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SHSU, Southwest Texas
Receive Technology Grant

Sam Houston State University, in collaboration with Southwest Texas State University, was recently awarded a highly competitive grant in the amount of $623,696 from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) Board, a Texas State agency.

The funded project will focus on interactive multimedia communications, real-time, two-way voice, video, and data communications dispersed over networks liking geographically dispersed locations.

The project will evaluate and explore the reliability and quality of classroom-to-classroom, desktop-to-desktop, and classroom-to-desktop conferences. The grant will demonstrate that Interactive TV can, or cannot, be sent over the regular Internet.

James Stevens
James Stevens

James Stevens, associate vice president for information resources at SHSU, said private lines are currently used to connect distance education classrooms. As a result of the grant, a convergent network will be set up to include Southwest Texas State's main campus, the Multi-Institutional Teaching Center (MITC) in Round Rock, Sam Houston State University, and the University Center in The Woodlands.

Classrooms will be equipped in each of the four locations, Stevens said.

Stevens said Sam Houston State will also benefit from the project by retaining all of the Interactive TV equipment the grant will provide.

"I am pleased that SHSU has the opportunity to plug some holes in experience and ability to manage Interactive TV, and to gain the use of a substantial amount of state of the art ITV equipment," Stevens said. "Certainly, it will be a pleasure to work with our friends at Southwest Texas."

Sam Houston State and Southwest Texas, by purchasing new technologies with TIF funds and integrating them into offered courses and schedules, hope to extend the range of teaching functions, increase the quality of learning, lower costs, and provide the ability for more student control and greater content interactivity.

With progress, a goal is to enable faculty and students to access information and communicate with each other using videoconferencing at any time, any place.

"TIF is glad to support this collaborative between Southwest Texas and Sam Houston," said Sam Tessen, the Executive Director of TIF. "They are working towards a beneficial goal to deploy technologies that will assist both teachers and students reduce the transactional distance in educational communications, no matter what the actual geographic distance may be."

TIF, since its creation by the 74th Legislature in 1995, has awarded approximately $684 million in grants to its four constituent groups -- public schools, libraries, institutions of higher education, and public, not-for-profit healthcare facilities.

The agency receives approximately $150 million per year in revenues from telecommunications assessments to disburse over a 10-year period.

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SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
June 12, 2001
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