Global (electronic) University (GU) (TM) consortium, a divisional activity of GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA), seeks to improve the quality and availability of international educational exchange through the use of telecommunication and information technologies. GU's main activity is to achieve global electronic education across national boundaries by developing a cooperative infrastructure, so as to enlarge and expand the present exchange of educational courses into a worldwide system. GU will provide underserved people of the Third World with access to the educational excellence available from all the world's finest sources. Students could access resources with a far greater variety of educational philosophies, courses and instructional styles than they could ever encounter on a single campus. This is "the 21st century version of the Fulbright exchange program."
Over the past two decades GLOSAS/USA played a major pioneering role in making possible the extension of the U.S. data communication networks to other countries, particularly to Japan, and the deregulation of Japanese telecommunication policies for the use of email and computer-mediated conferencing (CMC) (thanks to help from the Late Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldridge), which were emulated by many other countries (now over 75 with Internet access and 150 with email).
GLOSAS has also conducted a number of "Global Lecture Hall (GLH)" (TM) multipoint-to-multipoint multimedia interactive videoconferences employing various inexpensive media accessible to the less developed countries, ranging from Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, entire Europe, Scandinavia, Middle East, Russia, etc. These demonstrations have helped build a network of leaders in the global electronic distance education movement.
GLOSAS recently established a Consortium for the Advancement of Affordable Distance Education (CAADE). CAADE will develop and demonstrate a new high-performance electronic communications infrastructure which combines efficiently and affordably the power of Computer-Mediated Multimedia Systems (CMMS) via Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS), low-to-medium speed terrestrial Internet and (where appropriate) wireless telecommunications, and direct digital broadcasting satellite (DDBS) technologies as a new model for distance education. This infrastructure will increase access to richer learning environments while enhancing interactivity and sharing of information among teachers and students. The result will be improved and reformed education instruction for the underserved population in the U.S. (and later around the world). This approach will also help to take bandwidth pressures off the now-overburdened Internet.
In the not so distant future, students in any remote location with laptop computers will be able to receive such courses from the United States (later from any other country), and they could earn degrees from Global University. On the other hand, teachers and professors (active or retired) could also transmit their courses from their offices or homes through ordinary telephone lines for worldwide broadcasting.
GU has already gained the wide support of prominent educational institutions, information technology specialists and industrialists in many countries. Global (electronic) University is an evolutionary concept with no global precedent. GU attempts 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.
GLOSAS/USA is a publicly supported, nonprofit, educational service organization. The ultimate goal of the GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA) is to establish a Globally Distributed Decision Support System with a distributed interactive computer gaming simulation system, for problem analysis, policy formulation and assessment, to be used for training of would-be decision makers in conflict resolution, crisis management, and negotiation with win-win cooperation. This is to be done with integrated use of distributed computer conferencing, databases and simulation systems among various countries. Several systems will be interconnected to form a global neural computer network [a term coined by Utsumi in 1981]. The total system will act as a single system with parallel processing of those subsystems in individual countries. Here each game player with his submodel and database corresponds to a neuron, an Internet node to a synapsis, and the Internet the nerves of a global brain.
Education and healthcare are the basis of any society. The main goal of this coalition is to foster global citizenship in a global village with global electronic distance education and global healthcare/telemedicine, especially to achieve "Education for All" from anywhere to anywhere at anytime.
The main objective is to produce policy recommendations for promoting and accelerating the establishment and use of the GII, looking toward the years 2005, 2010, and 2015. This is to be done with international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the fields of non-profit organizations, especially for benefitting underserved people in remote and rural areas of less developed countries with educational and healthcare services from the finest and willing sources around the world.
The objectives are: 1) to formulate collaborative arrangements in each country or region to achieve their goals affordably, with multi-lateral cooperation; 2) to devise guidelines in each individual field for collaboration and execution of their objectives; and 3) to raise governmental and industrial funds to achieve these goals, mainly from Japan, North America, and Europe.
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. The rapid advancement of videoconferencing, telephony, and World Wide Web in distance education, and high resolution image transfer for telemedicine require broadband Internet via international satellite. The deployment of this to less developed countries is to be financed with the Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF) which is an emulation of the Universal Service Fund of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and which will be a pool of the Overseas Development Assistant (ODA) funds of G7 countries in the magnitude of several billion dollars for ten years. The GSTF is to be established by the International Coalition for Global Information Infrastructure in Education and Healthcare. By working together, both fields of global electronic distance education and global healthcare / telemedicine can share the cost. Without this international cooperation for broadband Internet, GII will become an empty dream.
GLOSAS/USA encourages the formation of local coalitions of academia, secondary schools, public organizations (libraries, hospitals, training centers, etc.) which will be connected with inexpensive wireless broadband Internet to enable them to use advanced Web, Internet telephony, videoconferencing, computer conferencing, etc. -- to solve the "last-mile" problem by "do-it-yourself" approaches. Those local coalitions are to be linked internationally with the use of very small aperture terminal (VSAT) and broadband satellite in the future.
The availability of broadband Internet in the international arena is a vital necessity to secure high quality, reliable audio, which is the most important component of global electronic distance education. We would also need to foster the use of Internet in multilingual and multicultural modes, which arrangement would require multilateral approaches through the GSTF.
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 Tampere and Tampere University of Technology in Finland, GLOSAS/USA will hold an international workshop and conference on "Emerging Global Electronic Distance Learning" from August 9 to 13, 1999. (Reference 1). This event is funded in part by Alprint (Finland), The British Council, the Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education (CAADE), Finnair, Finland Ministry of Education, the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN), the National Science Foundation (US), the Pan American Health Organization, PictureTel (US), Sonera (Finland), the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Information Agency and the infoDev of the World Bank.
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 an emulation of the Universal Service Fund of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and which will be a pool of Overseas Development Assistant (ODA) funds of G7 countries in the magnitude of several billion dollars for ten years. The GSTF is to be established 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 is 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 an 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 treadmill 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://www.uta.fi/EGEDL/ and http://www.friends-partners.org/utsumi/.
(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