Classics in Distance Learning

To some, classic means old! To others the word means important, excellent, even necessary.

Information Age Publishing has done it again. This 21st Century publisher has collected a number of the classic 20th Century instructional technology texts and references and re-printed and re-published them. In my estimation every serious instructional technologist and distance education specialist needs these classic and foundational publications as part of their “real” bookshelf.

Wittich and Schuller’s Audio-Visual Materials: Their Nature and Use was first published in 1953. For a decade or longer it was one of the most widely used texts dealing with audiovisual materials. At nearly 600 pages, it is a massive collection of important information about the materials used for instruction, and like many of the other books in this collection, it remains interestingly relevant today.

James Kinder’s Audio-Visual Materials and Techniques with a 1950 copyright is equally important. Weaver and Bollinger’s Visual Aids, first published in 1949 reminds the reader of how much the field of educational technology has evolved.

Other classics include:
• Noel and Leonard’s Foundations for Teacher Education in Audio Visual Instruction (1947)
• Wittich and Fowlkes, Audio-Visual Paths to Learning (1946)
• The National Society of the Study of Education’s Audio-visual Materials of Instruction (1949).

Supplementing the collection are the three Planning Schools for the Use of Audio-Visual Materials manuals published by the Department of Audio-Visual Instruction of the National Education Association in 1952, 53 and 54. These manuals deal with planning for classrooms, auditoriums, and media centers.

Finally, and possibly the most important is the 1985 first edition Jerry Kemp’s The Instructional Design Process—it is an outstanding reference. I wonder if Kemp’s subsequent co-author, Gary Morrison has a copy.

In the age of the digital book and the online reference, the acquisition of nine printed books may be quaint and even unpopular, but it is a good idea.

Michael Simonson
Nova Southeastern University