U.S.-Russia Electronic Distance Education System (EDES)

We are living through a historic era with an opportunity to use innova tive technologies to address basic problems as Newly Independent States (NIS) emerge as democratic, modern, market-oriented societies and nations. Communication technologies have proven to be an effective and low-cost means of providing education and exchanging ideas among different people.

Global (electronic) University (GU) (TM) consortium, a divisional activity of GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA), seeks to improve quality and availability of international educational exchange through the use of telecommunication and information technologies. GLOSAS/USA is a New York publicly supported, non-profit, educational service organization.

The Global University's main activity is to achieve global electronic education across national boundaries, serving and complementing existing distance education institutions with outlets and resources on a global scale, by developing a cooperative infrastructure and by bringing the powers and resources of telecommunications to ordinary citizens around the world. Another goal of GU is to empower under-served people of the Third World by giving them access to the educational excellence available at the institutions of the more developed. Students could access some of the world's finest resources with a far greater variety of educational philosophies, courses and instructional styles than they could ever encounter on a single campus. This project can then become a version of the 21st century Fulbright exchange program.

Over the past two decades, GLOSAS/USA played a major role in extending the U.S. data communication networks to other countries, particularly to Japan. GLOSAS has conducted a number of "Global Lecture Hall" (GLH) (TM) videoconferences employing inexpensive media accessible to the less developed countries, interlinking over two dozen universities, ranging from Japan to Turkey, from Finland to New Zealand, and North and South America. These demonstrations have helped discover and overcome the technical, regulatory, economic and marketing impediments to the creation of a Global (electronic) University and build a network of leaders in the distance education movement. They have also generated considerable interest among various organizations around the world. International associates of GLOSAS are currently working on the establishment of Global Pacific University (GPU), Global Latin American University (GLAU) and Global European University (GEU).

GLOSAS is currently working to establish a U.S.-Russia Electronic Distance Education System (EDES) via various telecommunication media, with the Association of International Education (AIE) in Moscow which was recently established by the Ministry of Science, Higher Education and Technology Policy of the Russian Federation and GLOSAS/USA. Once in place, EDES will later become the Russian Electronic University, part of our Global University system founded by GLOSAS/USA.

Russian students will use EDES to access many distance educational courses offered by member schools of GU/USA, without coming to the U.S. or requiring their American instructors to travel to Russia. The students will be able to converse with American instructors and classmates at a distance, using such devices as audio, voice-mail, electronic mail, fax and slow-scan TV through a free of charge narrow band channel of INTELSAT's Project ACCESS.

The plan will include the lease of a broad band (video) channel on INTELSAT satellites in subsequent years, thus permitting Russian students to receive American satellite courses directly at their homes. American (and later other nations') students will have equal opportunity to receive courses from universities and outstanding academicians in Russia.

This project will hopefully foster relationships between GU/USA member schools and educational institutions throughout NIS. Additionally, educational credentials from course offering countries in North America could fill a pressing economic need for employment of competent persons with firms seeking to establish businesses in the NIS. At the same time, it could provide a much needed support system for scientists who are isolated from the current scientific literatures and important meetings in their fields. Our project intends to offer a fundamental solution to the urgent needs of those countries in their transition to the new market-oriented economy and new society.

Currently, over 100 prominent schools contacted GU/USA to indicate their interest in this project. Some have already confirmed their participation. Apart from schools such as Agricultural Satellite Corporation, Brown University, Dartmouth College, George Washington University, National Technological University, University of Colorado, University of Hawaii, University of Maryland or University of Tennessee, GU/USA has also received expressions of interest from potential corporate sponsors such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer, DEC, US Sprint, INTELSAT and the World Bank. Our Russian partner AIE has over 20 school members in Russia. GLOSAS/USA has also received inquiries and proposals to join this project from Australia, Canada, Croatia, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, etc., making this an international project to help Russia and, later, other ex-communist countries.

Utilizing funds available from Japanese government, the World Bank plans to support Russia's establishment of a media center and electronic distance education activities, including the activities of AIE. The Bank may also utilize EDES for dissemination of bank policies and staff training, as well as for supplying the Russian public and educational institutions with educational materials required for their mastery of market economic principles.

GLOSAS/USA plans to approach Japanese government and industry for major funding of this project under the auspices of Japan's Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) program. The participation of the Japanese in such a project would be extremely valuable. Cooperative efforts in complex global undertakings that bring Europeans, Japanese, and U.S. resources together will be increasingly necessary and become the norm. Generous donations of services by major carriers enabled GLOSAS/USA to conduct almost a dozen "Global Lecture Hall" videoconferences free of charge. The support of SprintMail, a U.S. commercial electronic mail service, greatly facilitated the functioning of GLOSAS/USA members, scattered around the world, for coordination and proposal, report and paper writing.

Global education via satellite and other telecommunication media is the way towards the 21st century Age of Knowledge, laying a social infrastructure for global citizenship of the global village. Extending communications through a global network and sharing ideas and educational opportunities with other locations is of paramount interest. The exchange of knowledge among countries can make major contributions to world peace, helping to ease frictions, promoting joint research and development and mutual exchange and understanding. Developments in global electronic education can transform education at all levels around the world, and can enrich and transform human society.

Global (electronic) University is an evolutionary concept with no global precedent. Global education is a major key to sustainable survival. The time is ripe for global education. Technology is now available. What we need now are people who are eager to face the challenges of our time and to forge ahead toward the 21st century education.


Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D.
Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education
Founder, Consortium for the Affordable and Accessible Distance Education (CAADE)
President, Global University in the U.S.A. (GU/USA)
Chairman, GLOSAS/USA
43-23 Colden Street, #9-L
Flushing, NY 11355-3998, U.S.A.
Tel: 718-939-0928
Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only -- prefer email)
Tax Exempt ID: 11-2999676


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Pages originally prepared by:
Jerrold Maddox, jxm22@psu.edu
June 5, 1995