Thursday, April 5, 2012

C.A.L.L (computer assisted lifelong learning program)EXPERT SPECIALIST LEVEL CREDENTIAL DESIGN- HYBRID LEARNING PLATFORMS or Columbia University’s CALL(COMPUTER ASSISTED LIFELONG LEARNING) and CVN Columbia Video Network both are examples that
Academyone education portals that are multimedia communication; from MOM 1888-442-8372
Columbia University 212-854-6447

Distance Learning: The Shift to Interactivity

Complete book of distance learning schools: everything you need to ... › EducationAdult & Continuing Education

geteducated: Articles - Telecommute to College


by Vicky Phillips

Adult Education & Distance Learner's Resource Center
Jan Gee, a single mother of two pre-schoolers, tried twice to finish her associate degree at a local college. Frustrated with long commutes, canceled classes, childcare costs, and the red tape required to register for classes, Jan opted last year to telecommute to college. She enrolled in an associate in computer science program offered through the Electronic University Network (EUN).
Two nights a week Jan "goes" to class in an electronic conference hall, where she hears a lecture and discusses issues with her classmates. After class, she downloads her new lessons and research materials from the online library. Next fall, Jan will graduate from Rogers State College, her associate degree in hand, her sanity intact.
Jan is not alone. Adults, ages 35-45, are the fastest growing group of college learners.
To advance or consolidate their careers, an estimated five million adults complete some form of distance learning each year. An estimated 30,000 adults, equipped with computers and modems, hitched rides on the Information Superhighway to accredited college campuses in 1993.
Electronic Universities
The Electronic University Network (EUN) <>, headquartered in California, was created in the early 1980's by Dr. Steve Eskow and Sarah Blackmun to help working adults conquer time and space. All courses are offered via the Internet.
Degrees include associates in arts, business, and computer science from Rogers State College. Brevard Community College, in Florida, offers a host of associate degrees in technical and liberal arts areas. A unique counseling service helps working adults locate the best distance colleges or training programs for their career needs.
Herriot-Watt University, a Royal Charter University in Scotland, offers a master's in business administration through the EUN. Specially developed software packages let students work on their lessons on laptops, then send assignments from the nearest phone jack or mail box. Herriot-Watt's unique selling point? Like many European programs, a bachelor's degree in business is not required to begin the program.
City University <> of Seattle started as a one-room experiment in adult education in the 1970s. Today it is one of the largest distance learning programs in the world. Learners connect to City University through mail, fax, and modem. Bachelor degrees run the gamut from the humanities and film studies to telecommunications management. City also offers several MBA's and graduate certificate programs in management.
JEC College Connection (formerly known as Mind Extension University) <> is the brainchild of Glenn Jones, who had a vision of using cable TV to provide an accessible university system. He purchased his first cable system in the late 1960's by borrowing against his Volkswagen. JEC College Connection has grown by leaps since then.
America's first completely free-standing virtual university, the International University, a project of JEC, received candidacy status for regional accreditation in the spring of 1997. JEC students without cable access can rent videotapes of lectures. Some programs offer electronic mail and Internet conferencing options also.
Ten colleges offer degrees via JEC's network. Try Regis College for an undergraduate business degree. Social science undergraduate degrees come from Kansas State University or Washington State University. Animal Sciences and Management is offered through Kansas State University. A Master in Educational Technology and Leadership can be earned via George Washington University. A bachelor's in nursing is offered from California State University, Dominguez Hills. International University offers a unique master's in business communication.
Best Buys for Career Changers
Career changers should consider earning distance learning certificates. Certificates consist of about ten courses, all related to one's career field. If you've never been to college, earning a certificate can give your resume an entry-level edge. If you have a college degree, but your major was in music, and you now seek work in accounting, a certificate can quickly convey your respecialization.
The University of California Extension < > offers certificates in business by home-study, using mail, fax, video, and electronic mail options for computer science and programming courses. Awards can be earned in individualized business areas, or accounting (Certified Public Accountancy), real estate, database management, economics, systems analysis, and human resources management.
Got the Experience, Need the Degree?
The number of employees with a college degree has skyrocketed from 6% in the 1950's to 27% today. Competition is keen. If you have career expertise, consider documenting it for college credit. Over half of all colleges recognize that what an adult learner knows is more important than where she or he learned it. These colleges let adults document career experience for credit or take special challenge exams to "test out" of key subjects.
Donald Borowitz dropped out of college in the early 1980's and went to work as a computer operator. He rose in the ranks to become a senior management analyst. But his career climb stopped abruptly in the early 1990's. Times had changed. Legions of new college students with graduate degrees were lining up for Donald's job.
When Donald was laid off he wasn't surprised that many employers wouldn't talk to him without a college degree. He was surprised that he could earn the last year two-years of his bachelor degree through documentation of his work experience. Donald received credit for what he already knew through a career portfolio assessment program offered through Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey < >.
Thomas Edison State College places no limit on the number of credits students can earn through life credits or challenge exams. They offer 47 academic majors and limited online courses through a program called CALL (Computer Assisted Lifelong Learning).
Shop Around for Best Buys
Over 100 regionally accredited colleges offer low-residency or no-residency undergraduate distance degrees. Associate (two-year) or bachelor (four-year) degrees are available in most subjects.
While telecommuting programs are in the minority, many colleges use video and fax to enhance instruction. Graduate degrees and career credentials are available from over one hundred and thirty universities. Degrees can often be individualized to earn unusual majors like multi-cultural studies or museum management.
If you have career expertise, shop around for the best deal. Most undergraduate distance programs accept documented experience for college credit, but many, like City University, limit it to 30 credits or one year of academic study.
The cost of documenting life/work credits varies tremendously. Thomas Edison State is very reasonable at $25 per credit for non-New Jersey residents.
Tuition costs vary as widely as programs. Check with your employer about tuition assistance. Though many companies offer tuition reimbursement plans, only about 5% of employees take advantage of this benefit. Remember - if your employer or career requires a degree, your undergraduate educational expenses may be tax deductible.

