April 24, 1999

International Workshop and Conference
"Emerging Global Electronic Distance Learning"

August 9 to 13, 1999
University of Tampere
Tampere, Finland

I. Conference:

The digital revolution and economic globalization are taking us into a new era. We are moving towards a global knowledge society where information, skills and competences become the driving forces of social and economic development. The problems associated with this transformation can no longer be solved with traditional educational paradigms. In this age, effective learning requires upgraded multimedia educational materials that can best be distributed using broadband Internet applications. The use of these applications for global distance learning and telemedicine must be efficient and cost-effective, allowing to foster global citizenship and achieving "education for all."

In cooperation with the University of Tampered and Tampere University of Technology in Finland, GLOSAS/USA will hold an international workshop and conference on "Emerging Global Electronic Distance Learning" on August 9 to 13, 1999 (Reference 1). This event is funded in part by the InfoDev of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (*), the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations, the Japan Foundation of the Japanese government, the National Science Foundation of the US government (*), Soros Foundation, Pan American Health Organization, Finnair, the British Council, Alprint, etc. (*: in process)

II. Purpose and Outcome:

The purpose of this conference is to collectively brainstorm methods for the establishment of advanced global broadband (45 Mbps) wireless and satellite Internet in the major regions of the globe, e.g., Pacific/Asia, North/South America, and Europe/Africa. Included in the establishment are the information infrastructure, contents and the institutionalization of the Global University System which is to be financed by the Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF) (Reference 2).

During this conference, the formulation of the pilot project proposals will take place for submission to various financing entities in Japan, North America, and in Europe. The "Conceptual Development" project proposal of approximately $500,000 is also to be submitted to the InfoDev of the World Bank from each region.

III. Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF):

The GSTF is the emulation of the Universal Service Fund of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and which will be a pool of the Overseas Development Assistant (ODA) fundsof G7 countries in the magnitude of several billion dollars for ten years. The creation of the GSTF is to be made by the International Coalition for Global Information Infrastructure in Education and Healthcare.

IV. Global Broadband Internet:

The Internet, with its extending and improving infrastructure, will be the main telecommunication media of tomorrow. It has been extended to most countries, albeit with slow-to-medium speed. Broadband Internet backbone development are expanding high-speed Internet access to higher education and healthcare institutions in the developed countries. This technology holds great promise for improving multimedia distance learning capabilities, especially in rural and isolated areas in many developing countries that are not well served by commercial network providers. The enhanced distance learning capabilities of broadband Internet are only beginning to be explored and offer an immediate benefit to the populations served by these networks.

The global broadband Internet (Reference 3) will be the emulation of the Medical Information Network by Communication Satellite for University Hospitals (MINCS-UH) (Reference 4). This now connects more than two dozen hospitals around Japan with two-way, broadband (45 Mbps) digital satellite channels for medical diagnosis with high definition television (HDTV).

Although the MINCS-UH is very useful for diagnostic quality image transfer, it does not have TCP/IP Internet capability. Talks are now underway with Teleglobe to combine MINCS-UH capabilities with the TCP/IP technology to create a backbone trunk-line on the broadband Internet across international boundaries (Reference 5).

V. Telemedicine Demonstration:

Telepresence with echocardiography will be demonstrated by the Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University in New York. The echocardiograph signal of a patient on a tread mill in Tampere will be sent to Presbyterian for diagnosis. The 3D image of his heart will also be constructed. Both will be disseminated to the participants around the world via ISDN and Internet. The use of web for telemedicine and a virtual reality model of a human heart (which can realistically respond to a touch on a computer screen) will also be demonstrated by Yale University School of Medicine at Norwalk Hospital and in New Haven, Connecticut.

VI. Reference Web Sites:

(1) Tampere conference:
<http://hoklpc25.uta.fi/EGEDL/> and <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/>.

(2) Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF):

(3) Global broadband Internet Networks:

<http://square.umin.ac.jp/kiuchi/ohp/> -- for slide show.

(5) Possible parties of pilot projects:

Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D.
Program Chairman of the Conference

Secretariat, Emerging GLOBAL (electronic) UNIVERSITY (GU) CONSORTIUM
Chairman: Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D.; Vice Chairman: Louis Padulo, Ph.D.;
Board Members: David Johnson, Ph.D., Tapio Varis, Ph.D.;
Secretary: Robert Bonn, Ph.D.; Treasurer: Hisae Utsumi

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