Palomar Gets $8.5 Million Broadcast Grant
SAN MARCOS - Palomar College has been awarded an $8.5 million state grant for a program that will enable community college students statewide to earn credit while watching classes broadcast from its San Marcos campus.
Palomar President George Boggs said that it is the largest grant the college has ever received for a single project.
"I think it reflects well on the college that we were selected from all community colleges to be the host," Boggs said.
The college will receive $500,000 this fiscal year and $2 million annually for the following four years, according to Palomar's TV College coordinator Marlene DeLeon.
Sherry Hargraves, the educational television manager who wrote the grant application with other staff members, said a 9-foot-wide satellite dish should be in place on the San Marcos campus by May 31 2000.
At that time, she said, Palomar will kick off its first year of satellite broadcasts by beaming taped classes to the other 105 community colleges throughout the state.
Students enrolled at those colleges will register for the classes, which will be available on tape or live in their classrooms, Hargraves said.
By 2002, the plan calls the launch of another channel that will go directly to homes throughout the state, she said.
"We'll start from the ground up to create a network delivery system, ideally to every home to every Californian," Hargraves said
In a scenario that could be called educational pay-per-view, Hargraves envisions a viewer surfing the channels and stumbling upon an interesting lecture, and then picking up the phone and registering for a class.
The channel will be like Discovery, CNN, or any of the other cable stations that are broadcast by satellite, but Hargraves said, its too early to tell what its name will be.
"We don't know the name yet, but that's definitely the visionto be able to bring distance learning to every Californian in the state," she said.
Distance learning, or taking classes through the Internet or by television, is not new at the college
"At Palomar, we've done it for 24 years," Hargraves said. "Thats why we thought we definitely were qualified to do it"
Hargraves said about 3,000 Palomar students register in about 30 distance learning courses each year. Those students must live in North County to receive the local station on Cox Cable or Daniels CableVision, although they also can check out videotapes of the class from the school library.
Starting in 2002, students throughout the state will receive that same at-home convenience when the new statewide satellite channel starts operating.
Ultimately, the channel could run for 24 hours and feature lecturers from classrooms taped in community colleges throughout the state, Hargraves said
Students still would register at their local community colleges to get class credit and, presumably, would tape the class to watch at the tune most convenient for them, she said.
The televised classes would not be totally impersonal and would not take the place of actual professors, she said. Each community college would provide a faculty member to lead a set number of seminars, either on campus or through interactive sessions on the Internet.
The grant came from the Educational Services and Economical Development Division of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's office. Hargraves said after the grant expires in five years, the program should be self-sufficient
Palomar will buy time on orbiting satellites to bounce the signals it will broadcast from San Marcos, Hargraves said. The college likely will form a consortium with other school districts and colleges to pay for the satellite time, she said.
Palomar learned it was the state's first choice fur the grant on Tuesday.