Dr. Beryl L. Bellman
Calif State Univ at Los Angeles
5151 State Univ Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032 USA
v: (213) 343-4262
f: (310) 450-4407
Education, higher; Education, continuing or distance ; Research, academic; Economic development; Library
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Creation of new ideas, products, or services; Technology transfer; Local commitment to network-based activities; Leverage of public funding; Volunteer contributions of time and energy; Partnerships between public and private sector
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Software; Documentation; Other
A PROFILE OF BESTNET
Beryl Bellman, Ph.D.
Department of Communication Studies
California State University at Los Angeles
BESTNET is an acronym for the Binational English and Spanish Telecommunications Network and was established in 1985. It is a distributed DECNET network of VAX computers interconnected over the Internet with gateways to various other public data networks. BESTNET is active at California State University at Los Angeles, California State University at Sonoma, California State University at Dominguez Hills, San Diego State University and the Imperial Valley Campus of SDSU, the University of California at Irvine, University of New Mexico, Texas A&M University and Arizona State University in the United States with a number of universities, university systems and research institutes in Mexico – including CETYS – the Centro de Ensenanza Tecnica y Superiores in Tijuana, the Instituto Tecnologico in Mexicali and systemwide, Collego de la Fronteria and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. BESTNET established two Internet nodes in Mexico, which have gateways to Telepak, the Mexican public data network. In this manner other Mexican universities and users are able to connect to the nodes and participate in a variety of Internet services in addition to those on the BESTNET network itself. In a like manner the network is also connected to faculty and programs in Africa, Canada and Europe.
BESTNET involves collaborative work through teaching and research over the network between member institutions, and includes programs in speech communications, broadcasting, journalism, telecommunications, computer science, electrical engineering, international business, accounting, anthropology, economics, sociology, psychology, history, literature and chicano studies. Faculty at each institution teach sections and/or discussion groups from their courses, and have students interact with others at different universities. In this manner students interact with each other and other participating faculty across institutions as a regular part of each class. In addition the faculty use the network for collaborative research projects, using the medium as a mechanism for accomplishing computer communications supportive collaborative research and work.
BESTNET originally involved our production of a series of Spanish language/English transition distance education video courses, which we made interactive using computer conferencing in the sciences, mathematics and computer/information fields. In our evaluation of the project we learned that students were particularly responsive to the computer conferencing interactions and did not need as much presentation of formal lecture materials in video lectures as we originally designed. As a result we began to rely more heavily on the computer conferencing interactions for both the presentation and discussion of materials, and use video and other materials to supplement or present data for those discussions. Because, we found conferencing to be so effective that it could be used as the dominant and/or stand alone form of course delivery, we explored various applications of computer conferencing for a range of different kinds of courses.
We are now involved with three kinds of computer communications delivered courses. There are those in which students do not see the instructor but communicate with him/her in computer conferences or virtual classrooms, synchronous on- line office hours utilizing the computer phone or chat utility and in private electronic mail messages. Secondly, are courses in which faculty prepared video supplementary materials and/or make video formal lecture presentations to complement the discussions in computer conferences. Thirdly, are courses in which the faculty conducts part of the course on-line and also has some face-to-face interaction with the class. These latter involve collaborative or team taught courses among several institutions, where students participate on-line with faculty and students on other campuses, and as an elected option of a local faculty member in offering a section of a course on his/her campus.
BESTNET has cited before the California State Legislature by the California Post Secondary Education Commission as one of the most innovative educational projects in the State, and has been the subject of a number of national publications that have described the success and potential of the program. These publications include the Chronicle of Higher Education, Hispanic Times, Learning and Technology Newsletter, Grants Magazine: Journal of Sponsored Research Programs, University of California MEXUS News, California State University Stateline and in various local news stories in the areas served by our various member institutions. In addition, BESTNET research has been the subject of numerous journal articles and book chapters, and presentations at various post secondary educational associations, including EDUCOM, the American Association of Higher Education, Americand night the 24th will work possibly.. again depends on the trip next week… such a life!!
So let me see if I can pin down the travel for next week and then we can firm up a time/day..