Jones, Glenn R(obert) 1930-
JONES, Glenn R(obert) 1930-
PERSONAL: Born March 2, 1930, in Jackson Center, PA; son of Alvin Robert (a coal miner) and Viola (Jenkins) Jones; married Aldene Beagle, 1953; children: Christine Elaine, Suzanne Meredith, Glenn Michael. Education: Attended Findlay College, 1948-49; Allegheny College, B.A., 1952; attended University of Pennsylvania, 1956-57, 1958-59; University of Colorado at Boulder, J.D., 1960; Stanford University, received diploma in executive program. Religion: Congregationalist.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Jones International, Ltd., 9697 East Mineral Ave., Englewood, CO 80112-3408.
CAREER: Attorney in private practice and real estate salesman, Denver, CO, 1961-66; Silver King Cable Company, president, beginning 1966; Data Transmission, Inc. and Silver King Company, president, beginning 1968; Silver King Communications TV, Inc., president, beginning 1969; Jones International, Ltd., president, beginning 1969; Jones Intercable Inc., Englewood, CO, president and chief executive officer, beginning 1971. Founder and chief executive officer, Mind Extension University: The Education Network (long-distance education company; now Knowledge TV), 1987, Jones International University: The University of the Web, 1995, and Jones Media Networks; also founder of Jones Knowledge, Inc., e-education (online course software), College Connection (higher education support services), e-global library, and The Knowledge Store. Ran for U.S. House of Representatives for Fist District of Colorado, 1964; Arapahoe County Republican Party, finance chairman and member of executive committee, 1968-69, treasurer, 1971-78; founder and chairman, Global Alliance for Transnational Education. Member, Colorado Republican State Central Committee, 1969-78; founding member, James Madison National Council. Military service: U.S. Navy, 1952-56; served in Amphibious Corps and Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Far East; became lieutenant (JG); Naval Reserve, 1956-66; became first lieutenant; awarded American Spirit Honor Medal.
MEMBER: World Future Society, American Society for Training and Development, National Alliance of Business (board member and member of educational council) National Cable Television Association, Lifelong Learning Society (founder), Phi Gamma Delta.
AWARDS, HONORS: Most Outstanding Corporate Individual Achievement Award, International Distance Learning Conference, 1993, for contributions to distance education; Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement, 1994, for advances in distance education; Man of the Year, Achievement rewards for College Scientists (Denver chapter), 1994; inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable's Hall of Fame, 1994; L.H.D., Allegheny College.
Dictionary of Cable Television Terminology, 1976, 4th edition published as Jones Cable Television and Information Infrastructure Dictionary, Jones Interactive (Englewood, CO), 1994.
Briefcase Poetry of Yankee Jones, Briefcase Poetry (Englewood, CO), Volume 1, 1978, Volume 2, 1981, Volume 3, 1985.
The Big Arena: Dedicated to Everybody Who Carries a Briefcase, Briefcase Poetry (Englewood, CO), 1985.
Make All America a School: Mind Extension University: The Education Network, Jones 21st Century (Englewood, CO), 1991.
Cyberschools: An Education Renaissance, foreword by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Jones Interactive (Englewood, CO), 1997, 2nd edition, 2000.
Free Market Fusion: How Entrepreneurs and Non-profits Create 21stCentury Success: Freemarketfusion.com, foreword by Gary Hart, Cyber Publishing Group (Denver, CO), 1999.
ADAPTATIONS: Jones Cable Television and Information Infrastructure Dictionary is also available in diskette and CD-ROM formats.
SIDELIGHTS: Glenn R. Jones is a business entrepreneur who turned the cable television company Jones Intercable into a distance learning empire. He has more recently expanded his business into the world of Internet education with such companies as the JEC College Connection, International University, and e-education, all of which are subsidiaries of Jones Intercable. Jones has said that he is on a mission to bring education into people's homes around the world through cable television and the Internet because, as he told Rebecca Cantwell in the Rocky Mountain News, "I think education is the great hope of the world." Ignorance, he believes, is the main culprit of many of the problems in the world, including prejudice and war. Education through advances in communications can be part of the solution. "We have the ability to fuse the technology with education which makes it travel globally," he told Cantwell. "Your class can be composed, for example, of people from Germany, Japan, the U.S. and Mexico. And when you mix people up like that and they learn to respect each other and deal with each other, it develops ties and relationships that people stop and think about before they do stupid things like start wars."
