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October 1, 1996 - December 31, 1996

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

Achievements and Milestones

Radford Information Network Steering Committee held its regular monthly meetings on October 9, November 6, and December 11.

Town of Blacksburg held network training session for senior citizens with 15 people attending.

Andrea Kavanaugh, BEV Director of Research, and Larry Arrington, Supervisor of Technology for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) attended a workshop on the new statewide Standards of Learning in Virginia related to the implementation and evaluation of computer and network literacy for grades 5-12 (held at Bernards' Landing, Virginia, October 17, 1996).

Andrea discussed the BEV experience on a panel entitled: "Lofty Visions, Lessons Learned," at the annual EDUCOM conference (Philadelphia), October 11-12.

Andrea gave a luncheon address on 'The role of community networks in increasing civic engagement' at the conference of the Virginia Municipal League held in Roanoke, Virginia (October 21)

BEV Seminar was given by Kimberly Vendrick, TIIAP-supported Network Librarian and Trainer, Montgomery Floyd Regional Library (MFRL), entitled "Public Access to the Internet: An Evaluation of the Use and Impact of the Public Library." November 19.

Staff of the Museum of Natural History, BEV and the MCPS public schools conducted three test sessions of real-time videoconferencing with faculty and students of Auburn High School on October 28, November 12 and December 11, 1996.

Cortney Martin, BEV Assistant Director, began re-formatting and re-categorizing BEV web pages, edited and published the quarter's monthly BEV Newsletters (posted online), and met with several visiting groups, including a television crew from Japan, representatives from Apple Computers and the sponsor of the CardiacWeb pages.

Luke Ward, BEV Technology Manager, met at Blacksburg Town Hall with representatives of the Japanese national telephone corporation, NTT, who were interested in the technical infrastructure behind the BEV, especially the town Ethernet network.

At the request of the national ThinkQuest organization, Luke installed a robots.txt file on the BEV Web server to block indexing of ThinkQuest registrations. These were in some cases showing up before the national site's entries when users ran searches for ThinkQuest.

Luke investigated the FirstTV video streaming plug-in for Web browsers, a product that can be used to deliver video clips in real time for a K12 experiment where kids in the public schools might create their own video footage, and BEV servers deliver it on demand to anyone with a browser using the plug-in.

Luke supervised improvements to CobWeb, a BEV tool supporting end-user contributions to web pages with minimal centralized support requirements.

Luke continues to correspond, as needed, with the principals involved in the creation of the Abingdon (VA) town Ethernet, which is currently being installed.

The BEV-Seniors group (with 110 members subscribed to its own listserv) continues to assist local senior citizens get "on-line" and answer computer questions and to host regular monthly meetings. Projects initiated or continued during the last quarter include: 1) Nostalgia about what our community was like over the last 4-5 decades (in support of the imminent Blacksburg bicentennial celebration); 2) E-mail communications with Second graders at the local Margaret Beeks school on subjects of their choosing via a separate "youth-Senior" listserv; and 3) participation in Virginia Tech's "Virtual Reality" projects.

Montgomery County government held two sets of classes in computer training (Mondays or Wednesdays for one and a half hours per week for four weeks or six hours of instruction) for county government staff (30 attended from October 21 through November 18). Classes taught by Keath Marx at Christiansburg High School.

Andrea presented in a paper entitled "Building Social Capital in Community Networks: A Test Case" at the 17th International Conference of Information Systems "Networking and Electronic Communities" in Cleveland, Ohio (December 16-18, 1996).

Andrea and Stephen Parson, VT Education faculty, conducted an online survey of recipients of a School Board mailing list as part of the overall evaluation of the impact of networking on the community.

BEV Director, Andrew Cohill, met with Jessica Bray of the New Orleans Freenet to determine how community networks can collaborate together and share technology and teaching materials (10/11/96).

BEV Director conducted conference call to Joseph Kruth of the Tahoe Center for a Sustainable Future to discuss ways to collaborate on community network projects (10/23).

