Born in Los Angeles, California, in December 1925, Edwin G. Cohen has had a long and distinguished career in educational television, serving as the director of several major educational and instructional televisionagencies. After graduating from Los Angeles Manual Arts High School in 1943, Cohen enlisted in the Navy and entered the reserve officers training program at Southwestern University and the University of Texas. Upon completing his training, Cohen received his commission and served in Guam, where he worked in the Educational Services Office. After three years of service, Cohen returned to the United States and completed his undergraduate education at the University of Texas, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Naval Science and a bachelor's degree in history.
Returning to Los Angeles, Cohen entered graduate school at UCLA, where he completed his master's degree in 1953. Recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict, Cohen served at the fleet training center in San Diego, California, where he worked as a training aids officer and administrator of an audiovisual program. After working with instructional technology in the military, Cohen pursued a doctoral degree in audiovisual education at the Indiana University School of Education.
In 1955, Cohen was appointed head of the National Educational Television Film Service (NET Film Service), which was located at Indiana University. Three years later, he accepted a position as program associate at Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC), in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he served as liaison to NBC and the Metropolitan Educational Television Association (META).
When ETRC moved to New York City and became the National Educational Television and Radio Center-and later National Educational Television, or NET- Cohen assumed responsibility for children's programming, science programming, and social sciences programming. In 1962, he became director of the National Instructional Television Library (NITL), a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Office of Education and contractually supported by NET. While at NITL, Cohen was responsible for facilitating the exchange of instructional programs between American schools and universities.
In 1965, NITL relocated to Bloomington, Indiana, and became the National Center for School and College Television (NCSCT). Supported by a loan from the Indiana University Foundation, the agency remained in existence until 1968, when it became self-supporting and changed its name to the National Instructional Television Center (NIT). Cohen served as the agency's executive director, overseeing the conception and design of instructional programming for American and Canadian schools. In 1973, NIT became the Agency for Instructional Television (AIT), which in 1984 changed its name to the Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT). Cohen served as executive director for both organizations until his retirement in 1990.