Origins of CALCampus


CALCampus originates from the Computer Assisted Learning Center (CALC), which was founded by Margaret Morabito in 1982 in Rindge, New Hampshire, as a small, offline computer-based, adult learning center. The center was based on the same premise as today: to provide affordable, quality instruction to individual learners through the use of computers.

In 1983, Morabito started investigating the major commercial telecommunications networks and researched the various ways that telecommunications was being used for education throughout the world, resulting in a series of articles that she wrote in RUN Magazine, a Commodore computer magazine, and Link-Up, a telecommunications magazine, throughout the 1980s. Seeing the potential for combining computers, modems, and teaching, Morabito designed and operated CALC as an exclusively online learning center for the purpose of providing instruction to individual learners from diverse locations through the use of computer telecommunications.

In 1985, nearly ten years before the Internet became known to the public, the QuantumLink telecommunications network opened for Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computer users. A proposal was submitted by Morabito and in early 1986, CALC's first Tutoring Center went live on the QuantumLink network inside the Q-Link Learning Center. The prior link shows a screen shot of the first real-time online Spelling Bee, held inside the Tutoring Center.

For a firsthand look at this online Spelling Bee, as it occurred in real time, take a look at Q-Link Spelling Bee.

The Tutoring Center was well-attended from the start and was soon followed in 1987 by Morabito's design and development of what was then known as QuantumLink Community College, which offered non-credit courses through live online group instruction (today known as virtual classroom instruction). This was CALC's first online course center, which we see today as CALCampus.edu. We offered a wide range of courses in all of the academic areas. (See screen shot of one of our earliest totally online Chemistry courses). In those days, the teachers were known as QTutors.

In addition to running these instructional services, Morabito also operated the Resource Center on Q-Link, based on the monthly articles that she wrote for RUN Magazine, published by CW Communications in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The Resource Center, Tutoring Center, and Q-Link Community College were key aspects of QuantumLink's Learning Center, designed and operated by Morabito in the early years of Q-Link.

During the mid-1980s, CALC also was busy compiling and distributing educational software on disk for Commodore computer users, as well as publishing its own newsletter about using Commodore computers for education: the CALC Newsletter. The CALC Newsletter was mailed to readers all throughout the U.S. and to several foreign countries These were educators and parents who wanted to learn more about how to use their home computers for teaching and learning.

Note: In 2019, Morabito published the Vintage Commodore 128 Personal Computer Handbook , which includes a section with historical information about the early days of computer-assisted education and the role that Commodore played at that time.

From 1986 through 1995, CALC Online Campus, as it later became known, expanded its online school onto several major telecommunications networks, including GEnie (see also GEnie Main Menu and GEnie Press Release about CALC), PC-Link, AppleLink, AOL, Delphi , and CompuServe. Various articles were written about CALC's online schools during this period, documenting the development of CALC and the early development of online distance learning. The CALC teachers were teachers who liked computers, who were already online, and who wanted to try their hand at teaching online. It was a perfect match which resulted in a successful online school serving thousands of students over the years, students who never physically saw their teachers, yet who were in class together every week for two to three hours of instruction.

Sidenote: CALC relocated to East Rochester, New York in 1988 and operated from that location unti 2005 when it moved back to Rindge, New Hampshire.

By late 1994 and early 1995, Internet e-mail was becoming accessible to the public through the major telecommunications networks. Quickly following this was the availability of the entire Internet to the consumer through smaller, local Internet providers, thus bypassing the limitations and isolation of the large telecommunications networks. The emergence of the Internet for public access provided a major advancement for CALC: now, we were able to reach everyone using one central location--the Internet. Morabito continued to operate CALC's separate online campuses on the various networks; however, it was clear that the Internet would provide the vehicle that CALC required to fulfill its mission as an international online learning center.

In early 1995, CALC Online Campus changed its name to CALCampus for their Internet domain, calcampus.com. In 2007, after earning regional accreditation, the domain changed to calcampus.edu.

Historical research shows that the CALC Online Campus (known under various names on specific network) was the first implementation of a totally online-based school through which administration, real-time classroom instruction, and materials were provided, originating with its QuantumLink campus in 1986. This was a significant departure from earlier methods of distance education because no longer was the individual distance learner isolated from the teacher and from classmates.

Today, CALCampus has expanded its methods of course delivery to include directed individual study--directed by subject-specific teachers who provide individualized instruction for their students. This method of course delivery tends to be more in demand from the students since they are from so many different geographical locations. This, combined with the option to meet live (online) with their instructors on CALCampus, provides an effective and workable instructional method for an international student body.

The world is connected via telecommunications and CALCampus is literally a world school, with students participating from across the Pacific and the Atlantic. As a CALCampus student, you are in a unique position to learn from some of the best instructors in online education today and to share your educational goals with students from around the world.

by Margaret Morabito
Return to: CALCampus Home Page.

For other articles about CALC and Distance Education.

For Commodore users who would like to contact Morabito regarding public domain/shareware educational programs for the C-64 and C-128, e-mail commodore at calcampus.edu .