History of Distance Education at Nova

Received from Dr. Fischler:

I am happy to speak to a small group of those who might be interested in the History of Distance Education including the integration of technology once it was visible and could pass state review.


email:  sent 7 July

In August, Dr. Fischler might have time to give a talk about the History of Distance Education.
Scheduled for August 3

Where did the idea for this potential thesis topic come from?

Dr. Charles Schlosser asked me, "What about a biography of Dr. Fischler?"
Good idea.


Questions for Dr. Fischler

  1. The Big Picture

  1. What influences shaped the use of satellite-assisted instruction?

  1. What drove Nova to become a leader in the use of satellite-assisted instruction?

  1. Where did the idea first start for satellite-assisted instruction?   

  1. What was the program first called?

  1. Procedures

  1. Who were key participants in developing and expanding the program?

  1. What training did instructors need to go through to prepare for presenting their lessons?

  1. How difficult was it to find hotels to operate as receivers of the satellite transmissions?

  1. What was the initial feedback from the first students?   

  1. How long did the program operate?

  1. Challenges

  1. What were some of the problems encountered in the program and how did the university respond to address these issues?

  1. Some students have difficulties today switching from traditional classrooms to web-based distance learning.  What difficulties did some students have in adapting to satellite-assisted instruction?

  1. What happened when the course ran overtime (did the transmission suddenly end?)

  1. What did it cost to set up a typical transmission?

  1. What obstacles did the university have to overcome to arrange the use of transmission?

  1. What devices did the university have to invest in to facilitate transmissions?

  1. What limitations were there imposed by the technology?  (Was it easy to hear questions from the audience in another city?   Could students in one city hear the questions asked by students in other cities, or was the audio feed directed only back to the instructor?)

  1. How closely did the transmissions resemble the typical discussions that take place on the web (WIMBA, Elluminiate)?

Working Titles
Abraham S. Fischler and Distance Education at Nova University 1965 to 1992

The talk about "History of Distance Education at Nova" by Dr. Fischler will be videotaped and edited for distribution.

If you cannot attend the talk, please register your interest in receiving a link to the recording when it becomes available.

If you wish to submit questions or sub-topics of interest in the area of the History of Distance Education, please send a message to TheEbookman@gmail.com 

+1 954 646 8246
Steve McCrea, coordinator


Available resources 

Search for key words in Worldcat  "Abraham S Fischler"

Search for subject in Worldcat "Abraham S. Fischler"

Wikipedia stub (2010)

From a discussion with Dr. Fischler about Nova's history

There are at least eight tips that can be culled from the History of distance education at Nova.

These tips can be used by directors of schools that are starting (I'm sharing these points with Will Sutherland, for example, in England with his innovative relationship-based, soft skills sailing school).

1.  Find a niche

2.  Stay focused on that niche.  Don't forget the niche even after you get success and are invited to spread your resources.

3.  Make space for early and later adopters

Everett Roggers writes in Diffusion of Innovation that there is an "S" curve for adoption of 

There are "early adopters"
there are "later adopters" when the technology or process is proven

4.  Bring in the best people.  People make a difference.

5.  Be patient.

6.  Collaborate.  Make room for others, invite other experts to come help.

7.  Fight for your program  (the North Carolina resistance and law suits)

8.  Constant innovation, constant improvement.

9.Invest in people.  

10.  Vision comes from the top and the top needs to constantly remind the organization of the vision.

While some of these steps appear simple and over-used, it is surprising how new organizations fail to produce good results because they overlook some (obvious) simple tips.

Deming talks about asking all employees to be part of the transformation of a company or organization.
To what extent did you spend time reinforcing the principles and vision that you nurtured?

Deming says that management is responsible for showing constant purpose and communicating the vision.