Teaching from Cal State, San Bernardino will likely reach submarines in the North Atlantic, aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean and ultimately schools and businesses around the world, from legislation introduced by Congressman Jerry Lewis.
Provided with $5 million in federal seed money, the university, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, is launching the National Center for Excellence in Distance Learning to create a state-of-the-art learning center that will reach any part of the world via the World-Wide Web, wireless networks and digital television broadcasts by satellite.
The center will move Cal State into a leadership role as one of the few universities in the nation working with the U.S. Navy to provide distance education. The Navy has been a consistent leader in the military in developing advanced distance learning technology to train its sailors and civilian employees.
Initially employment-related programs will be offered at the center, though Cal State officials ultimately hope to provide courses for certificates and degrees, Cal State President Albert K. Karnig said.
"This center is not only a great technological leap forward for Cal State, our students, faculty and staff, but also for the future of the communities we serve, the state and nationally," Karnig said. "It will help move our university into a leading role in the use and adaptation of the changing technologies propelling education into the 21st Century."
The center's initial funding comes from an appropriation introduced by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. President Clinton signed the Defense Appropriation Act into law late Wednesday.
"Cal State, San Bernardino has already developed an expertise in distance learning through its outreach efforts to the high desert and Coachella Valley, and this grant will help expand its reach across the nation," said Lewis, a strong advocate of military uses of new technology. "The speed of technological change demands a new approach to continuing education for our military, and Cal State will be at the forefront in the creation of this virtual lifelong learning center."
Clifford Young, a Cal State professor of public administration, said, "The center's aim is to offer instruction in a way that allows employees to readily adapt to new technology as it is introduced.
Susan M. Cooper, Director of Distributed Learning at Cal State, says the center will develop a new prototype in learning. "It will be a shift from traditional education and training to life-long learning skills needed for employees to function properly as new technology emerges," Cooper said.
The federal funding will also give Cal State the ability to create a studio and development facility, satellite system and technology lab to develop video and software solutions for military and civilian personnel.
The facility will initially be operated out of existing buildings at the university, but Cal State officials hope to raise enough funding in the future for a new building to house the Center for Distance Learning.
The funding will help extend Cal State's service region of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The university is working with the San Bernardino County schools to offer classes at distance learning centers.
In addition, the university's partnerships with the 10 community colleges in the two counties will be enhanced. Cal State is also completing the first year of a U.S. Dept. of Education Title V Grant as a Hispanic Serving Institution. One of the grant's major goals is to create a distributed learning network connecting Cal State with the community colleges in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. This network is designed to improve student transfers from the colleges to the university and allow site-based CSUSB students to attend classes on the community college campuses.
The center's first year will be dedicated to the design and development of the learning model. Once the model is tested and curriculum developed, it will be first implemented with civilian employees of the Information Technology Center (ITC), affiliated with the U.S. Navy, based at the University of New Orleans.
Cal State and Navy officials then plan to expand the program to other branches of the military through the Department of Defense and ultimately make it available for schools and businesses around the country and world.
The partnership with the federal government is in keeping with the university's strategic plan. Cal State's goal is become a learning community that excels in creating, applying and exchanging knowledge; ensures a welcome and safe intellectual, social and physical environment that engages campus members in the life of the university; and adopts long-term strategies for university engagement in community partnerships.
For more information call Cal State, San Bernardino's Office of Public Affairs at (909) 880-5007 or e-mail Public Affairs Assistant Director Joe Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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