Report for Quarter 3, Program year 1997-1998

Name of Organization: Center for Literacy Studies
Region: Southern LINCS
Reporting Period: Report for Quarter 3, Program year 1997-1998
Project Director: Dr. Mary Ziegler
Report Prepared By: Dr. Mary Ziegler, Dr. Limin Mu, Wil Hawk, and Ken Libby

I. Goals and Objectives for last quarter

  1. Develop and maintain website
  2. Build partnerships
  3. Provide technical assistance and training
  4. Publish locally produced materials
  5. Conduct inquiry projects
  6. Special collection
  7. Arkansas training event

II Activities planned for the quarter

  1. Develop and manage website - Complete site development - Launch website - Complete work on databases and begin use - Work with other hubs and NIFL to standardize
  2. Build Partnerships - Consortium members to make presentations at state conferences - Presentation at Southern State Directors meeting - Add regional partners - National meeting in Corpus Crisiti - Meeting of consortium members in May - Meet with Advisory members on funding
  3. Provide technical assistance and training - Send LINCS Consortium members to Arkansas Tech Institute - Include training components in presentation materials - Respond to assistance requests by phone and email
  4. Publish locally produced materials - Publish recent materials - Organize locally produced materials collection - Develop criteria for materials publishing
  5. Conduct inquiry projects - Conduct endusers discussion - Contracts for inquiry projects
  6. Develop special collection
  7. Arkansas training event
III. Major outcomes during the last quarter:
  1. Collecting and organizing locally produced materials - Emphasis this quarter was placed on cataloging and on organizing the catalog display. We wanted the resources section of our website to have the feeling of walking through a library so a visitor could not only search the catalog for a subject of interest, but could look through the other items available. A "Subject A-Z" section was created and subjects correspond to the ALT terms. At this time, only subjects for which we have a full-text document have been included. Once a locally produced document has been cataloged, a second entry was created on the A-Z Resources section that includes the title, URL, audience and summary.

  2. Web Publishing and Reorganization of General Resources page - One of the most important changes on the Southern LINCS web site was the reorganization of the General Resources page (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/lpm/lpm.html). The rationale behind this change was simple: some users prefer to use search programs and some do not. If they do not prefer to use search tools (like WAIS), we want to enable them to find what they need by browsing as one would in a library. For those who prefer to browse, we created the general Subject A-Z listing and its sub-pages devoted to each individual subject.

    The subjects (categories) are created based upon NIFL's ALT (Adult Literacy Thesaurus) Currently 43 subjects are used on the Subject A-Z listing. Users can browse the general Subject A-Z page and can choose to go to a specific subject. They can find all the available locally produced materials listed under that subject and go to the source page just by one click (if electronic format is available). Users can still find the same information through the regular WAIS database search program (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/search1.html), since all the materials listed under each subject have already been cataloged through the Hub's WAIS databases (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/search1.html).

    • Resources Page - reorganized (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/resource.html)
    • What's New Page - reorganized (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/whatnew.html)
    • A-Z page - updated (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/a_z.html)
    • Correctional Education - improved (http://cls.coe.utk.edu/corr_edu/default.html)
    • Workforce Education page - more contents (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/workforce.html) Forums page - reorganized (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/forums.html)
    • Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center - reconstructed (http://aalrc.org/)
    • South Carolina Literacy Resource Center Homepage has been under reconstruction
    • Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center home page - improved (http://www.aelweb.vcu.edu/)
    • Mississippi Library Resource Center Library Catalog (http://leaders.cs.olemiss.edu/MLRC/index.html)
    • WAIS search programs - improved (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/search1.html)
    • Htdig web page search program (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/htdig/search.html)

  3. Special Collections - The southern region is developing two special collections. The first, correctional education, has recently been updated. The second, workforce education, is still in the preliminary stages, however, a framework has been launched so we could receive feedback. Currently the site consists of the following categories: (1) About this site: These links offer a brief introduction to the Workforce Education Special Collection, the types of resources to be found on this site, and the team responsible for maintaining the collection. (2) Contacts: Directory information on individuals, organizations, and associations involved in workforce education and related fields is available from this collection of links. (3) General Information: General information includes fact sheets, more exhaustive statistical sources, literature reviews and write-ups on the history of the field, papers on policy and trends, and papers on the theory behind different workforce instructional models. (4) How To: This is a collection of practical resources for use by practitioners and administrators involved in workforce education programs. (5) Showcase: The Showcase includes information on model workforce education programs and materials proven successful in the field. (6) Glossary: This appendix is a growing collection of definitions of the terms commonly used in workforce education. Suggestions were made to mark with an asterisk the sites designed primarily for adult learners. Requests have been made to states for materials and suggestions for this site. Responses are slow.

