Hard Core CAI TICCIT System Progress Report on Field Testing by Eric McWilliams National Science Foundation Approximately two-and-one-half years ago, The MITRE Corporation at McLean, Virginia committed itself to preparing for and conducting a field-test of the TICCIT system of Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI). Specifically, MITRE committed to » developing and integrating the hardware and software required to provide CAI services to 128 consoles simultaneously using minicomputer and television technology; »installing and maintaining a 128-terminal TICCIT (Time-shared, Interactive, Computer-ControlIed, Information Television) system in each of two community colleges; and » developing and administering CAI lessons (courseware) educational programs (including teacher-training, consultation, and courseware improvement) for community college English and mathematics. The National Science Foundation committed $4 M to these activities, in order to obtain a field-test of several promising features of the TICCIT design, including » relatively low capital and operating cost, through the use of increasingly powerful and inexpensive minicomputers and television sets as student consoles; and » an approach to courseware development based upon mastery learning and a division of authoring labor made possible by a consistent separation of instructional content from instructional logic (the manner in which a student is able to access the content).* An independent evaluation contract was awarded to the Princeton Educational Testing Service (ETS), to provide educational decision makers with documented insight into the processes and outcomes of using TICCIT in community college instruction. Much has been accomplished toward meeting these objectives. » A dual-processor minicomputer-based system has been constructed which provides the following features, at a cost of about $450,000 per system; » Faculty and staff at Brigham Young University, who are responsible for the courseware, seek to develop the process of courseware production to a level more comparable to that practiced in the engineering professions, and in the process provide the student with powerful yet simple and consistent control over the instructional process. [See An Overview of the TICCIT Program M 74-1, January 1974.] » 128 color television consoles, capable of displaying 17 lines of 43 (completely programmable) characters in any of seven colors, with automatic refresh of each TV picture accomplished by solid-state electronic memory; » provision for on-line entering and editing of the courseware content; » on-line access to textual and graphic courseware for four full-semester courses (roughly 20% of a community college course-Ioad); » delivery of color videotape images to any 20 consoles simultaneously (through the use of 20 computer-switchable videotape players); » on-line random access to over five hours of pre-recorded audio messages, which can be delivered to any 20 consoles simultaneously; and » automatic digitalization (read-in) of color graphics such as drawings or still-frame cartoons, through the use of a scanning TV camera. (After being read in, any graphic can be edited on-line.) »A system of "learner-controIIed" CAI has been developed which allows each student to exercise the courseware content in the order that suits him. (He may be forced to listen to and look at advice from the system if he seems to be going astray, but he is never forced to look at material that he does not select.) » Phoenix College, a campus of the Maricopa County Community College District, and the Alexandria Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College were selected as field-test sites, and an extensive implementation plan was adopted by the colleges, MITRE and Brigham Young University. Courseware has been designed and specified for community college courses in algebra, elementary functions, and English grammar and composition. Roughly half of the mathematics and a quarter of the English coursewareis now in machine-readable form. NOTE The evaluative articles on PLATO and TICCIT were prepared in June 1974 and do not reflect developments in either project since that time.