Program Directory

City University
Electronic University Network
JEC College Connection
Thomas Edison State College
University of California Extension
 Assisting Adult Higher Education via Personal Computer: Technology and Distance Education

Copyright 1993 CAUSE From _CAUSE/EFFECT_ Volume 16, Number 1, Spring
1993. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material is
granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for
commercial advantage, the CAUSE copyright and its date appear,and notice
is given that copying is by permission of CAUSE, the association for
managing and using information resources in higher education. To
disseminate otherwise, or to republish, requires written permission.For
further information, contact CAUSE, 4840 Pearl East Circle, Suite 302E,
Boulder, CO 80301, 303-449-4430, e-mail

                            by Evelyn Spradley

ABSTRACT: Nontraditional students have been the chief beneficiaries of
distance education at schools like Thomas Edison State College, where
delivering undergraduate adult education is the central mission.
Increasing numbers of such students on the horizon are prompting other
types of colleges and universities to evaluate the uses of technology to
make education more accessible, efficient, and effective in the future.
Thomas Edison's Computer-Assisted Lifelong Learning (CALL) System
provides a good example of how one institution is using technology to
meet tomorrow's challenges today.

Suppose for a moment that you are a 40-year-old parent who has a part-
time job, cares for three children, lives two hours from the nearest
college campus, and you would like to complete an associate degree. Or
perhaps you are experiencing barriers to achieving career goals that
would be greatly diminished if you could finish your bachelor of arts
degree, but finding the time to attend the local college appears
overwhelming. Such situations might make the prospect of higher
education seem impossible. However, Thomas Edison State College in
Trenton, New Jersey, was created for just such adults.

Filling a national need for continuing education, Thomas Edison State
College recognizes the competing priorities in an adult's life and has
created a system of high-quality, flexible, and accessible undergraduate
education supplemented by a computer delivery initiative termed the
Computer-Assisted Lifelong Learning (CALL) systems.

