Media Milestones at USD

1952 - The University of San Diego began as the small College for Women with a faculty of five professors from the order of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, teaching 50 students in unfinished buildings on the top of a mesa above San Diego's Mission Valley. According to Iris Engstrand's history, "The first twenty years of USD's existence saw the creation of a solid foundation and steady growth. The liberal arts colleges for women and men, the seminary and the Law School were firmly established and making their influence felt in San Diego. The University had maintained the integrity of its architecture and become a familiar landmark on the hill. The next twenty years, however, would witness a change in philosophy and direction as plans for merger and modernization took place." Dr. Author E. Hughes became president in 1971 and completed the merger of the men's and women's colleges into a unified coeducational liberal arts university by 1972. With the help of Provost Sister Sally Furay, Dr. Hughes guided a program of expansion and modernization that included Copley Library in 1973, Law Library in 1976, a School of Nursing, new housing and classroom facilities. It also included several milestones in instructional technology.

The Media Center

Villa Montezuma video clip
Gaslamp video clip
1977 - A federal grant of $40,000 was used to create the Media Center. This grant provided for the purchase of equipment that would assist faculty and student multimedia production, indcluding 35mm cameras, slide mounts and press, darkroom equipment, overhead projectors. With this basic production equipment it now became possible for faculty to produce their own media for classroom use, make their own slides and overhead transparencies. Some of the projects that resulted include "Old Town - Past, Present and Future," a 20-minute slide/tape documentary of Old Town San Diego, co-produced by Steven Schoenherr and Iris Engstrand, presented at the annual meeting of the Western History Association, San Diego, 1979, and "The Spirit of All of Us," a 32-minute slide/tape documentary on the Villa Montezuma Victorian mansion in San Diego, its builder Jesse Shephard and the Golden Hill neighborhood, co-produced by Steven Schoenherr and Iris Engstrand, presented at the annual meeting of the Congress of History, San Diego, 1982.


1978 - The same modernization program at USD that produced the Media Center also created the Academic Computing center. Following the recommendation of a Task Force on Academic Computing May 24, Provost Sally Furay approved the creation of a permanent Committee on Academic Computing with authority to hire a Director and staff and purchase equipment. Dr. Jack Pope became Director of Academic Computing in 1982 and led an expansion program that created a campus-wide network, student computer labs, library automation, and a computer science major.


Gaslamp video clip
1978 - David Tiedemann was hired as the first Director of the Media Center. One of his areas of research was the application of videotape and videodisc technology to classroom curricula. At this time, educational video was limited to the 3/4-inch U-Matic format that Sony had introduced in 1969, but a revolution was just beginning that would dramatically expand the use of videotape in schools and homes. Sony began sales of the Betamax home VCR in 1975, JVC began the VHS format in 1976, and Pioneer began the Laserdisc in 1978. The "Betamax Wars" would eventually be won by the VHS format, but the USD Media Center provided use of all formats. David encouraged faculty to use these formats in the classroom and for the production of instructional materials. Dr. Schoenherr use the U-Matic cameras and recorders to teach students documentary production. In 1980 he and his students produced "The City Rediscovered," a 20-minute videotape documentary on the history and restoration of the Gaslamp area of San Diego, funded by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities, and broadcast March 21, 1981, on KPBS-TV in San Diego. In 1986 David completed his doctoral dissertation at USD on "Media Services in Higher Education: A Delphi Study for the 1990s" that concluded computer networking and videodisc were the most important instructional technologies for the future.

Desktop Publishing

Pagemaker 1.0 came on a diskette
photo from Pagemaker history
1985 - Apple introduced the Laserwriter printer for $7000, and when combined with the Macintosh desktop computer, the Adobe Postscript page description language, and the Aldus Pagemaker page layout software, created a revolution in publishing. It now became possible to produce high-quality graphics and text on a personal computer. Ray Brandes in 1986 purchased the first Laserwriter system on campus for the Graduate Studies Department, and demonstrated its power to a host of curious faculty.


1987 - Bill Atkinson of Apple Computers created a software program called HyperCard that was bundled free with all Macintosh computers. This program for the first time made hypertext popular and useable to a wide number of people. Ted Nelson coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1965 based on the pre-computer ideas of Vannevar Bush published in his "As We May Think" article in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.
Bart Thurber in the Multimedia Lab 1993 - bg
According to Nelson, hypertext meant nonsequential writing, or "text that branches and allows choice to the reader, best read at an interactive screen." The key idea was interactivity. Hypercard and the personal computer allowed instant and random access to text and data, giving teachers a powerful new tool and giving students a new way to learn. Dr. Barton Thurber led a team at USD in 1989 to develop the "Warsaw 1939" computer program using the NewBook Editor developed by Thor Brickman, and released in 1990 on two floppy disks for the Macintosh computer.


1988 - CERFnet (California Education and Research Federation network) was founded by Susan Estrada from the San Diego Supercomputer Center as part of the national computer network that began in 1969 with ARPANET. Only a few large research instituions belonged to this network until standards and software were developed. The network added email and telnet after 1972, UUCP in 1976. The TCP/IP protocal that began on Jan. 1, 1983 was a major stimulus to expansion. The number of host connections grew from 1000 in 1984 to 10,000 in 1987. The formation of NSFNET in 1986 anchored by five supercomputer centers opened the network door for many universities. USD made its first connection to this network using UUCP in 1986, and joined CERFnet in 1988.

History web page 6/95
1991 - World-Wide Web (WWW) was developed by Tim Berners-Lee and released by CERN. However, using this new Web was difficult until 1993 when Mosaic 1.0 became the first popular web browser, causing an explosive growth in traffic and annual rate of 341,634% and growth in Gopher traffic at a 997% rate. The Ethics Updates web page was created by Dr. Larry Hinman in 1994. The Department of History web site went online in December 1994, and the first student-produced web pages for the World War II seminar were made in the Spring 1995 semester. See list of student projects made in Dr. Schienherr's classes.

The Digital Revolution

1993 - Dr. Jack Pope opened the Multimedia Lab in Serra 169. The purpose of this Lab was to provide computers and technical assistance to faculty working on digital projects. Dr. Pope donated his Macintosh II computer to become the first digital video editing work station on campus, using a Radius Videovision card and software. An H-P ScanJet IIc flatbed scanner was used to digitize photos and documents. An Apple Quicktake 150 digital camera captured 24 color images 640 x 480 pixels and transferred them to computer with a serial cable. Files were stored on Bernoulli removable 150 MB cartridges. Macromedia Director 3 software was used to make digital presentations such as the Joshua Tree project (1993 report) and Virtus 3D software (later InfiniD) was used to make 3D models for the Old Town San Diego project. In December 1994, Dr. Schoenherr used grant funds to install in the lab the first Compact Disk recorder on campus, a Philips CDD521 (box the size of a small suitcase) at $3735 with OMI QuickTOPIX software at $1530 to record 650 MB at single-speed (one hour record time) on Maxell blank CDs at $15 each. In May 1995 Dr. Schoenherr used grant funds of $2495 to add a Polaroid SprintScan slide scanner to the lab.


revised 8/29/03 by Schoenherr