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Capitol's Roots Are in Distance Learning

Capitol Technology University

April 2, 2020


As universities across the nation switch to purely online classes, some are calling this a new look at education. I'd call it a retro take—we're going back to a mode of education Capitol perfected in 1927. In essence, we're returning to our roots as a correspondence school, only better. To start, let's take a peek at Capitol's origins.

Founded in 1927 as the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute (CREI),Capitol was entirely a radio/electronics correspondence school for the first 5 years of its existence. Correspondence schools follow this model: send the student books, kits of parts, and instructional guides; then mail students a lesson in print or as an audio tape; students then send write-ups of their results which are assessed; finally the next lesson is mailed out and the process is repeated. This is the exact situation we find ourselves in now—teaching at a distance.

This means, after almost one hundred years, we're back to the idea of sending students kits and pre-recorded materials, then parceling out instructional assignments and providing feedback. Only now we have the internet and aren't limited to the postal service. And, the good news is that Capitol already knows how to effectively teach online and has the infrastructure to support it.

We teach in a variety of modes:purely online, traditional on-ground, and 'hybrid' mixes. We run some material synchronously, meaning everyone attends a course taught by a professor at the same time, and some asynchronous courses, meaning students work at their own pace and on their own schedule. Both historically and pragmatically, this switch to wrapping up the semester is not something we don't know how to do—it's just something we had to do unexpectedly. As a result, though, it's allowing us to perfect our online only teaching tactics.