  4. Training - Tech Institute was held in Conway, Arkansas from May 18 to May 20. Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center hosted the training program. Attending were more than 100 Arkansas practitioners. Twenty-one people from twelve Southern LINCS consortium states and the National Institute for Literacy participated in the three-day training program as a part of the LINCS project.

    The Technology Institute was an intensive three-day hands-on training in the areas of computers, telecommunications and technology instruction. Each participant was surveyed before the training and placed in a learning track specialized for their skill level. There were five tracks: Track I was for beginners with limited computer knowledge, Track II was designed for those who had some knowledge of a computer but only used it once or twice a week, Track III was designed for those who used the computer on a daily basis and used it for presentations, databases, as well as utilizing peripherals, Track IV was created for those users who were mid to high level technology users, Track V was for users who were advanced in the use of technology.

    Utilizing these tracks allowed participants to take a more active role in the learning. Sessions were not above skill level, yet participants were challenged to learn more on that topic. Participants received a notebook with handouts for their individual track sessions. A sample of the sessions held in the training program included: Web Basics, Distance Education Primer, MOO/MUD and more, Advanced Web Page Design, Literacy Link, JAMBA, multimedia authoring, web-based instruction, compressed video, technology in the curriculum, and html and beyond..

    Guest lecturers were invited from NIFL, the Southern LINCS Hub, the Center for Distance Learning Research, LiteracyLink, NCAL, and the U.S. Department of Education. They addressed the participants on the future of technology and how it would impact adult education and literacy studies.

  5. Regional Meeting - On May 17, in conjunction with the training program, the Hub's regional meeting was held in Conway. The meeting covered broad topics including training expectations and technical assistance (for more information about the regional meeting, please check the page out at http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/hub2_meeting/may98.html). The agenda included the following: a revisiting the vision of LINCS, an overview of the LINCS website, library and technology work, technical assistance, and evaluation.

  6. End Users Consortium - The Consortium of End Users Listserv has been very active during the third quarter. More than 40 discussion messages (test messages and messages for technical support were not included) were received by the enduser-news list specially created for the Consortium of End Users research group. The topics/areas discussed throughout the list included interesting findings on LINCS and Southern LINCS, ideas on designing general resources, comments on special collections, tips on designing help page, improving web site navigation, quality control for web-based publishing, and etc. Members of this group are preparing presentations or publicity materials designed to educate practitioners about LINCS.

  7. Implement NIFL's and Hub's criteria for homepages throughout member states - Currently, 12 states and project partners in the Southern Region have provided a correct link from their web sites to the Southern LINCS homepage. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia Tech's Lifelong Learning Network. Ten of them have put the Southern LINCS logo on their web sites. Other states will put the logo on after their homepage overhaul is completed.

  8. New and improved search programs on the Southern LINCS web site - Southern LINCS made a major improvement on its WAIS databases by adding 14 Southern states as search choices to the databases search client located at http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/search1.html. Previously the search program only allowed the user to submit a search query for all the southern states; no search for a single state was permitted. By adding the search choices to the databases, the user has a choice of either searching for a single state, multiple states, or for all the states in the southern region. This change was made based upon the requirements generated by NIFL's LINCS national meeting at Corpus Christi (TX), April 1998. The Southern LINCS also made its web page search program (Htdig) available to the public. This web search program will allow the user to search the contents of all the publicly available WWW documents at the Southern LINCS web site. It is located at http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/htdig/search.html.

  9. Whiteboard - The need for communication tools is more apparent after each Southern LINCS meeting. Consortium member states want convenient ways to let others know what is happening in their states. A web-based threaded message board appeared to be the most useful tool for the southern region. Since commercial and non-commercial web-based discussion software products were available, staff evaluated software programs based upon cost and effectiveness. As the first step towards the message board, the staff prepared for a free-ware installation on the hub's server (WWWBoard), and tested the program internally. After testing, the whiteboard will be available for public use in the next quarter. Depending upon use, Southern LINCS may move to a commercial message board in the next project year.

