Van Bridgeman: Appointed to Board of Directors of National Distance Learning Association
Van Bridgeman, assistant director and senior producer for the Center for Mediated Instruction and Distance Learning (MIDL)
at California State University, Dominguez Hills, was appointed to a second three-year term on the board of directors of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) during the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.
Bridgeman most recently served as senior vice president of the organization, and helped organize distance learning consortia throughout the U.S. and educational stakeholders in USDLA’s western region to develop and execute interstate project collaborations in distance learning. From 2002 to 2008, he served as president and state representative for USDLA’s California chapter.
A member of USDLA since 1999, Bridgeman says that the organization’s goals are an important consideration as CSU Dominguez Hills continues to build a worldwide reputation for providing access and quality to academic opportunities. The university was chosen to serve as the western regional hub for National Distance Learning Week in November this year. During this national celebration, the university was recognized as a leader in educational innovation with many of its interactive distance learning courses featured with those of other organizations and corporations throughout the country.
MIDL broadcasts DHTV, the television and broadband program service of CSU Dominguez Hills, which reaches approximately 3 million viewers in Southern California. University courses can be seen by students and the general public on cable television, the Internet and elsewhere throughout the state via transmission on video networks managed by the state of California.
“Record numbers of people are trying to go to school and work and trying to find affordable options,” he says. “We’re talking about people who are going to change jobs numerous times in their lifetime, people who have to be retrained in the jobs that they have and people who want to find new jobs.”
Bridgeman says the best part of his job at CSU Dominguez Hills is helping faculty members find new ways of “illustrating” their lectures so that when viewed on television or the Internet, students can appreciate the content discussed in each lecture and educational objectives are easily achieved.
In addition, each semester he works with five to six student assistants who help the MIDL staff with duties such as preparation of graphics and video segments for the 25 hours of live, interactive broadcasts that take place each week during the semester. Because some of the programs are seen by 100,000 viewers at a time, a professional environment is maintained at all times, one that provides the students with not only a “real world” media production experience, but also a realistic look at what will be expected of them in the workforce as part of a production crew.
“On occasions where we’ve had members of our team become ill, they [the students] knew instinctively what to do to cover all the bases to make sure nothing ‘falls between the cracks’” he says. “We don’t just hire communications majors to be student assistants—we want the smartest students we can find.”
Bridgeman’s on-the-job experience began at the age of 14, when he sold advertising time on local radio stations to businesses in Long Island, NY and worked as an on-air DJ and news reporter. He has also worked in the theater as a stage manager and featured performer, appearing in regional touring companies of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hello Dolly,” “Applause,” and “Man of La Mancha.”
Bridgeman entered the workforce as an adult at the advent of cable and satellite television and for many years worked in New York to develop key business and operational units for new media networks, which are basic parts of the communications matrix today. He says that he was able to apply his accumulated knowledge during distance education’s infancy while a lecturer at Fullerton Junior College and Rio Hondo College.
Bridgeman says the use of distance learning to provide education with a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week availability has made it ideal for today’s college student – or “learner,” as he would prefer to say.
“I’m proud to be of service in providing access to knowledge in the ‘available anytime, anywhere’ format that the Center for Mediated Instruction and Distance Learning at Dominguez Hills is known for around the world.”
In addition to his involvement in USDLA Bridgeman is currently active with the California Educational Technology Collaborative, an organization that provides community colleges throughout the state with services to facilitate online learning.
For more information about distance learning and the College of Extended and International Education, click here.
- Joanie Harmon