The CALL systems are technology-mediated facilities created to provide
access to the College via computer and telecommunications applications.
Dial-up access to the College through these systems serves students and
prospective students, providing an online application to the College,
electronic communication with staff, view-access to academic records,
browse/read utilities for a broad base of information, and assignment
exchange with the faculty mentors of Guided Independent Study courses.
Developed to aid the College's primarily adult constituency, the CALL
systems play an increasingly important role in enhancing educational
opportunity by using the advantages of emerging technologies.


Imagine also, if you will, the challenge of educating several thousand
adult students similar to Ms. Partchar (Parent with part-time job, with
Children, and fAR from college) geographically disbursed throughout the
nation. Unlike the traditional-age student, adults are not as free to
conform to the instructional and service delivery mode of a campus-based
institution. In consideration of the complexity and diversity of the
adult learner's lifestyle, educational opportunities at Thomas Edison
State College were developed to be appropriate to their varied needs and
free the student, as much as is possible, from the logistical barriers
of time and location. Such opportunities include correspondence type
courses, the evaluation of prior learning through portfolio assessment,
credit for college-level military or non-collegiate sponsored
instruction, and credit by examination.

Older technologies such as the postal and telephone systems had always
been instrumental in aiding students who used the distance education
opportunities at the College. Still, students complete most of their
college work on their own and are in effect isolated from other
students. In imagining the role that technology might come to play, the
College envisioned that a computer- assisted lifelong learning project
could use computer and telecommunications technologies to help students
communicate with College staff and each other independent of time and
location. The ingredients were there: personal computers, while not
ubiquitous, were gaining popularity and becoming more powerful; modems,
telephone lines, and public data networks might link student PCs
together; and electronic mail and computer conferencing could be
components of a central host to foster and enable broader communication.
The College's vision was to create a system of access via computer to
electronic services that enhance the educational process through the
promising opportunities attainable from emerging technologies and


To realize this vision, the College submitted a proposal to the
Department of Higher Education that was approved and funded for $1.8
million. The CALL proposal identified three major components to be
developed: (1) the infrastructure which would provide the technical
backbone and support various online services[1]; (2) Guided Independent
Study courses on CALL that would provide online educational aids; and
(3) diagnostic examinations for online pre-tests for the College's for-
credit testing program. The CALL Network would allow users equipped with
a PC to dial in to the CALL Network and take advantage of the diagnostic
testing, a "simulated classroom" of Guided Study courses, and other
services stemming from the infrastructure development such as
information databases, online application and submission of fee,
correspondence with various College staff, and read-only access to
student program plans and billing records.

The concept of CALL was intended to: reduce time and location barriers
by using telecommunications and computer technologies to offer a fourth
dimension of access virtually 24 hours a day from a student's home or
workplace; enhance learning opportunity by providing aids, such as
electronic class discussions, that were previously unavailable to
distance learners; and empower learners through access to CALL's
consolidation of administrative and academic services.


As part of the College's CALL Network project, all student records were
consolidated and transferred to an upgraded computer system. Three
minicomputers were purchased and installed in a distributed system
configuration to house these documents, and an automated transcript
evaluation system was written to accommodate the specific needs of the
College. These additions reduced the amount of time that transcript
evaluators and academic advisors spent in locating physical student
record documents, aiding in the realization of the efficiencies in
administrative and student records computing called for in the CALL
proposal. These additions also prepared the administrative computing
system for the generation of specific reports (program plans and billing
records) that would be available to the student using the CALL Network.
All college staff were provided with a terminal, training, and a log-on
identification to provide access to computing resources relevant to
their job function and to the new student records system.

Preliminary feasibility studies for the CALL Network by an independent
consultant had identified the major components of the infrastructure. A
timesharing organization would provide mainframe power and support the
front-end requirements for telecommunications to serve as a host for
remote dial-in. The computing environment used was an IBM 4381 mainframe
running VM/CMS. The software package CONTACT[2] would reside on the
mainframe and provide both electronic mail and conferencing facilities
for communications and course-related purposes. A consultant was
retained to draft the code necessary for a user to dial in to the
mainframe and access various services, and assisted in the establishment
of software and hardware components necessary to build the network. To
reduce the cost of accessing the host computing facility where most of
the CALL services would reside, an X.25 packet data network carrier
would be utilized, thus reducing the connection from a potential long-
distance New Jersey call to one placed through the student's most local

