3. Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education (CAADE): Project Summary by Dr. Takeshi Utsumi
[Affordable Integrated Education Technology for Underserved Populations in the U.S. and Around the World]


The Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education (CAADE) proposes to develop and demonstrate a high-performance electronic communications infrastructure which can integrate mass delivery of instructional materials via satellite with innovative low-cost options for management of multimedia materials within computer-equipped schools connected to Internet. The goal is to use experiences gained from tests on the new all-digital NASA Advanced Communication Technology Satellite (ACTS) and from recent developments of Computer-Mediated Multimedia Systems (CMMS) via Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS), terrestrial Internet and wireless telecommunications in order to come up with alternative approaches to distance education. The increased capabilities of personal computers (PCs), Internet, wireless telecommunications, and digital satellites will converge in improving and reforming educational instruction efficiently and affordably for the underserved populations of the U.S. and, later, the world. Use of these technologies will also help ease the burden on the overburdened Internet.


Addressing telecommunications needs of underserved schools in the U.S. in the initial phase project, CAADE will develop and demonstrate a new high-performance electronic communications infrastructure by combining the power of computers via POTS, low-to-medium speed terrestrial Internet, (where appropriate) wireless telecommunications and digital satellite technologies into a new model for distance education. This infrastructure is an integrated approach to electronic distance education using CMMS over more than one (wire and wireless) delivery and distribution platform and an integration of mass delivery of instructional materials via satellite with innovative low-cost options for terrestrial feedback and interaction using Internet and wireless telecommunications. The result will be the ability to provide increased access to richer learning environments while enhancing interactivity and sharing of information among teachers and students.

The goal of initial phase project is to provide science teachers and their students in the U.S. with a single, integrated distance education system. The system will utilize the well-accepted interface developed for the World Wide Web to integrate:

This project will demonstrate 1) that, in a digital world, the melding of wireless and wireline technologies into an integrated system is possible at reasonable cost to almost any site in the U.S., 2) that, in a distributed environment, mass instruction with pre-packaged materials can coexist with and complement highly individualized instruction, and 3) that, in computer-mediated teaching, learning can be both experiential and collaborative over distance.

The CAADE project opens up opportunities for increased feedback and collaborative learning within a distance education program that can be broadly deployed, is relatively inexpensive, is easy to use and promotes collaborative work.


A. Need

One approach to motivating young people in science is to engage them in problem solving, focusing on concrete, real-life problems. With computers, simulation and experiential learning with hands-on applications are possible. Using distributed computer-mediated technologies, collaborative experiences over interactive networks have also been demonstrated to greatly enhance the learning process.

Providing such opportunities to students in rural areas is a challenge. Commercial telecommunications companies will not invest in providing the high capacity lines to connect to low traffic sites. Furthermore, line charges are often prohibitively expensive. Using the NASA satellite as a testbed, the CAADE project will seek to transfer ACTS experience to the new commercial satellites which now blanket North America, reaching rural schools with digital data which can be accessed and redistributed using terrestrial wireless and wireline services. This model can be extended to public libraries, small business, local governments, volunteer organizations, medical service providers and others in underserved regions.

B. Problem

In any teaching-learning process, interaction between teacher and students is highly desirable. The predominantly used distance education model delivers lessons as one-way video broadcasts, with a return telephone path for questions and feedback. While live telephone call-ins from students at remote sites is better than no teacher/student interaction, the number of students who can give feedback during any given class is restricted. There is often no convenient way for students to send questions to the instructor, to share ideas among themselves after the scheduled broadcast time has ended or to access other relevant information. Also, any follow-on learning activities allowing students to work collaboratively are difficult to manage. What is needed is an affordable, highly interactive, well-integrated and easy-to-use approach to closing the loop between mass delivered and highly personalized communication and learning.


In a typical distance education environment, the need is for high bandwidth large volume information transmission from teacher to student(s) with lower bandwidth response communication from student to teacher and among students.

For the delivery of multimedia courseware, CAADE members will use:

  1. direct digital broadcasting satellite (DDBS) receivers connected to on-school-site PCs,
  2. modified routers for local buffering/switching,
  3. advanced digital video compression software operating at 9.6 Kbps or higher through POTS,
  4. and packet-switched terrestrial networks.

Wireless telecommunications, which enable students to access nearby Internet nodes, will also be demonstrated. (FORUM and other computer-mediated multimedia conferencing technologies will be considered for this purpose.) The intent is to bridge the last mile to classrooms that do not have access to a telephone line or a direct connection to terrestrial Internet.

For purposes of this project, the CAADE consortium has been divided into three work groups and an administrative group:

  1. The COMPUTER COMMUNICATION GROUP will develop and demonstrate high-performance multimedia technologies and software for Mac and PC which are operational over POTS lines at 9.6/14.4/28.8 Kbps. These and FORUM, via terrestrial Internet, will be inexpensive and user friendly multimedia and conferencing systems intended to enrich teacher/student interactions by using graphic and whiteboard capabilities and incorporating audio and video clips with hypermedia linking.

    This group's goal is to develop robust and up-to-date systems that can be assembled for less than $10,000 per school. Units will be provided a teaching demonstration site. By using standard personal computers equipped for low and medium speed communications, a large number of users can be networked together.

  2. The WEB/SATELLITE GROUP, a multidisciplinary research team, will complete a series of interactive tests on the NASA-ACTS satellite. The tests will focus on delivering multimedia content to demonstration sites at rural schools located in the Appalachian region and other regions listed below. Then, using commercially available DDBS (NASA-ACTS, DirecTV, USSB, PrimeStar and, later, INMARSAT-B, for overseas operations), the newly developed protocols will be applied for interfacing satellite signals with those of Internet.

