Campus: CSU, Chico -- October 19, 1999

California State University, Chico Celebrates 25 Years In Distance Education

California State University, Chico, nationally recognized as a pioneer in the delivery of courses to students in remote locations, announced today its 25th anniversary of distance education.

CSU, Chico was the first university in the world to deliver a graduate degree program via satellite, and one of the first to demonstrate video-streaming as an educational delivery system.

Distance education began at CSU, Chico in 1975, when the university first broadcast computer science courses to the University of California, Davis as part of its Ph.D. program. With this initial link, CSU, Chico developed an extensive Instructional Television for Students (ITFS) microwave network linking educational, government and military facilities throughout Northern California.

After ascertaining the needs of higher education in rural Northern California, CSU, Chico established an extensive program to deliver university degrees to 16 learning centers in rural Northern California via the ITFS network. CSU, Chico has the largest service area in the CSU system, approximately the size of the state of Ohio. To better serve this distributed population, CSU, Chico continued to expand its live televised course offerings and increased the level of support to off-campus students.

"CSU, Chico is the anchor campus in the region and as a result we are challenged to deliver degree programs to the North State," said Manuel Esteban, president of CSU, Chico. "Through our California-based education network, we have met that challenge and are developing innovations that will enable CSU, Chico to meet student needs in the future."

Adding to the land-based ITFS network, the university installed a C-band satellite uplink on campus in 1984, and a Ku-band uplink was installed in 1986. CSU, Chico is still one of the few institutions in the United States that has both C- and Ku-band satellite uplink facilities located directly on campus.

In 1995, the ITFS network was expanded through the support of a Department of Commerce grant to equip 41 learning centers with digital satellite reception equipment. The new network was named CSUSAT (California State University Satellite System) to reflect the technological and service upgrades. To date, CSUSAT-CHICO has enrolled more than 15,000 students in off-campus courses and has offered 880 courses in 40 disciplines.

In addition to live programming to learning centers throughout California, CSU, Chico also offers bachelor's. and master's. degrees in computer science to corporate partners

throughout the United States. Started in 1984 with the Hewlett-Packard Co., the CSU, Chico computer science program has forged strong partnerships with more than 20 high-tech companies and has served more than 1,200 students at 40 corporate sites around the nation.

"We were the first university campus in the world to deliver a complete degree package at the graduate level, live via satellite in 1984," said Ralph Meuter, dean of the Center for Regional and Continuing Education.

An additional program now available to the corporate network is the Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Telecommunications, offered in conjunction with Telcordia, a recognized world leader in telecommunications services.

CSU, Chico is also known as a leader in the production and transmission of live, two-way video teleconferences. This allows faculty, staff and students access to regional, national and international audiences. Since 1985, CSU, Chico has produced and broadcast 94 live teleconferences and has provided downlink services for more than 1,700 programs and uplink bandwidth for the national news networks.

In 1996, CSU, Chico's education network expanded beyond the United States. In partnership with the Nevada-California Consortium of Universities and Colleges language school in Tokyo, Japan, and JSAT (Japan Satellite), CSU, Chico broadcasts live courses via two-way video to students in Tokyo, Japan. This exciting program provides students on both sides of the Pacific an opportunity to enhance their appreciation for different cultures.

CSU, Chico has continued to explore new technologies for distance education, and in 1995 the first on-line course was offered. In 1997, Chico State was one of the first universities in the world to demonstrate the use of video-streaming as a viable educational delivery system. In 1999, the campus was recognized as a New Media Center for its advanced educational production and transmission capabilities.

CSU, Chico continues to expand distance education offerings and is looking to develop innovative programs that will continue to serve the needs of students in the future.

In recognition of the anniversary, several special events are planned over the next 15 months. For more information, visit CSU, Chico's 25th Anniversary of Distance Education Web site at

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