A link between the College's administrative computing system and the
host was established to provide users with specific administrative
functions. MIS staff selected a protocol that supported a level of
communication between different types of computers--TCP/IP (transmission
control protocol/internet protocol). As the CALL systems rely on tasks
requiring the interaction of separate computing facilities, TCP/IP is a
common protocol that allows computers of different manufacturers to

A decision was made very early in the development process to insulate
the student as much as possible from the complexities of the technical
platform, that is, the CALL Network software was developed in such a way
as to relieve the user from the responsibility of operating or learning
how to use CONTACT, the mainframe's operating system, file transfer
utilities, modem protocol settings, etc. A user interface was developed
and presentation organization imposed so that from the user's point of
view, the CALL systems were as easy to use as an automated teller
machine. Almost completely menu-driven, with the exception of the text
editors, the CALL systems require no more than the selection of an
option with the press of a single key, or the entering of a filename.


Guided Independent Study courses on CALL

The Guided Study program at Thomas Edison State College provides
students with semester-based independent learning courses. Students
receive a course syllabus and various learning materials, usually a
combination of basic texts, video material, and learning guides. Course
mentors assess academic progress through written assignments, which are
primarily sent through the postal system, and examinations are proctored
at various sites. The CALL Network provides Guided Study students and
mentors with an alternate and speedier communication system through the
use of electronic mail. Through this system, course assignments and
messages of inquiry are exchanged. To draft messages and assignments,
students may use their own ASCII format editor, or use the Mail Writer
option provided in the Network software.

To reduce the isolation often felt by the independent distance learner,
the CALL Network also provides electronic class discussions.
Supplementing the course learning materials, a class discussion topic is
posed by the mentor. Students participate in the discussion by reading
the topic and the discussion entries, and then submitting an entry of
their own. Mentors monitor, guide, and participate in the discussion as
necessary. Class discussion participation can be voluntary, or required
and graded as an assignment.

Diagnostic testing on CALL

Similar to CLEP (College Level Examination Program) examinations, Thomas
Edison State College has its own testing program termed TECEP (Thomas
Edison College Examination Program). To facilitate preparation for
taking a TECEP test, the test development and research office is
developing a hierarchically organized testing structure that serves as a
diagnostic tool in preparation for taking the actual TECEP test. The
diagnostic tests, termed Computerized Predictor Tests, are short tests
that sample a user's knowledge of a TECEP subject area. The diagnostic
tests are optional pre-tests that can be used to familiarize the user
with the TECEP question format, and are predictive tools that report the
user's score for comparison with a provided range of scores and their
associated probability of success on the formal TECEP examination. The
process of familiarization helps students to overcome some of the test
anxiety often found in students returning to college who have become far
removed from the testing process. Their predictive nature is important
to those who would benefit from some objective feedback regarding their
readiness for testing in the subject area.

Additional services

In addition to the Guided-Study-on-CALL courses and diagnostic testing,
the CALL Network offers a textual database that provides general
information about the College and its various methods of earning credit.
Students are also able to view their academic program plan, the
preliminary spadework for which was provided by the computerization of
students records. Text-editor facilities were incorporated into the
array of CALL Network services to aid students in the preparation of
messages and assignments. Another service provided is an online
application to the College with a provision for the payment of the
application fee with a major credit card.

The technological infrastructure provides a vehicle for delivering all
CALL services to students. Taking advantage of the electronic mail
components that were drafted to allow communication between Guided-
Study-on-CALL students and their course mentor, the College broadened
the service base by providing electronic communication between CALL
users and a few of the involved College offices such as the advisement,
registrar's, and bursar's offices.

In addition, a new program to lend PCs to adult students who have
extraordinary needs has been added to the College. The Computer-Assisted
Lifelong Learning-Personal Computer Program (CALL-PC) has emerged with
an initial modest supply of fifty PCs to further reduce barriers of
access to higher education at the College. All PCs have been donated by
the Digital Equipment Corporation and may be applied for by those
students of the College for whom the use of a PC would significantly
enhance their opportunity to complete a degree program.

