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January 1 - March 31, 1997

The content contained within the Research section of the site is for archival purposes, and may or may not be current.

Achievements and Milestones

The first in a series of monthly half-hour live online chats with the Town Manager of Blacksburg was launched on January 21st. Several participants `spoke' with theTown Manager, Mr. Ron Secrist, about concerns, ideas, and questions. No special skills or software is required, just a forms-capable web browser. Archives of the chats are available at Live chats with the Town manager were also held on February 18 and March 17. Future chats are scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month.

BEV Quick Classes: Jonathan Southard, BEV Office Technical Consultant, taught a series of brief, basic e-mail and WWW classes offered at the Virginia Tech (VT) Museum of Natural History; a total of 20 persons attended five E-mail classes; a total of 12 persons attended two WWW classes. Jonathan also conducted local training needs analysis via an online survey.

The Town of Blacksburg hosted twelve (12) Internet training classes for senior citizens attended by 80 people.

The Cardiac HealthWeb, a health informatics site on BEV, went online on February 14, as a public service of the BEV with partial support from an educational grant from Merck & Company. The site has received over 40,000 "hits" with over 200 questions submitted to the "Ask the Cardiologist" section.

School children touring the Wild Beauty exhibit at the VT Museum of Natural History have used BEV computers to find information about endangered wildflowers on the Internet.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) provided Internet training for teachers during two-day Staff Development Workshops (January 27 and 28)

MCPS installed a Visioneer Paperport Scanner and software; students and teachers make constant use of telecommunications, web activities, web publishing, and wordprocessing.

The Montgomery Floyd Regional Library (MFRL) conducted 60 free public Internet training classes at its three branches with 256 participants this quarter. This brings the total number of participants in public training during the grant period to 233 classes; 882 participants.

Kimberly Vendrick Evans, TIIAP-supported Network Librarian for MFRL, gave presentations at both the Public Library Association conference in Chicago (100+ attendees) and Virginia Library Association conference at Radford University (75+ attendants).

MFRL added additional software to the public library server (CGI Forms, and the WebSonar search engine) and upgraded to the latest WebStar version.

All the MFRL library web pages (on the Mac Server) were redesigned and reorganized. The UNIX online catalg Web interface was also redesigned and upgraded.

Luke Ward, BEV Network Technology Manager, and Monta Elkins, TIIAP-supported Programmer/Analyst, tested and launched the BEV Chat software and monitored the first and subsequent BEV Town Chats (noted above). The regularly scheduled monthly online chats with the Town Manager are monitored by either Luke or Monta.

Luke assisted Cortney Martin in setting up the COBWeb-based 1997 Online County Survey for Supervisor Jim Moore (results are noted in BEV Newsletter posted online).

Luke and Monta provided technical backup for the BEV Office, Montgomery Floyd Regional Library, and Montgomery County Public Schools, among others.

Luke continues to field technical inquiries from out-of-state representatives of community networking projects; callers are encouraged to attend BEV classes.

Monta set up a number of fileboxes, including one to support the Hyperlipidemia health information project.

Luke presented a brief overview of community networking technology and the Internet at the January BEV Research Seminar entitled "Community Network Technology."

Luke and Cortney supervised student staff person, Brian Nenniger, who has been upgrading the COBWeb facility.

Luke planned additional IP address allocation with Montgomery County Public School personnel; they now have in excess of 2800 IP addresses.

Luke mailed out the BEV Newsletter, this month to 4541 PIDs. This is an increase of about 50 recipients over last month.

Cortney helped coordinate Youth-Senior gathering of senior citizens and second grade class who have been interacting via a listserv.

Andrea Kavanaugh, Director of Research, gave a talk entitled, "Evaluating the Use and Impact of Networking for K-12 Education Reform," at an NSF-sponsored conference "Enhancing Instruction in Science, Mathematics and Technology" March 11.

Radford City (BEV replication site) worked closely with the local school system to coordinate planning for Internet access and use. Steering Committee meetings were held monthly at the Radford Public Library.

Visitors this quarter to discuss BEV with staff included:

  • Korean delegation from Seoul National University, Korean Broadcasting, and the University of Ulsan.
  • Mr. Matsushimo of Japan.
  • Brian Abeling and others affiliated with Perkin County Schools, Illinois
  • Ing. Juan Miladeh of the Dominican Republic

A request for no-cost extension on the TIIAP award was submitted and accepted by TIIAP through October 15, 1997.

Revisions to Finance Reports according to instructions from Budget Officer, Betty Cassidy, were prepared and sent to OEAM, as requested.

Request for Advance was submitted to OEAM.

Financial Status Report and Financial Transactions Report for this quarter were submitted to OEAM.

Evaluation Data Collected - this quarter

Data entry completed for online survey administered to members of electronic mailing list owned by School Board member (James Klagge). Open ended responses entered electronically for transfer to database and further analysis.

Follow-up interviews with BEV Seniors planned by Andrea Kavanaugh, with Prof Stephen Parson (TIIAP supported faculty) and doctoral candidate, Federico Casalegno, of the Sorbonne, Paris.

Andrea Kavanaugh and Scott Patterson (TIIAP-supported faculty) are supervising data collection by TIIAP-supported undergraduate assistants (Joe Foley and Mike Mosteller) concerning social capital and community involvement measures (e.g., membership in voluntary associations and voter turnout in the BEV area over the past five years).


The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 17, 1997; Section: Information Technology, Page: A24. "Experiment in 'Virtual Community' Takes Shape at Virginia Tech. The 'Electronic Village' shows the promise and some of the limitations of the idea" by Goldie Blumenstyk.

Cohill, Andrew M. and Andrea L. Kavanaugh (eds.) 1997 Community Networks: Lessons Learned from Blacksburg, Virginia . Norwood, MA: Artech House. Order information available online at:

BEV Newsletters for January, February and March (posted online).

BEV Community Network Briefing Book (draft) please see enclosed copy

Programmatic Changes

No programmatic changes are anticipated. We will be using the no-cost extension period (through October 15) to complete certain tasks that we were not able to complete during the original grant period due to late hires, or other constraints; these include:

  • completion of public training program at the three branches of the public library system conducted by TIIAP-supported Network Librarian.
  • completion of evaluation of replicability of BEV model by formal replication site, Radford City, and other communities
  • completion of network use and impact evaluation studies in Montgomery County and surrounding area
  • completion of teacher training and evaluation, including summer workshop in desktop videoconferencing for classroom use
  • completion of business impact evaluation (2nd survey round)
  • completion of transaction log analysis