ERIC Number: EJ843429
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 33
Out on the Fringe: Helen Williams and Early Correspondence Study
Pittman, Von V.
American Educational History Journal, v33 n1 p107-116 2006
The first generation of distance education professionals, largely ignored even on their own campuses, created and sustained correspondence study--an innovative and controversial teaching format that provided an alternate and more democratic form of access to higher education than had previously existed. They most often did this in the service of institutions that remained skeptical of, indifferent to, or openly disdainful toward both the new teaching format and the idea of popular access to higher education. Helen Williams was a member of the generation of educators that created the field of distance education. Like her counterparts, she worked on the fringes of her university. Williams directed the University of Iowa's Bureau of Correspondence Study (BCS) from 1920 until 1949. She was one of the first female administrators, in any capacity, at the University of Iowa. In the 1920s, she directed by all accounts the best broadcast radio course program delivered by an American university. This article describes Williams's long and eventful tenure which provides an excellent account of the barriers to--and the rewards of--teaching nontraditional, distant students from within a research-oriented university.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Correspondence Study, Campuses, Distance Education, Nontraditional Education, Enrollment, Educational History, War, College Faculty
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Iowa Tests of Basic Skills