Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

1994

Abstract

BESTNET was established in the early 1980's, as an effort to link universities on both sides of the U.S.- Mexico border through microwave, satellite and cable television technologies. In the late 1980's BESTNET focused primarily on the development of asynchronous computer mediated learning and teaching in an internationally networked virtual environment. For the past six years (1990's) BESTNET has strengthened its binational ties and continued its "high tech" focus through the development of active or vibrant model technology which is assisting in the creation of an on-line binational university setting that is "borderless" (albeit, seamless to the user). Today, this type of design and linkage for curriculum, learning, teaching, research and performing collaborative scholarly work is called a "global virtual university". The design center for BESTNET is the vibrant global model based on METIS software. While the binational (U.S.-Mexico) design of BESTNET continues to flourish, new technologies are being continually assimilated into this highly adaptive project. Specifically, as we are able to combine the interests of a multitude of globally located campuses. We are also working towards a virtual project for higher education. Our operating, developmental premise has always been to redefine faculty, staff and student roles towards this purpose. BESTNET was created with the assistance of the founder of ARPANET a direct precursor to the Internet (even before the Internet was popularized) as a scholar's collaborative network, with the explicit charge of exploring alternative approaches to the structures, substance, and processes which have traditionally defined the scholarly work of institutions of higher education. We have continually demonstrated courage in tackling difficult, but essential, issues of "technological renewal." We are committed to developing educational programs which are especially responsive to both regional and global needs, student-centered, interdisciplinary in scope, and technologically innovative in nature. The tremendous success of the BESTNET paradigm is that we are not only "renewing," we are also "brandnewing" an ambitious global and virtual educational model that will yield improved educational outcomes (in both low- and high-tech) settings, within the financial resources of most academic institutions. We have especially developed positive outcomes in Africa, Latin America, the United States and Europe. Because we barter and share collectively our on line resources, we avoid the exchange of funds, academic credits and the multitude of bureaucracies that are associated with traditional institutional exchanges. In short, we create a virtual learning environment for the "world" evolving student to experience like never before. While other projects are undergoing transformation from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, BESTNET is successfully aligning to the global needs of the Cyber-Age, by design.

Comments

Presented at the Statewide Conference on the Advancement of Technology in Higher Education, California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), 1994.