Riding the Winds of Change: TTIP in Review
Prior to 1996, the State lacked a funding base for the acquisition, maintenance, and upgrading of the technological infrastructure necessary for a distance learning system. During the 1996 legislative session, the Chancellor's Office convinced State legislators of the potential for distance learning to effectively respond to the needs of the private sector for a well trained work force. Recognizing the potential for distance learning for the State, the legislature agreed to provide an initial funding base in 1996 to the system.
The original base funding launched the design and implementation of the network infrastructure and the acquisition of video conference and satellite downlink equipment. Since 1996, funding for the Community Colleges Technology Infrastructure and Distance Learning initiative has grown 300%.
Below is a description of how the Chancellor's Office has used the potential for distance learning to greatly improve the quality of the community colleges educational environment.
The State legislature approved funding in the 1996-97 fiscal year for the connection of the 123 community college sites with the CSU network and for upgrading the new network's data capacity. The upgrades for the 4CNet backbone are associated with providing video conference and satellite services. The first complement of community college sites were installed on April 1, 1997. On December 15, 1997 the last of the community college sites were connected. The entire community college system was connected within nine months, three and half months ahead of schedule. The expanse of the 4CNet data backbone stretches from the College of the Siskiyous in Northern California to Southwestern College in Chula Vista, a few miles from the California-Mexico border.
Video Conference Network
The community colleges have purchased over 130 video conferencing units to date. As colleges are connected, they have begun to utilize video conferencing technology for numerous activities such as faculty and staff development, administrative meetings, as well as for distance learning.
The Chancellor's Office has established a web site to support the California Community College Video Transport Network. The web site will include a video directory of the current 123 community college video sites, listserves and chat rooms for technical support as well as end user support, and links to PictureTel in San Francisco for scheduling use of the California Community College Video Transport Network Video Bridge.
Currently 4CNet is coordinating the development of a digital satellite uplink site which will allow the 123 community college sites to offer turn-key satellite services to distribute educational video programming from community college campuses to anywhere in the continental United States. The 4CNet digital satellite uplink will function on a MPEG-2 digital video platform.
California Community Colleges Online Network for Education (@O.N.E.)
Technology Model Applications Pilot Projects (TMAPP)
These projects are testing the feasibility of varying applications utilizing technology specially designed to prepare students for college-level work and enhance the system's commitment in meeting the educational needs in the community colleges.
Library Initiatives and Electronic Resources
A coordinated leveraging of the system's size has been an important factor in achieving the best prices and producing the savings in all of the above initiatives.