Cable Television and Higher Education

Two Contrasting Experiences

by Leland Johnson

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Examines and seeks implications for public policy in two contrasting uses of cable television in education. Oregon State University at Corvallis enrolls about 8500 persons yearly in about 40 hr/wk of daytime televised lecture courses. Televised presentation of regular curriculum material saves money and classroom space. The University of Oregon at Eugene employs its channel to supplement and enrich live classroom presentations with programming requested by faculty members. The channel also provides a daily message service, an enrollment information service, and local community programming. The reasons for faculty acceptance of cable TV at Corvallis and resistance at Eugene are not clear. These two different uses suggest that allocating cable channels among educational institutions will be difficult. Both applications demonstrate the superior value of multichannel cable TV over broadcasting in education, but also show that its use will depend on the institutional environment and the attitudes of faculty members and administrators. (See also R-570, R-587, R-595, R-689, RM-6199, RM-6309.)

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