List of Questions to Dr. Fischler

This is a project to interview Dr. Fischler, author of blog.         Return to HOME        Distance Learning EDD 7007 
Talk about the History of Distance Education  (to be determined)  
There is always time for another question:
This is an ON-GOING opportunity to participate in an interview with Dr. Fischler about needs in education
If you are interested in participating in the interview with Dr. Fischler, call me   954 646 8246

On Jun 17, 2011, at 10:17 AM, Abraham Fischler wrote:
I am interested in looking at the area of education,  need and process. I would be happy to meet with a small group of students.
1.  Dr. Fischler has agreed to talk about "need and process" in education.
2.  He's willing to be interviewed if there is a group of grad students as part of the interview
3.  I would like to include you in the group.  This is an ongoing process, so please submit questions to me by email or call me +1 954 646 8246.


You can show your interest by submitting to me at least two questions based on the blog 

The plan is to video the session so you all can hear his answers.  If you can make it to the interview session, great.  Your time commitment is your choice.  The interviewing process is adapted to Dr. Fischler's schedule.   

One of the tenets of distance education is delivering the learning experience at a time and place convenient to the student and teacher.  Learning can take place asynchronously as well as in the same moment.

I'll set up a conference call with  and arrange for a phone number for you to call in and listen to the session live.   

HOW TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS during the interview
I can receive text messages at 954 646 8246 or short email messages to (fewer than 140 characters) if you want to ask a follow-up question to one of Dr. Fischler's responses.

ASYNCHRONOUS (Listen to the question later)
I will record the interview and post it on youtube so you can access it (I will arrange for a private channel on youtube).

1.  Please read some parts of his blog
2.  Send me two questions along with a phone number and an email address that I can use to keep you updated
3.  I will contact you when the meeting time is finalized.

Thank you for reading this far.  I hope I can count on your participation.   

Steve McCrea
SteveEnglishTeacher SKYPE
+1 954 646 8246

for your convenience, I have posted an excerpt from the blog below

What is my vision and strategy for educational change?

I believe that we in education must make the investment to do the same for our clients, i.e., each student. What investment is needed?

There are three modes of instruction: 1) self-paced or CAI, 2) project or problem-solving and 3) discussion. Self-paced or CAI requires that each student have access to a computer and modem and access to the curriculum on a server on a 24/7 basis. Projects and problems should be relevant to students so they can relate to the given subject area.

For English and Math, we should implement CAI in the 1st grade (and continue thereafter). The reason English and Math are chosen is that these are the two cultural imperative languages. If you know these two languages and are motivated as a self-learner, you can teach yourself almost anything you want to learn. And, one of the goals of education is to create self-learners.

For all other subjects, the teacher can pose a project or problem that is relevant to the student. Once the problem is defined, the class can be broken down into groups of 4-5 students in order to research the solution to the problem. If complex, each of the groups may study an aspect of the problem. With these subjects, the student uses the computer as a research tool (after having learned to read). Students are taught to use search engines such as Google or Yahoo as well as the intranet made available by teachers gathering information relevant for the students.

Students working in a group learn cooperation, shared responsibility and communication (face-to-face as well as e-mail). Having produced a written solution to the problem utilizing the computer (power point) as a tool, they can then present to the class for discussion. They can also use email or a written report to other students as well as the teacher.

Arbitrary learning within fixed time periods would be eliminated, i.e., no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades. Instead, students would be grouped chronologically with materials appropriate to their learning level and style using the CAI approach for English and Math, and the project/problem/discussion modes for other subjects. The projects given to the students match the level of English and Math competencies and are related to the students (their interests and their lives). For example, in 3rd grade, how would you study the amount of water that a plant needs to grow? I would utilize the students’ Math knowledge (learned through CAI) for science learning. Likewise, rather than studying history through memorization and chronology, it can be studied through problems based on the immediate environment for younger children and more abstract concepts in later grades.


Dr. Fischler is President Emeritus and University Professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He served as President of Nova University from July 1970 to July 1992. Prior to coming to Nova in 1966, Dr. Fischler was Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career in education as a science teacher and earned his Ed.D. degree at Columbia University. Subsequently, he became Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. After his retirement as President, he served on the Broward County School Board from 1994 to 1998. Dr. Fischler has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, to various State Departments of Education, and to school districts in a number of states. He has authored many articles and publications dealing with science education and advanced teaching methods. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of numerous other educational and scientific organizations.