Another exciting addition recently acquired for the CALL Network is
access to the Internet. Students will soon be able to use Internet
resources for access to online library catalogs, databases, scientific
instrument usage, supercomputing facilities, and e-mail access to other
Internet users. Eventually, the CALL Network itself will be accessible
through the Internet as one of its resources and thus will be accessible
to students outside of the country who have Internet facilities.


Use of the CALL Network during the development period was restricted and
essentially released in phases, ending in full public release in the
fall of 1990. These general phases were site-bound release, controlled
release, and public release. Each phase comprised smaller sub-phases
that would progressively test the reliability and usability of system
components as they were developed. Testing at sub-phase levels provided
a feedback loop that allowed the development team to solicit users'
reactions and suggestions, and to incorporate modifications into the
development process. This phasing represented, to a large extent, a
shift in the testing from the system's basic nuts and bolts to overall
efficacy as a remotely supported product capable of delivering distance
educational aids and services.

Whereas in the early phases all equipment was site-bound and user
support was provided through organized instruction provided by the
developers, later phases required that users have access to their own
PCs and support was provided by means of a user manual and telephone
support through the CALL Network Technical Support Center (CNTSC).
Telephone support is crucial and is often the only means open to a user
during the time it takes to set CALL up on their PC. Some initial
supporting facilities included an installation program, automated dial-
in procedure, a word processor, and a set-up option through which to
control baud rate and communications port settings.


Now let's imagine Ms. Partchar just as she has heard about Thomas Edison
State College and the CALL-PC Program. Her challenging circumstances are
further complicated by the fact that she is a single parent, does not
own a car, and cannot afford anything but a very reasonably priced
education, let alone a PC. She makes application to the College,
financial aid, and the CALL-PC Program and finds that the
degree program she seeks to complete is a viable and affordable option
for her and she has been accepted into the CALL-PC Program.

As she lives 600 miles from the College, her CALL-PC is shipped to her
along with a user's guide that gives step-by-step instructions for
setting up her PC and installing CALL. She begins her education by
telephoning her academic advisor and begins to formulate her program
plan. Subsequent communication with her advisor takes place via CALL
where messages are sent back and forth as she progresses. Occasionally,
she requests a copy of her program plan via CALL to note her progress
and plan for further study. She enrolls in a Guided Study course and
uses CALL's Mail Writer option, where a word processor enables her to
craft her assignment with more efficiency than a typewriter.
Additionally, she is interested in the Portfolio Assessment Program and
begins to correspond with staff at the College via CALL to assess the
suitability of this program.

This imagined scenario is useful in illustrating the overall concept of
CALL and its developing place in aiding the College to meet the needs of
a large and diverse adult student body. Some concrete examples of actual
usage follow:

  *  The CALL Systems have accommodated 650 prospective students who
dial in for information about the College. Of these, ninety-seven have
used the online College application, and there have been 5,500 instances
of access to the services available for prospective students.

  *  Of the 200 enrolled students, there have been roughly 225 instances
of communication with academic advisors, and 560 program plans

  *  The CALL-PC Program is just beginning and is making initial
arrangements with two students: one who is deaf and plans to use CALL
largely to reduce the cumbersome process of translation, and another who
is homebound and plans to use CALL to enhance productivity toward
educational goals.

Students' reactions to Call's system of service to prospective students
include the following comments:

  *  Very convenient way of obtaining information.
  *  Beats telephone calls for covering wide areas and questions.
Saves your time and mine.
  *  It filled in a lot of questions about the College. It helped me
make my decision to enroll.
  *  This is a great idea to get information when it is convenient
for me at odd hours.
  *  It is easier to get a response without waiting for phone calls
and the mail.
  *  Thank you for making availability to the college so easy and

Implementation of such a large and far-reaching program as CALL has not
been completely unproblematic. On the technical side, for example, the
initial X.25 public data network originally selected because of its low
cost turned out to be very expensive in terms of operation, upkeep, and
problem management, so a more suitable replacement was found. Such
anomalies have since been satisfactorily adjusted, yet these contribute
to a less full-steam-ahead schedule of implementation for various
components than would be ideally desired.

