INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATIONS IS TODAY'S REALITY
The American Memory Program and Mind Extension University Reach Millions via Information Highway ENGLEWOOD, Co. Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The merger of Bell Atlantic and Telecommunications Inc., is being described as a partnership that will help bring about the age of interactivity, but one company -- Jones International, Ltd., parent company of the country's seventh largest cable operator and a growing number of cable programming networks -- is making the data superhighway a reality today. As a pioneer in the cable industry, CEO Glenn R. Jones, has long recognized that cable technology could be harnessed to increase access to education and information. That belief led him to look at new technologies that could enhance this mission, and has resulted in Mr. Jones' work with the Library of Congress to develop software that provides multimedia, interactive access via coaxial cable to the Library of Congress' digitized archives, which is known as the American Memory Program. His belief in the importance of delivering information via technology also led Mr. Jones to offer the first-ever broadband access to Internet, the powerful global computer and information network, to customers in Jones Intercable's Alexandria, Virginia system. But the cornerstone of Mr. Jones' commitment to increasing access to education is Mind Extension University, the only educational network that provides 24-hour access to accredited courses and degree programs via cable television.
American Memory Program
Designed to increase access to the Library's collections, the American Memory Program combines historic images (movies, still pictures, and political cartoons) with sound (political speeches and music) and print (straight text and facsimiles of actual documents). Currently being used at two high schools in Jefferson County, Colorado, as part of a pilot program, American Memory Program uses the cable infrastructure already in place. The technology involved provides two-way digital communications as well as real-time analog audio and video. Students retrieve information from the American Memory Program through a keyboard connected to a single transmission point at the Jones Intercable's control center in Jefferson County. Historic film images can be called up on the computer terminal and viewed on the attached television monitor. Currently eight collections have been transferred to the American Memory Program including political cartoons (1770-1981), documents from the Continental Congress (1774-1790), films of New York City (1897-1906) and of President McKinley (1901), and early sound recordings of America's leaders (1918-1920). Five additional collections -- including African American pamphlets (1820-1920), Civil War photographs (1861-1865), films of San Francisco before and after the earthquake (1897-1907) and ethnic folk music from Northern California (1938-1940) -- are scheduled to come on-line soon. The American Memory Program is also being successfully tested as stand-alone workstations in 44 libraries, school districts, and colleges around the country, including the United States Naval Academy, Northwestern University, Brigham Young University, and the University of Georgia.
Access to Internet
Extending his vision of the services the cable industry can supply its customers, Mr. Jones is providing cable access to Internet. Starting December 1, Internet will be available to a selected area of Alexandria, Virginia -- the first in the nation to gain broadband access to Internet, the world's largest electronic bulletin board. A roll-out to the full Alexandria service area will take place after an initial test phase is completed. Jones Internet users in Alexandria will also be connected to one another through equipment at the cable hub that will route traffic person-to person, office-to-employee, doctor-to-hospital, school-to-student, and between schools. According to Mr. Jones, "Data transfer isn't the future anymore -- it's the present. Because information is the engine driving our society, it is incumbent upon cable television companies to do everything within their power to take advantage of the tremendous technology at our disposal to give people rapid access to information."
Mind Extension University
By providing students with information and increased access to quality education via cable, high technology, and interactive high school classes, Mr. Jones is helping to bring education into the 21st century. Through Mind Extension University thousands of schools across the country are expanding their curricula -- offering Advanced Placement and language classes -- at a time when they might otherwise have to cut classes. This alternative form of education, known as "distance education" is fast becoming a viable alternative. Students are able to "attend" classes which are transmitted to them via cable and monitored in the classroom by a teacher or administrator. Students participate in discussions, ask questions, and learn from the experiences of their peers through the use of interactive, two-way audio communication. College and graduate students enrolled in courses offered in conjunction with more than 25 leading universities also have access to an electronic bulletin board set up specifically for its students, who are able to interact with each other and their teachers. "It's been a very active environment for our students, especially since they can call up and discuss a class lecture at any time that's convenient for them," Mr. Jones said. In fact, many students enrolled in the master's degree program in education technology from George Washington University have developed their own study groups via the bulletin board. Mind Extension University, available in more than 25 million U.S. households, provides more than a quality education. Also known as ME/U, the 24-hour education network offers convenience because students are able to "attend" accredited classes and enrichment courses according to their schedules and in the comfort of their own homes. This is particularly beneficial for home-bound parents, the physically disabled, and busy professionals, who can continue their education without the loss of income from their careers. Glenn R. Jones is the CEO of Jones International, Ltd., the parent company of Jones Intercable, Mind Extension University and 17 other subsidiaries. On April 1, 1993, Mr. Jones received the "Most Outstanding Corporate Individual Achievement" award from the International Distance Learning Conference (IDLCON) for his contributions to distance education. He is also the author of the book, Make All America A School. NOTE TO EDITORS: Interviews with students participating in the American Memory Program or Mind Extension University as well as with Glenn Jones are available. -0- 10/21/93 /CONTACT: Norman Birnbach, 212-536-8722, or Andi Hughes, 212- 536-8847/ CO: Jones International, Ltd. ST: Colorado IN: TLS SU:
DH -- NY071 -- 5318 10/21/93 14:13 EDT
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|Date:||Oct 21, 1993|
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