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Memories of SSU

Mark Anderson

Student and Staff, 1969-2004
Member of the Athletic Advisory Committee

Chuck Rhinehart was the first Director of Media Services. Harold Skinner became the permanent director. It was first located in what had been a grocery store on Southwest Boulevard and was called the Audio Visual Department. That building now houses the “49er Pet Store.”

Media Services was a stand-alone department, consisting at its peak, of the following staff positions: director, assistant director, department secretary, photographer, media production specialist, 3 equipment technicians, a film coordinator, media distribution manager, media circulation coordinator, and a host of student assistants. Phil Peterson and I were both “temporary” for several years, much the same as faculty were before attaining permanent employment status 

Media Services was always considered a forward-looking and innovative department in higher education circles, and there were numerous visits from similar departments to see what we were doing and how we did it.

As far as I know, Media Services was the first in the CSU or UC systems to permanently install a wide array of equipment in classrooms and lecture halls. Our “media modules” was a concept widely embraced as a good strategy. These “modules” were basically a box, designed and built in-house, and mounted on a table in the back of the classroom. Each module consisted of a 16mm film projector, carousel slide projector, cassette tape recorder/player and LP turntable.

The installation of the Electronic Distribution System, "EDS" for short, was very innovative in its time. With this system, an instructor or anyone else who needed it, could have a program played from Media Services to the permanent TV in the classroom. The classroom phone could also be used to contact us in case of technical difficulty. Just as an aside, the phone, which had no dial but rang in Media Services when picked up in the classroom, was used to make emergency calls on several occasions in the era before cell phones.

SSU faculty, staff, and students had access to the internet in the 1980s, primarily for research and collaborative projects. Sonoma State was connected to all CSU campuses and other computer networks that provided students and employees access to e-mail and the internet. But network computing and communication remained primarily the realm of SSU “geeks” until 1993 when the World Wide Web was born. Since that time, traffic on the Web has exploded.

The installation of permanent computer and data projection systems in classrooms was warmly supported by an administration that recognized the importance this technology would play in modern day instructional activities. We can’t take credit for the distance learning classroom. It was initially funded and mandated to each CSU campus simultaneously.