I was recently reviewing the seven newsletters of the Computers And Teaching [CAT] project. I previously commented on an article that predicted the cottage industry of home working that we see around the world today. I kind of missed The Internet, because we were thinking of supercomputers and terminals in those days, but by 1975 our thinking had been changed by the appearance of hobbyist home computer kids. That’s another story.
Here are the seven Computers And Teaching newsletters from the project.
A brief overview of the Computer Aids to Teaching Project is first presented. The workshops, seminars, demonstrations and open house events conducted in the course of the project are described, and the information services provided are discussed. An outline of the project’s 1st workshop designed to introduce users to the PLATO IV computer-assisted instructional system is included, along with instructions on how to operate a computer terminal. Lastly, a brief article reviews the development, current status and future potential of ARPANET, a geographically distributed network of different computers interconnected by a communication system based upon high speed message switching.
Details relating to the daily operation of the Computer Aids to Teaching project are provided, along with some feedback from readers of the previous issue of the newsletter. Following this are a brief article which discusses the possibility of making man-machine interactions more personal and a review of two seminars which dealt with the establishment of a National Science Network, a net of computers and computer users connected by high speed communications lines. A description of HYPERTEXT, a student-controlled instructional system consisting of pieces of discrete texts, is presented, followed by a look at the future possibilities of computer terminals in the home. Lastly, some instructions on how to operate a computer terminal are given.
(This newsletter contains the COTTAGE INDUSTRY article.)
Included in this issue of the newsletter are details about the usage of the currently available computer terminals,information about equipment soon to be added to the Computer Aids to Teaching, Project, and an announcement describing a workshop and open house held in March of 1973. Some recent publications are cited and a student guide to HYPERTEXT is provided, along with an author’s guide to HYPERAUTHOR. Lastly, instructions on how to operate a computer terminal are presented.
Information relating to the installation of the PLATO-IV computer terminal is presented. This terminal is connected to the University of Illinois’ system, making it possible for personnel associated with the Computer Aids to Teaching Project to keep in touch with the development of the large-scale PLATO system. Problems associated with the authoring of programs, with their modification and adaptation to new hardware systems and different universities, and with the cost of developing computer-assisted instructional (CAI) courses are discussed. Also offered are details on a workshop and seminar run in conjunction with the Project and information about a CAI summer workshop for teachers held at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
This combined issue first gives descriptions of the PLATO terminal and of an interface which has been completed to allow them to be linked to the CDC 6400 system at Northwestern University. Details are next provided relating to four events; 1) an open house at the Computer Aids to Teaching Project; 2) the Computer Caravan, a traveling computer exhibit; 3) the summer 1973 workshop at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for computer resource personnel; and 4) the Festival of Educational Alternatives at De Paul University. Two new articles are presented, one on the evaluation of computer-assisted instruction and the other on community uses of interactive computers. Also included are reprints of several articles which appeared in earlier issues of the newsletter.
Recent developments in Northwestern University’s Computer Aids to Teaching Project are reviewed in the first section of this issue. Included are pieces of information about the use of the PLATO IV system, and about increasing access to System Development Corporation’s Educational Resources Information Center(ERIC) files, along with news about personnel, facilities and equipment changes relating to the Project. The second half of the newsletter offers an article which outlines some of the concepts and issues facing designers of computer-based learning/information exchanges. It reviews briefly some of Ivan Illich’s basic ideas for de-schooling society and for building dynamic learning webs in which teachers and students come together as their needs and interests dictate. In addition, it touches upon the role of the computer in such a system, the types of information found in the system, and some possible means of financing such endeavors.