About KMi

Knowledge Media Institute Concept Videos

1994 KMi Virtual Summer School and Future Concept Videos

While working towards the creation of the Knowledge Media Institute in late 1994, Marc Eisenstadt, Tom Vincent and Kitty Chisholm, with support from then-Vice-Chancellor Sir John Daniel, commissioned a team working under the direction of Clive Holloway at the BBC to create a 'concept video'. Their brief was to explain in around 7 minutes what the future of the Open University might be in the rapidly-emerging landscape of new knowledge media technologies.

The concept video was itself inspired by a bold (and ultimately amusing) 'near-miss' attempt to give Open University students a taster of these new experiences during a 1994 "Virtual Summer School". This relied on a series of "best of breed" technologies, including the Mosaic web browser, CU-SeeMe video, and 14.4Kbps dial-up modems! Even with these new and basic technologies, much was learned during the experience, and this ultimately influenced the direction of KMi and the OU over the ensuing decade.

The video sequence includes excerpts from Virtual Summer School, including a segment where it goes horribly wrong, and the full Concept Video. The video itself was not formally "released" because of concerns by the commissioning team about an audience backlash against the emotional "coldness" of the future landscape, but is presented here for historical interest, and for the way in which it reveals the forward-looking nature of some 1994 experiments undertaken in the "early boom" era of the Internet.

The Open University
KMi 2013 - A review of the year

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Journal | 25 years of knowledge acquisition