This is a great year for the faculty to gain access and support in the area of educational technologies. The Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP) will have provided the following resources for each of 120 community college sites by December:
- A T1 telecommunications line is being brought to each site. This is the physical backbone (wire) by which each campus can exchange data, and eventually voice and video, with the rest of the system and the 22 California State Universities, which have partnered with us on this venture. Some colleges have in place their own infrastructure to distribute this resource across campus; many of you do not. It is imperative that the faculty play a pivotal role in deciding on each campus where and how this resource is to be utilized. Its deployment is for educational purposes; be sure that you have a primary role in deciding how your campus will use it.
- Picture-Tel video conferencing units are being installed on each campus with PacBell providing the ISDN line the first year. These units will allow us to videoconference for meetings, but a strong possibility is for the sharing of students and curriculum. This past spring, I taught a course that was broadcast simultaneously at San Diego Miramar College and San Diego City College. The enrollments in this course had been light for a few years, and this allowed us to provide this educational opportunity and to have the students from two campuses interact in a way that previously would not have been possible. Your own campus can create interesting and mutually beneficial partnership with other higher education institutions, since a standard platform was chosen to aid the ease for connectivity.
- Provisions allow for all sites to have both analog and digital satellite download capability with a MPEG2 digital standard. Using the network created with the T1 lines it will be possible for colleges to send information to those few community colleges that have the expensive uploading capacity and arrange for airing of programs. This standardization will give the system great potential for training as well.
Along with the infrastructure package, which should be deployed to all sites by December, the initiative provides for some grants to accomplish model projects. One that has been granted at this writing is the 4C@ONE Special Project for faculty training. De Anza College was selected as the successful grantee to administer a training opportunity for the faculty. The De Anza model has 9 strategically located partner colleges from around the state: Butte, Las Positas, LA Trade Tech, Marin, Santa Ana, San Diego Miramar, Santa Barbara, San Monica, and Fresno. These partners will become regional training sites for the faculty in their areas. In addition, De Anza will partner with the Academic Senate for a multi-day summer hands on technology institute to provide various levels of training from novice to advanced. Surveys and needs assessments will be arriving soon to solicit input into the types of training needed, and the best format in which it should be delivered.
In future editions of the Rostrum we will bring you information about the other grant opportunities and awards. A grant is being awarded soon in the development of an on-line instructional and curricular resource center that we can all share. Also coming are grants that address distance learning, faculty access to technology (like computers), student services online, and bringing universal Internet access to each site and faculty member. Stay tuned. More importantly, get involved – locally, in deciding how these resources will come to the hand of the faculty and students, regionally with the training possibilities, and system wide by helping your college apply for some of these funds and to shape the technological future of our community college system.