Education About Asia: Online Archives

Distance Learning and Asian Studies: An Experiment at the East-West Center

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John Dewey once observed that it is one of the characteristics of genuine philosophical work “to help get rid of the useless lumber that blocks our highways of thought, and strive to make straight and open the paths that lead to the future.”1 Roger Ames, the distinguished University of Hawaii sinologist and philosopher, is fond of quoting this passage. Ames has earned a reputation for his unrelenting efforts to remove the “useless lumber” that impedes serious consideration of China. It is perhaps because of this that in the spring of 2001, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) asked Ames and his colleagues at the East-West Center, Elizabeth Buck and Peter Hershock, to take part in an experiment utilizing the Internet as a means of broadening the scope of the NEH’s venerable Summer Seminars and Institutes programs for college teachers.