“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Teaching and Learning


óUSC — University of Southern California ó

Teaching and Learning Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
1. Teaching and Learning Interpretive Panel
Inscription. If USCís earliest students could travel through time to todayís university, they would probably find the changes inside the classrooms even more astounding than the transformation of the campus. Confined to a rigid academic program that included just four courses of study—classical, philosophical, literary and scientific—students entering USC during the 1880s were permitted no electives during their first two years. Their only resource was a tiny library.

. After 1894, when the Reverend Milton E. Phillips became dean of the College of Liberal Arts, both the pedagogy and the curriculum began to broaden, and students gained more choices. “At this moment, a new era had dawned, and with it was ushered in the modern progressive spirit of scientific investigation and thought,” notes Samuel Eugene Gates in his 1929 masterís thesis, “A History of the University of Southern California, 1900-1928.” Science labs were outfitted with the newest and best equipment; course offerings multiplied; and enrollment increased, trends that continued over the next few decades.

During the 1930s, to complement its ongoing curricular expansion, USC began to experiment with new ways to deliver instruction. The first venture was the “University of the Air,” a weekday educational radio program
Teaching and Learning Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
2. Teaching and Learning Interpretive Panel
that debuted in the middle of the decade on the Columbia–Don Lee radio network. It was followed in 1939 by “University Television,” a series of USC-produced telecasts over KHJís short-wave television station. In 1949, in conjunction with NBC, USC developed a noncredit radio course called “Pioneers of Music.”

By far the most famous of USCís educational broadcasts began in 1953, when the local CBS television station, KNXT, gave USC one hour of air time a week. The result was “Shakespeare on Television,” hosted by one of USCís most popular faculty members, Dr. Frank Baxter, an English professor, and adapted from his course. Within weeks, Baxter attracted an audience of 400,000, aged 16 to 93, from all walks of life. The rapid success of the initial series prompted USC and Baxter to offer the course for one unit of college credit—the first TV course given for credit in Southern California. It was so popular that two additional TV Shakespeare courses followed. The 45 programs were picked up by stations across the nation, and other series followed. Baxter was a household name for two decades, earning seven Emmy and a Peabody Award for distinguished achievement in television education.

Educational innovation at USC assumed different forms during the 1960s and 1970s hut again attracted national attention. Inaugurated
USC Leavey Library image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
3. USC Leavey Library
in 1968, the Urban Semester was an interdisciplinary immersion program that used the entire region as a laboratory. Thematic Option, a demanding, interdisciplinary freshman honors program taught by top faculty, was developed with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and first offered in 1975-76. Today Thematic Option is considered one of the nationís best undergraduate honors programs.

The opening of the Leavey Library in 1994 added a new dimension to instruction at USC. Conceived as a teaching library combining traditional and digital sources of information, it quickly became a major vehicle for bringing information technology into the classroom. Both a testing ground for technological approaches to more effective learning and a catalyst for technology partnerships, it began offering such services as full-text online reserve readings for courses, World Wide Web pages to support individual courses and a program to improve faculty instruction and research through the use of computer technology. Although its tools were high-tech, its mission was familiar, and one that is now a longstanding campus tradition: developing new and innovative ways to help faculty teach and students learn more effectively.
Erected 1998 by USC History Project, USC Alumni Association. Sponsored by USC Class of 1994.
Location. 34° 1.183′ N, 118° 17.131′ W. Marker is in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on Trousdale Parkway south of Childs Way, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. It is in front of the Hancock Foundation Building. Marker is in this post office area: Los Angeles CA 90089, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gwynn Wilson Student Union (within shouting distance of this marker); Student Media (within shouting distance of this marker); A Gathering Place (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Meeting of the USC Board of Trustees (about 600 feet away); Petrified Tree from the Arizona Forest (about 600 feet away); USC Urban Legends (about 600 feet away); John C. Argue Plaza (about 700 feet away); The Oldest University Building in Southern California (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Angeles.
More about this marker. This marker has a timeline from 1870 to 2000 marking when USC was founded, USCís curriculum and pedagogy are modernized, “University of the Air” debuts, Frank Baxter brings his USC Shakespeare courses to television, the Urban Semester is first offered, the Thematic Option program is introduced, and the Leavey Library opens. It has a number of illustrations (clockwise from center): “Frank Baxter,” “Leavey Library,” and photographs of a 19th century classroom and a laboratory.
Also see . . .  Don Lee Radio Network. Excerpt: “In 1929, Don Lee Network and CBS entered into an agreement that created the Don Lee-Columbia Network, making the Lee stations the West Coast affiliates for CBS. The joint operation was launched on January 1, 1930. A typical schedule had the network carrying CBS programs in the early evening. When those ended at 8 p.m. Pacific Time, either KFRC or KHJ provided network programs, with the two usually alternating evenings. Some of the programs originating at one of the Lee stations were also transmitted nationally by CBS.” (Submitted on January 10, 2019.) 
Categories. CommunicationsEducation
Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 10, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 10, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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