  10. Technical assistance - The major part of the technical assistance and communication were conducted by telephone and email. In quarter three, 278 messages (incoming and outgoing) were logged that dealt with technical or technical related issues. Among these messages, about half of them occurred between the Hub and its member states as a communication for issues about web sites, Listservs, web-based calendar, database, and white board. The rest of the messages occurred between the Hub and other technical consulting groups inside and outside LINCS programs on issues like WAIS databases, database conversion, system backup, system security, WWW message board, streaming video, and etc.

  11. Leveraging resources - Two key factors result in leveraged resources. First, is the staff time that states contribute to the LINCS project. Staff in state literacy resource centers and state offices regularly contribute to LINCS, attend LINCS events, participate in meetings and activities. The project could not continue without their contributions. Secondly, it is difficult to measure the impact of LINCS training events, resource sharing, and the capacity building activities that occur in the individual states.

  12. Publicity -
    • Practitioners in Arkansas - Presentation on of LINCS at Southern LINCS annual training workshop at Conway, Arkansas at the Tech Institute. Presentation was made to more than 100 practitioners and to members of the LINCS consortium. who were attending.

    • State Directors - Presentation on of LINCS at New Orleans Southern State Directors Conference - State Directors and staff from the US Department of education met in New Orleans. LINCS was a part of the agenda, and a presentation was made to the state directors at a southern regional meeting organized by the U.S. Department of Education, Division of Adult Education and Literacy.

    • State Staff in the southern region - A presentation was made on the Southern LINCS project at a meeting of state staff organized by the U.S. Department of Education, Division of Adult Education and Literacy. This meeting, held in Charleston, SC from June 28 - 30, '98, was attended by state office representatives from 12 of the 14 southern states. The Southern LINCS presentation was made by Colleen Clark from South Carolina (a member of the LINCS Advisory Committee), along with Dwain van Vactor from the Tennessee state staff and Donal Crosse from Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies. State staff requested that LINCS set up a listserv because "every state is wrestling with the same issues and trying to solve the same problems and that opportunities for states to share ideas is really helpful."

    • Family literacy practitioners - Presentation at National Center for family Literacy

    • Presentation materials - Preparation of a Power Point presentation for three state conferences

    • Public search engines - Update of Southern LINCS web site with sixteen public search engines including Excite, Goto.com, Hotbot, Infoseek, InfoSpace, LinkMonster, Nerdworld, Northern Light, Open Text, Pronet, Resource-One, The YellowPages, Trade Wave Galaxy, Web411, WebCrawler, and WhoWhere?

    • Newsletter - distribution to each state for redistribution to local programs in that state

  13. Extending LINCS to local programs - Two major factors are contributing to extending LINCS to local programs. First is the Consortium of End Users. This group, as a part of its mission, is developing educational materials and public relations materials geared to local practitioners. Second, states have actively participated in developing presentations for their state conferences which are usually geared to local programs and practitioners. Presentations are being made by the consortium members who have gained sufficient confidence in the project to make a presentation on LINCS. States are encouraging local programs to connect to the Internet in order and increase access to LINCS.

  14. Partnerships - This quarter, we have worked on developing partnerships with state directors and state agency staff. Southern LINCS staff made a presentation was made at the Southern Regional State Directors meeting. There was considerable enthusiasm and support for the LINCS project. Through a live connection, the presentation focused on the resources available on LINCS and the connection between LINCS and each state. Several state directors asked if their office could participate actively in LINCS.
IV. Services provided to consortium members

Consortium members in the southern region are very involved in LINCS and participate actively in meetings. Through the Consortium of End Users, there is a regular discussion of LINCS with practitioners from ten southern states. Technical assistance calls are increasing from the southern states. Nine listservs are currently in operation. During the next quarter, a listserv will be launched for state agency staff. We will be training other individuals from other states to moderate the listservs. There is a ripple effect to services provided. For example, LINCS consortium members attended the Tech Institute in Arkansas. South Carolina is planning a Tech Institute and other states have said they will work on establishing an institute in their states. It is difficult to measure the impact of LINCS as all of the information and sharing does not go through one centralized point, however, in true web fashion is decentralized with the knowledge passing directly from one state to another. For this reason, training events and meetings are a key area for consortium development. States are enthusiastic about sharing resources and LINCS is one of the few mechanisms for them to do this in a structured way.

