CCCSAT Network Blasts Off
Palomar College recently launched the California Community College Satellite Network (CCCSAT) Broadcast Center with an in-studio kickoff.
The event celebrated the award of an $8.5 million state grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office (CCCCO) to the college that established the CCCSAT Network. The network will link distance learning programs at all 106 California community college campuses, said Sherilyn Hargraves, Palomar College's ETV manager and new CCCSAT project manager.
Palomar has been pioneering distance learning since 1975 with its Educational Television (ETV) department, providing classes delivered via cable-access television and home videos that students can check out.
The CCCSAT Network will eventually utilize a full range of new digital technologies such as the Internet, two-way video, and the 4CNet network.
The CCCSAT Network's mission will also be unique because the California Community Colleges will have the opportunity to confer credit, degrees, and certification via the satellite network to distance learning students. The system could reach a new range of students previously limited by time or distance.
The distance-learning component of community college education has until recently been held by law to an instruction component.
"Shoot for the stars! And bring educational programs to all of the people," said Ralph Meuter, Dean for Regional & Continuing Education of California State University, Chico.
That far-reaching potential was demonstrated by the guests at the recent Palomar College celebration, whose ranks included representatives of the local faculty, members of the education community from around the state, along with business, local, and federal government leaders.
Representatives of the University of California, San Diego, California State University, Chico, Saddleback College, San Bernardino College, and Miramar College were on hand. Representing the Chancellor's Office were officials LeBaron Woodyard, Catherine McKenzie, and Charles Mawson.
Jim Ritchey of Congressman Duke Cunningham's office attended the event along with Mayor of San Marcos, Corky Smith, and San Marcos City Council members Hal Martin and Mark Rozmus.
A number of businesses helped support the event including Sony, Palomar Mountain Spring Water, Philips, O'Mara Communications, Miralite Communications, Dell Computer.Corp., University Access, and Televideo.
The support of business and government is important, said Hargraves, because the CCCSAT Network is designed to be self-funding at the end of its initial five-year grant phase.
Evidence of the seeds of the business community's participation in the CCCSAT program was on display during the kickoff. The celebration included a demonstration of Sony's new digital high definition television system along with Philips flat screen technology.
The kickoff was successful in raising the awareness of the CCCSAT project and its personnel. Key influencers were brought together to join CCCSAT in the common objective of providing access, affordability, customer focus, and performance to the distance learning student. All of this will become reality on the wireless highway.