Jones has good reasons for believing that education is an important key to success. The son of a coal miner living in a town where almost all the boys grew up to join their fathers and uncles in the mines, he became determined to follow a different path. Working for a meat packer, he earned enough money to complete an economics degree at Allegheny College, making him the first person in his family to finish college. He then joined the navy as a bomb-disposal officer and worked on thermonuclear weapons. After leaving the service, he went back to school and earned a law degree. Going into private practice in Denver, he supplemented his income by selling real estate. Political aspirations took over in 1964, and he ran for a seat in Congress representing Denver. But when he lost the election he had so little money left over that he was not sure what to do next.
Fortunately, his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. As an attorney, Jones had been hired to assist some television cable companies with a number of business acquisitions. The cable business intrigued him, and he decided he could run a cable company, too. Selling his Volkswagen for four hundred dollars and borrowing some money, he bought a small cable system in 1966. Shrewd with his finances, he began finding investors and slowly grew his company, going public in 1973. In 1985, he had carefully built up his business enough to buy nine large cable systems from the Chicago Tribune Company, thus increasing his subscriber base from the original 150 to about one and a half million homes.
Founding Jones Intercable in 1971, Jones began to diversify, creating subsidiaries such as a country music cable network called Great American Country, the Jones Entertainment Group film production company, the Jones Radio Network, and other cable radio and television companies. But he wanted to do more, and in 1987 he founded Mind Extension University (ME/U). Working with universities, Jones created what became known as "distance learning" in which courses are taught to people in their homes using cable television. Now called Knowledge TV, his company offers college courses to millions of Americans. Spurred on by his success, Jones sold his entertainment subsidiaries in 1998 to Comcast so that he could focus on his educational efforts. In 1995 he founded Jones International University, thus adding Internet-accessible courses to his already thriving cable television classes.
Jones writes about his vision of the future of education in his 1997 book Cyberschools: An Educational Renaissance, which went into a second edition in 2000. Noting that such institutions as the University of Phoenix have built successful online courses that make higher education easier to manage for people who work or have other reasons to want flexibility when taking classes, Jones discusses some of the history behind online education and explains where it is now and where he believes it is going. Although a Publishers Weekly reviewer complained that much of the data in the new edition was not revised from the first edition, making "a lot of the argument ancient history," a Futurist writer asserted in a review of the original edition that the "book paints an intriguing and attractive picture of how new technologies offer opportunities for learning that are convenient, cost-effective, personalized, and often more active and cooperative than conventional college courses tend to be."
Today, Jones feels that the government and entrepreneurs such as himself should work together to make online and television learning a possibility for anyone who wishes to participate in it. With people becoming more and more overwhelmed by the immense amount of data now available to them, Jones sees it as the job of his company to "make it unscary and unintimidating," as he told Cantwell. "We make it friendly and usable and comfortable and cozy. Our cyber education, for example, is very accommodating. You can do it in your kitchen. If you get transferred to Akron, your kitchen is still your classroom."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 1994, review of Jones CableTelevision and Information Infrastructure Dictionary, p. 771.
Cable Television Business, December 1, 1990, Tom Sullivan, "Dreams Turn to Reality: Glenn Jones Turns All of America into a Classroom through Cable," p. 26.
Choice, November, 1988, D. A. Schmitt, review of Jones Dictionary of Cable Television Terminology, p. 462; December, 1994, D. A. Schmitt, review of Jones Cable Television and Information Infrastructure Dictionary, p. 576.
Curriculum Review, November, 1988, "Worthwhile Library Additions," pp. 18-19.
Forbes, December 1, 1986, Alex Ben Block, "The Poet King of Cable TV," p. 48.
Futurist, September-October, 1997, review of Cyberschools: An Education Renaissance, p. 59.
Library Journal, November 15, 2002, Scott Walter, review of Cyberschools, p. 83.
Publishers Weekly, September 23, 2002, review of Cyberschools, p. 64.
Rocky Mountain News, September 20, 1998, Rebecca Cantwell, "Cable Pioneer on Fast Forward."
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1998, review of Cyberschools, pp. 411-412.
Cyberschool Web site,http://www.cyberschools.com/ (August 26, 2003).
Jones International, Ltd.,http://www.jones.com/ (May 27, 2003).
JonesKnowledge.com,http://www.jonesknowledge.com/ (August 26, 2003).*