  3. The COLLABORATOR GROUP will handle instructional programs to be delivered within an asynchronous, computer-mediated, distributed, rural school environment. This group includes staff members at the A*DEC (formerly Agricultural Satellite Corporation (AG*SAT), the Science Discovery Center at the College of Staten Island, the Southeast Ohio Mathematics and Science Network (SEONet), the Appalachian Distance Learning Project (ADLP) at Ohio University, the University of North Texas and more.

    This group will facilitate experiential learning, including discovery, mastery and just-in-time linkages to human and data resources, will employ models for collaborative learning and for meeting needs of audiences with special learning needs, both physical and psychological, and will train professional staff to effectively use computer-mediated science materials.

  4. The ADMINISTRATIVE GROUP will coordinate and evaluate all tasks. This group will arrange for demonstration sites and assure that the requisite technologies and software are in place and that activities are carried out in a timely, coordinated and synchronous way.


  1. Ohio/Appalachian Region
    Working with the Computer Communication Group, the Web/Satellite Group will collaborate with the Southeastern Ohio Regional Freenet (SEORF). SEORF is interlinked to Appalachian regional schools where it has worked to recruit and train teachers and administrators to use telecomputing in their classrooms, to help them take advantage of offerings on the global Internet, and to sponsor a variety of online learning activities linking schools and community.

  2. Texas/Southern Region
    The University of North Texas will collaborate with Ohio University, College of Staten Island (CUNY), Texas A&M, Texas Center for Educational Technology, University of Massachusetts and other appropriate entities to develop and/or modify three preservice/inservice teacher training courses for delivery through this system. The first will be an Educational Telecommunications course providing a broad overview of telecommunications systems and helping teachers develop hands-on skills in email and in the accessing the Internet. This course will also deal with radio, broadcast TV, satellite telecommunications, and distance education systems and methods.

    The second course to be developed (with the University of Massachusetts) will be an Internet Resources course managed via the Internet. World Wide Web links and ShareView-type broadcasts will be components of this course. This class will anticipate synergistic interactions taking place between course participants in Texas and in Massachusetts.

    The third course to be developed for delivery via the CAADE system is a methods course for K-12 computer using or computer science educators. A target level of elementary school (exploratory tools), middle school (computer applications), or secondary school (computer programming) will be selected during the early months of the project. It is anticipated that this course will incorporate the FORUM collaborative learning software and, hence, will be developed in conjunction with Texas A&M.

  3. Staten Island in New York City
    This project consists of two phases:

    Th following projects are also significant in successfully identifying, developing, and implementing multimedia and digital curricular materials that increase information access for students with disabilities:

  4. Around the U.S.
    The proposed technologies will be applied in the second phase for higher education, adult and life-long education, and professional training in the United States.


The CAADE was formed in January 1995 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK) in partnership with the GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association (GLOSAS/USA) of New York, an experienced player in global electronic distance education. Participating institutions include: Ohio University/NASA Experimenter group for ACTS; Southeastern Ohio Regional Freenet (SEORF); Southeast Ohio Mathematics and Science Network (SEOnet); Appalachian Distance Learning Project (ADLP) at Ohio University; computer communications, wireless and packet radio group of the University of North Texas; Science Discovery Center at the College of Staten Island; non-profit service organizations such as GLOSAS, A*DEC satellite consortium, Academy for Educational Development (AED), and a few commercial entities such as the software/consulting companies SYNECTICS and FORUM. Other members include prestigious American universities with a commitment to providing affordable distance education, such as Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Alaska, Guam and more.


Over the past two decades, GLOSAS/USA played a major role in making possible the extension of the U.S. data communication networks to other countries, particularly to Japan, and deregulating Japanese telecommunication policies for the use of email. GLOSAS has also conducted a number of "Global Lecture Hall (GLH)" (TM) videoconferences employing inexpensive media accessible to less developed countries. These demonstrations have helped build a network of leaders in the global electronic distance education movement.

The Global (electronic) University (GU) (TM) consortium, a divisional activity of GLOSAS, seeks to improve the quality and availability of international educational exchange through use of telecommunication and information technologies. GU's main focus is to achieve global electronic education across national boundaries by developing a cooperative infrastructure and by giving the underserved people of less developed countries access to the educational excellence available from all the world's finest sources, expanding the present exchange of educational courses into a worldwide system. This is "the 21st century version of the Fulbright exchange program."

Global (electronic) University is an evolutionary concept with no global precedent. GU works to provide cooperative, experiential learning opportunities on the widest possible scale to foster peace and sustainable development. The time is ripe for global electronic distance education.

Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D.
Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education
Founder of CAADE (Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education)
President, Global University in the U.S.A. (GU/USA)
A Divisional Activity of GLOSAS/USA (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.)
43-23 Colden Street, Flushing, NY 11355-3998, U.S.A.
Tel: 718-939-0928; Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer email)
INTERNET: utsumi@columbia.edu
Tax Exempt ID: 11-2999676

Return to GLOSAS News Contents for this issue.

URL: http://library.fortlewis.edu/~instruct/glosas/caade52.htm

August, 1995

GLOSAS NEWS was orinally posted to the WWW at URL: http://library.fortlewis.edu/~instruct/glosas/cont.htm by Tina Evans Greenwood, Library Instruction Coordinator, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado 81301, e-mail: greenwood_t@fortlewis.edu, and last updated May 7, 1999. By her permission the whole Website has been archived here at the University of Tennessee server directory of GLOSAS Chair Dr. Takeshi Utsumi from July 10, 2000 by Steve McCarty in Japan.