On the more academic side, Guided-Study-on-CALL course registration has
been low since public release and has been insufficient to run courses
in many instances. Additionally, while a few course mentors have been
attracted to the CALL aspect of Guided Study, there appears to be a
measure of reticence on the part of some mentors to use CALL features.
The current state of the economy also contributes to general cut-backs
and lean staffing measures that slow forward momentum.

As CALL components are developed and released, users are solicited for
their feedback. When we analyzed the general comments reported by users
of the general information component, the most frequently reported
concerns fell into two groups: those who said there was not enough
information present, and those who said there was too much. We are now
reorganizing information so that it is presented in both brief and
extended format. It is hard not to be reminded of the phrase, "You can't
please all of the people all of the time."

Overall, CALL has enjoyed a gratifying popularity among users and has
shown gradual but steady growth since its public release in late 1990.


Just prior to the completion of the original grant-funded portion of
CALL development, the College was awarded a $400,000 grant from Digital
Equipment Corporation. This award has provided for the acquisition of
VAX equipment, and the migration of the CALL systems to a VAX platform
is now nearing completion. Through this migration, computing facilities
will become owned, housed, and maintained by the College as opposed to
the present timesharing operation. CALL thus will become more directly
controlled by the College development staff.

The largest advantage to be realized will be a significant increase in
the "strength" of the technical infrastructure. While maintaining
systems in-house will naturally incur some new costs, timesharing
expenses will disappear, and without iterating each particular nuance of
a cost/benefits analysis, the College will be enabled to accelerate the
rate and quality of new development. Other College programs, such as
Portfolio Assessment, are now making plans to add CALL's computer-
assisted component to their service base.


The concept of CALL has the capacity to enhance continuing education in
significant ways. Distance learners have always had to contend with
their isolation from other students, yet can be enabled through e-mail
and computer conferencing to speak to each other, form study groups, and
correspond with course mentors and college staff. Further, general
efficiencies of technology that affect the institution translate into
improved student services through the gains of office automation that
channel gained resources back into student services and support.

General efficiencies of electronic communication and desktop computing
can empower the student as well. The consolidation of services can
reduce a few telephone calls that all too often involve hold time,
message-taking, return calls, and telephone tag to a few e-mail
messages/requests sent in one log-on session at any time of the day that
the student chooses. File transfer of documents (for assignments,
messages, or general interest) has notable speed advantages over the
postal system and eliminates translation often needed between paper and
electronic form. Mentors who grade assignments sent through CALL have
reported that using the CALL text editor on the assignment copy allows
much more freedom to insert relevant and useful comments than the small,
blank margin of a standard paper copy.

The College continues to add, refine, and think critically about the
various aspects and components that comprise CALL. In the ultimate
imagined scenario, a geographically disbursed student body will be
linked through computers to the College and will be able to use CALL for
such thorough College access that the complexities of obtaining an
entire degree program--from initial application, through advising,
course registration, and credit completion--will be possible online. Our
goal is to use technology to help in effecting a more broad, flexible,
affordable, and accessible system of higher education to serve adult
students--Computer-Assisted Lifelong Learning.



1 It would appear to be useful to make a distinction between the terms
online and online-assisted. For the purpose of this paper, references to
items "online" generally mean online-assisted. For example, courses for
Guided Independent Study on CALL are online-assisted as this credit
earning program is multi-modal involving texts, study guides, and
audio/video components. Online assistance through CALL offers e-mail,
conferencing, text display, download/upload capabilities, and word
processing, and can include specialized supporting applications. A
completely online course would deliver all course materials via

2 CONTACT is produced by the Adessa Corporation, Danbury, Connecticut.


Evelyn Spradley is Associate Director for MIS Educational Technology at
Thomas Edison State College and serves as project manager for the
College's Computer-Assisted Lifelong Learning (CALL) Network, a
technology-mediated system that provides access to College services via
computer. For further information about CALL, please contact the author
at Thomas Edison State College, 101 West State Street, Trenton, NJ
08608-1176 or send e-mail to


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