From: "Roger Boston" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>, "Your Name" <>
Subject: Tampere - MY Observations -- for Peter Knight and Final Report
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 21:20:24 -0500


I have been involved for 13 years doing instruction online -- moving with the technology from simple, low speed, dial-up BBS systems through the beginnings of web based instruction, through the fledgling multimedia inclusions, and by 1999 through to include live multi-point video broadcasting, narrow-band video-casting, and a marriage of the "streaming-media-on-demand and asynchronous web delivery platform with synchronous instructional opportunities -- the best of two worlds. Though I have experience in the higher bandwidths and larger budget systems, my concentration and the bulk of my working experience has been to exploit the smaller bandwidth and the so called "simple" solution for getting the instruction to a far distance. I have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to share this message and know-how, and have worked with organizations ranging from CAADE, to STARLINK, to PBS, the TIES Transatlantic Alliance, the Global Learn Day movement, and others to facilitate numerous global events, and in dozens of collaborative ventures with distance learning professional worldwide.

That is how I came to be in Tampere -- to present the first day workshop, showcasing what things are possible at the lower budgets and using narrow-band solutions for both the "world's emerging network" (internet) and via POTS.

My first observations are to commend the advance planning and preparations on the part of Tapio, Tak, their support at the University of Tampere, the City of Tampere and the planning/ travel support from Montana -- all came together most remarkably to shape one of the best run week long events I have ever attended. This event reflected simply first class planning.

My second observation is important to highlight:

Over the years I have been a part of multiple initiatives and activities by many groups, especially those named above, all of which seem to share the same goals and ambitions, namely to bring distance education to the "Un" and "Under" served corridors of this planet, effectively, and at affordable costs. I found it most remarkable, and almost amazing in fact to see so many of those key players present there during our opening day sessions, and so vitally involved throughout the week. In my mind this was a great gathering of minds clearly determined to reach the above goals -- but with new opportunity to accelerate this pursuit by the formation of something larger than their separate efforts: The Global University. This conference at Tampere was a catalyst and has the potential to magnify our separate efforts to get to the same place by helping us to work together.

My third observation centers around my own workshop. It seemed to be reasonably well received, and the surprise on the faces of so many present told me that few on this planet have taken the time to investigate the considerable opportunities that await them at the low bandwidths and at the low budgets. Most funding is offered to the higher bandwidths and most expectations are at the higher bandwidths and most working experience is at these higher bandwidths and most expectations are at these higher bandwidths. Yet wonderful results can be and are being obtained at low costs and the low speeds of dialup connections to the internet and the ordinary POTS connection.

Joining at various budgets and bandwidths such locations as Wellington New Zealand, London, UK, Budapest Hungary, West Palm Beach Florida, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Houston, Texas, we were able to show the strengths and weakness of the several technologies of ISDN, ADSL, POTS, and narrow band IP conferencing

This workshop was trimmed from an original two-day format and came nowhere close to covering the territory which has been my body of work for the past 12 years -- but it did get far enough to stretch the thinking of the participants. Many parts of the world do not and WILL NOT for some time to come, have the resources to go beyond the kinds of delivery tools I showcased during that workshop.

As this week moved through its agenda of presentations, the high level of participation by both title and substance was showcased, and the spread in participation was seen to be truly a "global" spread.

From this point, our conference changed directions, and turned to its true collaborative purpose -- we divided into three working groups attempting to give written voice to the voids and opportunities in each of these regions of the world. Our working sessions were documented and recapped in the Friday closings, and have continued round the clock for the more than forty five days that have passed since the closing refreshments and our departure.

Truly this conference has continued without interruption to this present moment, and the partnering and collaborations which were there before but not fully effective are now made powerful by the common focus which has resulted from our time together. And which are visible at the many web-site postings which have been circulated since.

I think that may perhape be the most lasting outcome from this moment in Finland -- that our chances of realizing our separate dreams have been magnified by this new formality in working together within the tight focus of well defined opportunities in each of the regions of the world that were given voice during the Tampere congress.

My congratulations to all who took part!

Looking ahead to future gatherings, I would like to suggest that advantage be taken of our ability to "extend" the event to a global audience in real time - the images, the sounds, and the substance of presentations, and to include a talk back capability. It was not much effort for me to post images and motion video in near real time for the Tampere event, and the incremental cost to provide live audio/video streaming would have been minimal. Perhaps in the Tokyo gathering, or some other moment we can explore our ability to come to that next threshold -- if the ambition is there, I have the interests to help these things happen.


Let me leave you with one URL you did not see during my workshop, a 4 min 45 second clip that is posted at, and which will be available soon from my web-site at -- Real Player G2 required for the viewing. This short video stream showcases the four-port video bridge which you saw in videotape form, but did not see in operation during my workshop. You may be impressed and pleased with the kinds of multi site joinings that can be obtained with such bridging.

Roger L. Boston
Rockwell Chair/ Instructor
Houston Community College System
Voice: 713.718.5224

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