The University of Hawaii at Hilo's (UH Hilo) Distance Learning classes commenced with an Accounting and Hawaiian Studies class being transmitted to the West Hawaii campus in June, 1990. Since that time, the number and variety of classes has grown at this site to include approximately sixteen classes from University of Hawaii at Manoa, eight from Hawaii Community College and eight from the UH Hilo campus. These thirty-two classes run an average of eighty hours per week. The Distance Learning Program is a part of the newly-created Office of Technology and Distance Learning and its operations include a Coordinator, Electronic Technician, and eight student operators.
Our Distance Learning facility presently includes three dedicated classrooms with a total of 3,600 square feet. A fourth classroom will be added in 2002 which will add another 1,000 square feet. The new classroom/office building which will open during the Fall of 2002 will add two more classrooms and a control room to our inventory. We will also have the option of wiring up four more classrooms in the same tower as the need arises. As the UH Hilo expands its program offerings throughout the state and the Pacific Basin, it will be prepared for these challenges with the largest number of dedicated rooms of any campus in the university system.
The UH Hilo Distance Learning system is connected via digital video to the the Hawaii Interactive Television System (HITS) which is centered at the main campus on Oahu. We are also partnered with the State Telehealth Access Network (STAN) and across the Pacific via the PEACESAT satellite system which has over twenty-five member sites across the Pacific Basin. These major networks provide the UH Hilo with a broad range of connections to some very remote sites, all major hospitals, cable-access television, all of the university's campuses, and the Department of Education. Our C-band satellite downlink capabilitiy also provides much needed seminars and workshops for our campus and other state and county agencies.
There are several bachelor's degree programs currently being offered on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. These are the Computer Science, Marine Science, English, and the Bachelor's of Science in Nursing to be offered in 2002. These programs represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg and the UH Hilo Distance Learning program will probably make bigger strides during its second decade of operations. The digital system upgrades to be completed in 2001 should provide much-needed opportunities to provide spaces for new program offerings in the near future.