FLASHBACK: Remembering a time before the internet when the U of R blazed a trail in distance education

By Dale Johnson Posted: December 21, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Face-to-face instruction was the norm in 1965, with students seen here with Regina Campus principal Dr. W. A. Riddell. But that was starting to change with the launch of long-distance education.
Face-to-face instruction was the norm in 1965, with students seen here with Regina Campus principal Dr. W. A. Riddell. But that was starting to change with the launch of long-distance education. Photo: U of R Archives and Special Collections, The Tower 1965

Among the historical highlights at the University of Regina (and its forerunners) during the month of December:

1918:  Regina College is anticipating brighter days ahead after some rather difficult times. “(The) institution enters on its eighth year with much confidence in future expansion,” the Regina Leader newspaper reports. There are a couple of reasons for such optimism – the First World War has just ended, and the flu epidemic is nearing its end with the quarantine being lifted.

1948:  The announcement of the new president of the University of Saskatchewan is made in Regina. W. P. Thomson becomes the third president in the institution’s history. He has been dean of the College of Arts and Science. He earned degrees from the University of Toronto and Harvard University. Thomson has been with the University of Saskatchewan since 1913, when he was the only biology professor. The Leader-Post says in an editorial, “This appointment is an admirable one which will be widely approved.”

1960:  Plans are announced for upcoming 50th anniversary of Regina College. Special events include a series of Beethoven piano and violin sonatas by Howard Leyton-Brown and Gordon McLean of the Conservatory of Music. James Minifie, Washington correspondent for the CBC and a former student, will deliver a lecture. There will also be a homecoming for all former students.

1965:  In a year-end review, the Leader-Post says, “A new idea in long distance training was introduced in the past year at Regina Campus. Using ordinary telephone lines and a visual electronics remote blackboard, an evening credit class on methods of teaching the new mathematics was given simultaneously in Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Melville and Swift Current. It was the first time a project of this kind has been tried in Canada.”

1976:  The idea of having a new building as a student centre at the University of Regina is revived. The Leader-Post reports that it’s “an idea that has existed for 10 years and through four successive university committees.” The idea is in its early stages, and “neither financial arrangements for the construction of the building, nor its location on the campus have been completed.” (The Riddell Centre opened in May 1997.)

1978:  Enrolment at the University of Regina reaches its highest level ever, with 7,003 students for the term that just finished. The Leader-Post reports, “University president Dr. Lloyd Barber said he was ‘particularly gratified by this outcome,’ since almost every university in Canada was experiencing enrolment downturns.”

More stories about the history of the University of Regina:

FLASHBACK: December highlights in the history of the University of Regina

FLASHBACK: November highlights in the history of the University of Regina

FLASHBACK: October highlights in the history of the University of Regina