any place in the world
     with a telephone connection.  (Packet-switching technology
     allows participants to access the central system with just a
     phone call to a local node in most parts of the world.)  They
     need not access the system at the same time, and indeed are
     encouraged to participate at times most convenient to them.
     They are expected to comment upon the "online" texts, raise
     questions, complete assignments, and in general further

          John is the first student to access the course; he reads
     the material and enters a comment at 7:50 PM EST; he lives in
     Boston.  Mary signs on at 9:00 PM EST from San Francisco and
     reads both the faculty's and John's comments.  James signs on
     from London at 2:00 AM EST, reads the faculty's and John's
     comments, and enters his comment at 3:00 AM EST.  A few minutes
     later Mary, who is burning the midnight oil in California, signs
     back on and enters two comments of her own.  Early the next
     morning the faculty member (from Columbus, Ohio) and Toshi (from
     Tokyo) sign on, read the new waiting comments (the central
     system keeps track of all the comments individuals have read),
     and logoff to compose their thoughts.  Soon the faculty member
     is back on with a comment that summarizes and weaves themes in
     the discussion thus far.  The asynchronous
     cross-temporal-spatial learning ballet is underway.

          Some 400 people from 26 states across the U.S. and as far
     afield as Japan, Singapore, Senegal (Africa), the Middle East,
     the Netherlands, France, Norway, England, Panama, Colombia, and
     Canada have taken Connect Ed(r) courses taught by faculty all
     across the world in this manner.  Most of our students are busy
     professionals whose responsibilities would otherwise not allow
     them to be graduate level students.  Some of our students live
     in remote areas -- far from scholarly centers that provide the
     type of education we offer online. One of our students has been
     deaf since birth; another, blind, uses voice synthesizers to
     take part in our courses.  Connect Ed and online education
     remove or diminish handicaps of distance, economic necessity,
     and physical impairment alike.  (See Levinson, 1988a, for a
     detailed description of technology and demographics of the
     Connect Ed programs; Levinson, 1986, for discussion of Connect
     Ed and the international community; Levinson, 1988b, for
     discussion of computer conferencing in the broad context of
     technology and the growth of knowledge; and Levinson, 1989 for
     comparison of computer conferencing with other educational
     technologies.  Brawer, 1989, offers a survey and comparison of
     Connect Ed and other online programs.  Only Connect Ed permits
     students to earn a complete Masters degree exclusively via
     online work.)

          Connect Ed students can pursue an MA in Technology and
     Society -- granted by the New School for Social Research --
     entirely online. (The New School was founded in 1919, and is
     fully accredited by the Middle States Association and chartered
     by the New York State Board of Regents.)  The MA requires
     completion of 39 credits or 13 three-credit courses, plus an
     original thesis.  Each of our courses is two months in length;
     we begin new terms five times a year (February, April, June,
     October, and December).  Masters degree students must take
     courses in three areas: Theory/Philosophy (e.g., "Ethics in the
     Technological World," "Artificial Intelligence and Real Life,"
     "Philosophy and Technology," "Technology and Religion"),
     Survey/History (e.g., "Telecommunication Applications,"
     "Computers and the Democratic Process," "International Issues in
     Telecommunications"), and Skills ("Desktop Publishing,"
     "Electronic Publishing," "OnLine Journalism,"  "Technological
     Forecasting").  Everyone is required to take "Computer
     Conferencing in Business and Education."  Our courses can also
     be taken for undergraduate credit, or not-for-credit. (New
     School tuition in the Spring 1989 term was $948 per three-credit
     course graduate credit, $888 per three-credit course
     undergraduate or no credit.) [[***SPECIAL NOTE TO GRIGOR: THE
     COLLEAGUES, WHO WOULD BE OUR GUESTS -- Paul.]] Connect Ed also
     offers special non-credit workshops -- such as an OnLine
     Writers' Workshop and a workshop in English as a Second
     Language.  These are offered independently of the New School,
     and generally cost several hundred dollars per month.  Tuition
     for New School credit courses and Connect Ed workshops covers
     all telecommunication charges, with the exception of the local
     call to the computer network node.  Students are expected to use
     their own personal computers and modems.

          Students who do not wish to pursue a New School degree may
     apply our credits to other institutions (subject to the
     receiving institution's acceptance). Connect Ed - New School
     credits have been accepted by such schools as New York
     University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Fairleigh
     Dickinson University, Bank Street College, St. Francis College,
     Polytechnic University of New York, and others.

          In May 1988, Gail Thomas, a businesswoman in Long Beach,
     California, came to New York City to receive her MA diploma and
     march in the New School for Social Research graduation
     procession.  The trip was voluntary and the march was symbolic:
     Ms. Thomas had completed all work for the MA degree entirely
     online. (See Thomas, 1988, for her own description of the
     Connect Ed program.)