BEV Director met with VT Museum of Natural History staff to plan K12 teaching and learning activities on the Internet (10/28).

BEV Director met with BEV staff to develop plans for package of training and instructional material for other communities on how to design and implement Web sites (11/15).

BEV Director met with New Century Council Director Bev Fitzpatrick to discuss how the BEV can assist with regional effort to get more communities connected (11/13).

BEV and NCC agree to work jointly on funding to support community networks for all New Century region communities (9 counties and 5 cities) (12/10).

BEV Director attended full day meeting in Wytheville, VA with New Century Council staff and Steve Snow of Charlotte's Web to talk about regional collaboration across the southeast (12/19)

BEV Director met with BEV staff to design and develop Web templates for "roll your own" community network project (12/20).

Ron Secrist, Town Manager, made a presentation about the BEV project to the International City-County Management Association in October; to the Subcommittee on Science and Technology in November; and to counterpart government representatives in Poughkeepsie, New York (via video conference from Virginia Tech campus) in December.

Bonnie Svrcek, Assistant Town Manager, discussed the town's use of BEV with local government and school officials from environs of Hickory, NC in October; and with representatives of Nippon Telephone in November.

Andrea Kavanaugh and Scott Patterson conducted the third annual survey of Blacksburg citizens through 'About Town' newsletter to random sample of Blacksburg residents October 1996. Results are posted online at

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) installed CSU/DSU interface equipment, hub and router, as planned, for Christiansburg High School.

Scott Patterson and Andrea Kavanaugh conducted evaluation of civic engagment and community attachment (Montgomery County) via random telephone survey during the last week in October and first week November.

Radford City (replication site) distributed short questionnaire to citizens via City Newsletter in October to determine levels of computer penetration and network access among citizens.

BEV staff met with visitors from Japan, including the Planning Department of Shizuoka Province and the Japan Institute.

Mailed to OEAM Financial Transaction Report, Financial Status Report, and Request for Advance or Reimbursement.

Walter Zicko, Network Librarian for Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library (MFRL) gave two presentations on the BEV project to international visitors (total of 23 people) He also managed the community organizations accounts on the library server and is in the midst of a complete redesign of the MFRL Web site including a catagorical index of local organizations.

The library upgraded the server disk capacity to 5 GB and memory of the Community WWW server to 80 MB.

Steven Helm of MFRL gave 4 presentations on the BEV project (total of 70 people), plus a seminar at the Virginia Library Association Conference in Richmond (55 attendees). This quarter Steve created a staff Intranet in support of library network services (including BEV email)

Kimberly Vendrick-Evans of MFRL gave classes for the general public and local organizations on four topics: WWW basics, Introduction to Email, Advanced WWW Searching, and Creating Your Own Web Page (HTML).

Oct: 17 Classes 84 Attendees Nov: 17 Classes 86 Attendees Dec: 24 Classes 107 Attendees Total 58 Classes 275 Attendees

In addition Kimberly has continued Internet training of the Library's public service staff.

The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have provided numerous County Wide Internet training workshops for teachers and the general community at the TIIAP-funded computer network lab in Riner, including: Introduction to MACs, Introduction to ClarisWorks WordProcessing, Introduction to VA Pen and telneting.

MCPS gave a tour of the Auburn lab to a delegation from Japan. The lab is scheduled for just about every class period during the day and after school a writing class meets to use the lab.

Problems and Obstacles

We are requesting a no-cost extension for a six month period following the currently scheduled end of the grant period (April 15, 1997). This would make the ending date October 15, 1997.

Evaluation Data Collected - this quarter

Transaction log data - posted online; updated nightly

Random sample telephone survey of residents in local dialling area (includes areas outside Montgomery County, such as Roanoke, Salem, and Radford)- over 500 respondents; data analysis in process.

Reports, Documents, Publications, or Other Work

Television program on BEV appeared on the show "Site" produced by MSNBC

BEV Newsletters: October, November, December 1996 (posted online)

Quarterly Reports to TIIAP (including this one) posted online.