Junwen Lai, Elisha Ziskind, Fengzhou Zheng, Yilei Shao, Chi Zhang, Ming Zhang, Nitin Garg, Sumeet Sobti, Randolph Wang, and Arvind Krishnamurthy. Distance Learning Technologies for Basic Education in Disadvantaged Areas. The 8th Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education. June 2004. (Nominated for a best paper award.)
Basic education plays a crucial role in uplifting disadvantaged
areas from the grip of poverty. Distance learning systems are a promising
option to deliver education to children who have access to none today.
The main problem with the large scale deployment of such systems is either
their reliance on broadband network access or their lack of interaction
among students and teachers. This paper describes a software architecture
that turns the global postal system into a generic digital communication
channel that enables relatively sophisticated distance learning systems
for disadvantaged areas. We also explore techniques to compliment this
communication channel with storage elements and the traditional Internet,
where it exists, to achieve a high bandwidth low latency hybrid network on
top of which a wide array of other applications may be built.