          Students speak very highly of their online experiences.
     Brian Smith, who used Connect Ed courses to complete his MA in
     Media Studies at the New School, says "I'd have taken all my
     classes that way [online] if I could have" (Martin, 1987; Smith,
     1987). External reporters and evaluators are impressed. Jennifer
     Brawer, Education Editor at A+ Magazine, took a look at my
     online "Ethics in the Technological World."  "What I found," she
     says, "was an honest-to-goodness college-level course that
     resembled courses I took in graduate school at Stanford
     University" (Brawer, 1989).

          When students are not participating in their courses, they
     have lots of other avenues for stimulation on our Electronic
     Campus. Our Connect Ed Cafe has offered continuous discussion
     since 1985 -- on any and all issues ranging from the quality of
     fast food in New Jersey to the Armenian earthquake and glasnost
     in the Soviet Union.  Our electronic bookordering service makes
     purchase of required textbooks, books written by faculty and
     other members of the Connect Ed community, and a variety of out
     of print scholarly books as easy as pressing a key on the
     computer.  Our Connected Education Library contains hundreds of
     papers that focus on the impact of computer conferencing,
     electronic text and publishing, and related topics -- the only
     collection of this sort in existence. Unlike the traditional
     closed at midnight Library, Connect Ed's online library is open
     all the time;  and any number of people can read the same paper
     at the same time.  Connect Ed also offers gateways to other
     collections of online papers, and to the NYU-New School-Cooper
     Union electronic card catalog (the "Bobcat" system, with nearly
     3/4 of a million titles).  Most importantly, students find real
     human contact online -- students develop friendships via exhange
     of electronic messages, obtain business and professional
     contacts, comfort each other at times of illness and
     bereavement, even fall in love.  In short, the online
     environment, in which people can communicate freely without some
     of the anxieties of inperson communication, is a fertile place
     for the development of a wide variety of very human

          As we look to the future, we see expansion of our course
     and program offerings into such areas as an MBA and a Ph.D. in
     Technology Studies.  The scholarly and educational worlds have
     too long locked out, by intention or not, many minds who would
     like to take part in what Comenius called the Great Debate. The
     pressing problems of the world, not to mention the inherent
     unfairness of limiting educational possibilities, mean we can no
     longer afford such restrictions.  Connect Ed will continue doing
     its small part to open the realms of education.
_References and Related Readings_

Allen, T. (1988). The Ultimate Party Line. _The Smithsonian_, September,
 pp. 92-93.

Brawer, J. (1989). Digital Diplomas. _A+ Magazine_, February, pp. 37-43.

DeLoughry, T. (1988).  Remote Instruction Using Computers Found as
 Effective as Classroom Sessions. _Chronicle of Higher Education_,
 April 20, p. A15.

Hiltz, S. R. and Turoff, M. (1978) _The Network Nation_. Reading, MA:

Levinson, P. (1986).  Connected Education and the International
 Community. _International Informatics Access_, Nov-Dec., pp. 1-2.

Levinson, P. (1988a). Connected Education: The First Two Years.
 _Learning Today_, Winter, pp. 205-220.

Levinson, P. (1988b). _Mind at Large: Knowing in the Technological
 Age_. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Levinson, P. (1989). Media Relations.  In T. Kaye and R. Mason (Eds.)
 _MindWeave: The Use of Computer-Mediated-Communication in
 Distance Education_. London: Pergamon (in press).

Martin, T. (1987). Put a Campus in Your Computer. _Computer Update_,
 Nov-Dec., pp. 25-27.

Smith, B. (1987). The Electronic University. _New Jersey Monthly_,
 January, pp. 38-41.

Thomas, G. (1988). Electronic Campus a Reality with Computer Conferencing.
 _Bull. of the American Society for Information Science_, April, p. 23.

Connected Education (r) and Connect Ed (r) are registered
trademarks of Connected Education, Inc.

The Connect Ed Cafe and The Connected Education Library
are copyright features of our Electronic Campus.  All rights reserved.

For further information about Connected Education -- including
listings of our courses, access to our online library by researchers, etc. --
please write to Connected Education, Inc., 92 Van Cortlandt Park South, #6f,
Bronx, NY 10463.  Or contact us electronically on Compuserve (72517,3107),
The Source (aah298), MCI-Mail (Connected Education), or general
e-mail: Levin@dde1pl.das.net

Connected Education, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that
offers graduate and undergraduate level courses in conjunction
with The New School for Social Research and Polytechnic University.
We also provide consulting about computer conferencing to
professional, business, government, and religious groups, and engage in
electronic publishing.

Paul Levinson, Ph.D., is Founder and President of Connected Education, Inc.,
and Director of the New School On-Line Program.  He is also a tenured
Associate Professor of Communications and Fairleigh Dickinson University,
a Senior Faculty at the New School's Graduate Program in Media Studies,
and Research Associate at the Center for Philosophy and Technology Studies
at Polytechnic University. He is on the "electronic faculty" of the
Western Behavioral Sciences Institute and the International School of
Information Management.  His publications include _Mind at Large:
Knowing in the Technological Age_ (JAI Press, 1988), _In Pursuit of
Truth: Essays on the Philosophy of Karl Popper_ (editor) (Humanities Press,
1982), and more than 50 articles on philosophy of technology and
related areas.