Nebraska Department of Education

  • Rule 10 - Multi-site and Distance Learning Options for Providing High School Courses
    • Title 92 - Chapter 10 004.04D
  • Rule 89 - Distance Education Equipment Reimbursement and Incentives

Consortium History

In 1994 and 1997, schools from central Nebraska met to do a need assessment to guide and inform for the development of an “area virtual campus”. Through this assessment, interested schools from ESU 7, 10, and 11 applied for financial support through the Nebraska Lottery Grant (Excellence in Education) to provide funding for equipment and engineering of the system.

Consortium Demographics

The virtual campus provides full-motion, two-way, interactive audio/video connectivity to member schools in Central Nebraska. Project partners include ESUCC, ESU 10, and the Central Community College system. The region is predominately an agriculture-based rural area with three medium-sized urban areas. The interactive video network system provides a way for the school districts to combine resources and pool students who are interested in classes that normally could not be offered.

Consortium Goals

Consortium members view distance education as a way to:

  • enhance learning opportunities
  • invigorate current curricular programs
  • increase educational opportunities for adult members of the community
  • further involve Nebraska citizens in their schools.


Change Description

  • 1992: Sandhills Technology Education Project (STEP) was built to deliver classes between schools in the Sandhills region.
  • 1998: An Excellence in Education lottery grant was approved providing funding to develop the Tri-Valley Distance Education Consortium in 30 schools in ESU 7, 10, and 11. In the fall of 1999, 21 ESU 10-11 schools began transmitting two-way interactive video classes over an analog system.
  • 1999: A second Education in Excellence grant award added SEM and Amherst schools to the TVDEC south system. Funds also provided for a VOIP system to support faxing and phone communication.
  • 2000: In the fall of 2000, 5 ESU 10 (Greeley County Schools) and 6 ESU 7 schools began transmitting classes over a DS3 Qwest based JPEG system. Monthly charges pre-erate was $1,292 per month.
  • 2001: Approved funding to upgrade of 9 Sandhills (STEP Project) video conference systems from Analog to MPEG4.
  • 2002: Legislative funding enabled Litchfield schools to join the analog network.
  • 2003: SNDLC approached TVDEC South to convert the existing analog network to an IP network. SNDLC funds plus an additional $3,000 per TVDEC south member updated the existing network to an IP based system. The computer-based powerplay system was supported by Dark Fiber Solutions.
  • 2003: With the new IP system, the TVDEC south contract was re-negotiated. The bandwidth was increased to 100 MB with a video gateway to SNDLC. Monthly charges are now pre-erate $1,570 per month.
  • 2003: Legislative funding enabled St. Paul schools to join the digital IP network.
  • 2004: Legislative funding enabled Lexington schools to join the digital IP network.
  • 2006: LB 1208 was passed which consolidated distance learning services from a consortium supported system to an ESU supported program. Members of the TVDEC consortium and the Sandhills (STEPS) system selected ESU 10 as the distance learning service provider.
  • 2006: ESU 7 schools elected to partner with ESU 7 for distance education services. (Cedar Rapids, Clarks, Fullerton, Palmer, St. Edward, Twin Rivers)
  • 2006: On behalf of the distance education members, ESU 10 submitted a USDA grant application ($386,000 grant and $680,000 match) to purchase codec technology, carts, monitors, network upgrades (routers/switches), and an MCU bridge.
  • 2006: With carryover funds from the TVDEC consortium and STEPS schools ($1,000 per school), a control system was purchased to assist in codec upgrades, scheduling, and monitoring. Annual maintenance for control licenses is $50 per license.
  • 2008: Using USDA grant funds, ESU 10 ordered 41 Lifesize codecs for TVDEC schools. An additional 11 Lifesize codecs were purchased by TVDEC schools wishing a second codec.
  • 2008: In the summer of 2008, all Tri-Valley schools attended a two-day in-service on Lifesize setup.
  • 2008: Re-negotiated Qwest contract for 5 Greeley County sites to a 45 MB individual circuits. (Pre-erate of
  • 2008: Re-negotiated NCTC contract for 9 Sandhills schools for 100 MB individual circuits. (Pre-erate of $2,262 per month)
  • 2008: Angel LMS licenses were purchased to assist distance learning teachers in providing a digital connection to remote based students.
  • 2009: In the spring of 2009, ESU 10/11 schools applied and received $295,000 in distance education incentive funds for sending and/or receiving videoconference classes.
  • 2009: ESU 10 purchased a RadVision bridge. Other Nebraska ESUs elected to purchase a 3-year extended service warranty for the bridge for the rights to use the bridge for statewide and ESU meeting connections.
  • 2009: Supported by LB1208 funds, Wood River Public Schools added distance education services.
  • 2010: On behalf of the ESU 10/11 Distance Learning network, ESU 10 submitted a USDA grant application ($494,011 grant and $378,000 match) to purchase codec technology, carts, monitors, and a video streaming and recording center.
  • 2010: In the spring of 2010, ESU 10/11 schools applied and received $457,000 in distance education incentive funds for sending and/or receiving videoconference classes.
  • 2010: Supported by LB1208 funds, GI Northwest added distance education services.
  • 2011: Current VC technology – 194 Total Codecs (186 Lifesize – 8 Polycom), Video Center Recording/Streaming Server, Lifesize Control Management System to Scheduled and Upgrade Codecs, 2 RadVision Bridges.
  • 2012: Incentive Dollars earned by ESU 10 and ESU 11 schools from 2011-12 school year total $495,000
  • 2011: Three year extended warranty on Lifesize technology expires in February of 2011.
  • 2012: Grand Island Public Schools joins TVDEC. Total schools 41 and ESU 10 and ESU 11.
  • 2014: USDA Grant Application and Approval
  • 2015: ESU 10/11 TVDEC Dissolution - each ESU their own DL consortium
  • 2016: Transition of codec and desktop IVC to Zoom
  • 2017: USDA Grant Finalized