Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- November 06, 2002

BESTNET Project at Cal State L.A. Makes Education History

BESTNET (Binational English and Spanish Telecommunications Network)—a distance education project co-founded by Beryl Bellman, professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and Armando Arias, professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSU Monterey Bay—funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) for six years and housed on the Cal State L.A. campus, was named one of the major projects in the history of FIPSE by the American Association for Higher Education’s Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (vol.34, no.5, 2002).

BESTNET pioneered distributed (distance) learning and collaborative research between academic and research institutions in the USA and Mexico and had a major impact on propagating the Internet at Mexican institutions. Original funding for BESTNET came from the External Research Organization of the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for nearly $1 million and two consecutive FIPSE grants for a total of approximately $800,000. Early in the project, DEC announced in several of its news releases that BESTNET was its most successful project for the company’s External Research Organization.

Cal State L.A.’s Professor Bellman, who received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine, is a specialist in computer networks, Internet, human-machine interaction, computer mediated/interaction, enterprise design and development, computer conferencing systems, and policy-telecommunications. His expertise also includes intercultural communication, and formal and non-formal education and teaching.

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) is a unit of the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation, and is contained within the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. Its mandate is to “improve postsecondary educational opportunities” across a broad range of concerns. FIPSE provides grants to colleges and universities to promote reform, innovation and improvement in postsecondary education.

Well known and respected as an opinion magazine dealing with contemporary issues in higher learning, the award-winning Change spotlights trends, provides new insights, and analyzes the implications of educational programs. Articles cover influential institutions and individuals, new teaching methods, curriculum, finances, governance, and public policy. Change is published six times a year under the editorial leadership of the American Association for Higher Education.

Contact: Carol Selkin, director, Media Relations (323) 343-3044

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