Donald L Bitzer Introduced Plato in 1960, helped form one of the first online communities | 150 Engage Illinois Office of Corporate Relations
Celebrating our Sesquicentennial 1867-2017

Introduced in 1960 by Professor Donald L. Bitzer (BSEE ’55, MSEE ’56, PhD ’60), the legendary PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) system offered a glimpse into the future of education and online computing. It represented the first use of a computer for pedagogy, the first time-shared education system, and the home of the first online community. PLATO developed into an extensive network through which students nationwide could study dozens of subjects interactively. PLATO users were among the first people to send e-mail, post to public bulletin boards, instant message, chat, use screen savers, use spell check, and play online games. The world’s first plasma displays were part of the PLATO system.

Jan 02, 1960
Media Image: 
PLATO IV Terminal, ca. 1972-74. Credit University Archives.
Caption Text: 
PLATO IV Terminal, ca. 1972-74. Credit University Archives.