19 Oklahoma Counties to Join Satellite Downlink Network / through New Statewide Teleconferencing

Article excerpt

STILLWATER - Oklahoma County is one of 19 Oklahoma counties targeted to receive satellite "downlink" equipment as Oklahoma State University establishes a satellite-based network that will place educational programming within reach of all state citizens.

OSU President Lawrence Boger said the OSU Statewide Teleconferencing Network will be established using an $874,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Grant monies will pay for satellite receiving dishes or "downlinks" to be strategically located throughout Oklahoma, Boger said.

The grant will also provide funding for equipment upgrading at OSU's Telecommunications Center as well as personnel and program development. Boger said receiving sites were chosen so that everyone in the state would have access to programming either in his home county or a neighboring one.

In addition, most of the downlinks will be mounted on special trailers to allow movement to different locations such as libraries, fairgrounds or public buildings, Boger said.

The network will be operated by OSU's Cooperative Extension Service and offer programs primarily for agricultural or rural audiences, however university officials see a spinoff effect that will benefit non-agricultural faculty and staff.

J.O. Grantham, OSU's director of University Extension, says a portion of the grant is to be used for program development. Of 51 planned programs, 20 will test various methods of delivering information to audiences.

These experimental programs will include traditional teleconferences, multi-day teleconferences, teleconferences concentrating on home delivery, correspondence courses and other delivery methods.

Programs will originate from OSU's $6 million Telecommunications Center.

Marshall Allen head of OSU's Educational Television Services, says the center contains the most modern equipment available and is one of very few in the nation to possess its own uplink and its ownfrequency. The quality of the center and OSU's teleconferencing record to date were instrumental in obtaining the Kellogg grant, he added.

"With what we've already done in the teleconferencing area and the Kellogg grant, we are light years ahead of every other university in the nation," said Allen, one of a three-person management team that will oversee the Kellogg project.

Other team members include Grantham and Dr. Roy T. Bogle, OSU's Associate director of Cooperative Extension.

Bogle said initial program topics will focus on production, management, marketing and financial planning for farmers and ranchers. …