A short summary of Dr. Fischler's answer to each question will go below each question along with a link to a full transcript of his response.

Date:   August 3
Time:  10 a.m.
Location:  East Campus 3100 SW 9th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315-3025
Lost?   call 954 646 8246   
Dr. Fischler's office is on the ground floor

A SKYPE conference will be available.
To join, connect in Skype to SteveEnglishTeacher
If you would like your phone to be part of the conference, please sign up.  Your phone will be called as part of the Skype conference call if you reserve a place before the event.  Call +1 954 646 8246 to register your phone.

1.  How do you see teacher education needing to evolve to accommodate your vision?

2.  Some states allow portfolios to be used as part of the assessment process.   how do you see portfolios evolving?  What commitment do school need to give to accommodate the needs of students who can't maintain an e-portfolio at their home?   What responsibility does the educational 

3.  What are the headaches that you perceive in getting your vision ready to happen?

4.  Has anyone approached you about the vision?  Is there a zone of K-12 that wants to try your system?  

5.  What were the early obstacles to using satellites in distance education at Nova?   Is there anyone around that I can interview to learn more about the history and achievements of the program?

6.  Everything in our education systems is focus on passing “the Test.”  New methods of teaching are still aiming at producing students capable of passing “the Test.”  In fact modern technology and economic developments in Western society has driven a paradigm change which demands a different output from our education systems.  How do we get away from “the Test” and what should replace it?

7. For decades we have been delivering a one size fits all curriculum, most of the content of which the modern student does not need to know.  With information at the end of their finger tips they need to learn how to learn and to be motivated to do so.  Schools are depriving many students of reaching their full potential before they become discouraged, uninterested and in some cases totally depressed about life.  What are the most important and effective steps we can take in order to stop the tweaking of the current system and to produce schools relevant to our students, families and society today?

8. Amongst educational reformers, much is being made of project-based courses, virtual offerings, community-based internships, innovative college courses, and capstone projects.  What universal system, measure, or structure should, or could, be used to provide the future employer with an understanding of the skills, competences, and work ethics of the job applicant?


9.  Dr. Fischler has been an educator for a very long time. In that time, so much has changed in education, but student achievement has not improved. Indeed, quite the opposite. In response, some have suggested a "return to basics." They suggest that we roll back the changes. Others, though, suggest that the problems are not in the education system, but in the society at large, and that, unless we fix our societal problems, we can't properly address our education challenges.
This might be something to which Dr. Fischler would be willing to respond.   -- C Schlosser

10 We hear so much today about the Millennial student and how everything has to change to accommodate this totally different way of learning. Are the students of today that much different (in a fundamental way) from the students you taught at the beginning of your career?  -- KP Hagen

11 Given the intense pressure for results, many teachers resort to "teach to the test" techniques.  What impact does this style of test preparation have on students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses?

Additional comments ... 

Comments about Transparency
Transparency plus authenticity is the key. At least the way I see it...  How much of what we call education is really just a waste of time?  -- Dennis Yuzenas

These questions might be included in some of Dr. Fischler's future writing:
Received 7 July:

I want to do a small monograph on the need for change and the process of change. 




How to participate via a PHONE CONFERENCE

Scheduled Conference Date:Thursday, July 14, 2011
Scheduled Start Time:10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Scheduled End Time:11:25 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Scheduled # of Participants:10
Type of Conference:Web-Scheduled Standard
Dial-in Number:1-219-509-8222 (East Coast)
Participant Access Code:9189848
Organizer Access Code:*448506 (you must include the leading star key)

Conference Controls:

Conversation Mode (all Participants can be heard)
Entry Chimes - Enabled
Exit Chimes - Enabled

REQUEST:  If you attend the interview session with the phone-in conference call, please do not ask questions directly over the telephone.   Send your questions to -- The volume will be set "off" during the presentation by Dr. Fischler.   At undetermined times during the interview, the volume to the phone conference will be turned up so that the people in the room can request feedback from the listeners on the conference call.
Problems?  Call 954 646-8246 during the event.   Your issue will be relayed to the interview organizer. 


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.