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For your knowledge base assignments, especially famous figures and instructional theories, some options are:
Google Scholar: look for heavily cited authors, either current or historical (books will show up in Google Scholar results in particular for an historical angle).
Library Book Catalog: current distance ed directors, you can try somewhat the same thing. Try searching for books on distance education via the library and see who is currently writing about distance education and if they are at a university with a large distance ed program
Also, for current leaders, look at major conferences in a particular field and see who is listed as a keynote speaker.
A compilation of statistical information covering the field of U.S. education from pre-K through graduate school. Contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons
Multidisciplinary scholarly search engine. Covers peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities, and other scholarly organizations. Includes links to USU resources when on campus.