Services to other states include the following:

  • Provided presentation and publicity materials for states to use at state conferences and in-service trainings.
  • Distributed 50 newsletters to each state (more if requested) for distribution to local programs.
  • Established a state communication vehicle called "First Monday" when states agree, on the first Monday of the month, to give each other an update about what is happening in their state.
  • Provided assistance to librarians in cataloging locally produced materials in the WAIS database.
  • Provided continuous technical support for statewide listserv (e.g. get users subscribed from the server side, fix communication problems, maintain list archives)
  • Provided continuous technical support for Consortium of End Users discussion group
  • Provided continuous support to states in using the database cataloging forms
  • Provided regular server maintenance, crontab jobs, system backups, server tightening, Listserv setups, and other technical services to the consortium through the server located at the Center for Literacy Studies
  • Coordinated and paid for travel and meeting arrangements for Consortium members to attend the Tech Institute in Arkansas.

V. Reports from member states

Most southern states were represented at the last regional meeting and training event held in Conway, Arkansas. At this meeting, states reported on their latest activities with respect to technology.

Alabama -- Alabama is providing computer training for all state employees. Alabama has a strong workplace program and is completing the work on its Information System. An Alabama practitioner is participating in the Consortium of End Users and the LINCS Design Committee.

Arkansas - Arkansas hosted the Southern LINCS states at their Tech Institute. Arkansas is redesigning its homepage. In addition, Arkansas is developing interactive multimedia courses for learners and teachers. Arkansas is overseeing the development of the first LINCS video being developed as a part of a practitioner inquiry project.

Florida - ACENET will use PDF files for their Exemplary Program Catalog. A mini-technology training day was offered to practitioners. Florida is working on an intergenerational Web TV project. Florida has cataloged 45 locally produced documents in the LINCS WAIS database.

Kentucky - Kentucky's web page is under construction. By January, all programs will report online. Five state agencies are working on a simplified access system.

Louisiana - The Louisiana Literacy Resource Center has recently moved to the Louisiana State Department of Education.

Mississippi - Mississippi launched a whiteboard on their website and newsletters are online. Barbara Reese is the new librarian recently added to the staff. Mississippi will conduct a Tech Institute in August. Mississippi's homepage is maintained by volunteers. The LEADERS project focuses on the use of technology for teaching and learning. Mississippi has launched a Mississippi Library Resource Center, Library Catalog on the Web in May.

Oklahoma - Oklahoma is developing a new website. They have also developed a common database program for standardizing reports. This resource center works with 314 sites.

South Carolina - South Carolina is developing a new website and will be hiring a graduate assistant to catalog materials. South Caroline is planning its Tech Institute for August. Arkansas is helping South Carolina and this is an example of the resource and information sharing across states that is a result of the LINCS project. SC also has a mobile computer lab that is used as a workplace resource center.

Tennessee - All 103 adult basic education providers are connected to the Internet and have graphical access to the Web. Tennessee has demonstrated its web-based tables for end-of-year federal reports. Other states have expressed an interest in using these tables.

Virginia - Has a program for recovering computers, refurbishing them, and distributing them to literacy programs. Virginia is working on a grant from GTE and will be developing workplace curriculum and case studies.

West Virginia - West Virginia will offer a technology-based state conference in August. In addition, WV has developed a resource database of software reviews and is working to make these locally produced materials available on the Web.

VI. Use of Fund

We have not encountered any problems in the use of project funds and we do not anticipate any carry forward from this year.

VII. Barriers and concerns in meeting objectives

  • Time is a consistently annoying barrier. There has not been sufficient time to develop the workforce education special collection to the extent that we had hoped. This collection will be a focus for Quarter 4.
  • States have a lot of interest in the project but are frustrated by lack of time and resources to participate in the way they would like.
  • We are working on developing a more successful strategy for collecting locally produced, high-quality materials from states.

VIII. Collaboration with NIFL

Collaboration is increasing as project takes on a more national focus.

IX. Goals

Partnership building

  • Conduct telephone conference meetings with the Advisory Committee to develop ideas for the next program year.
  • Identify at least two additional regional partners. Attendance at the Peer Conference will increase our knowledge of workplace education activities in the southern region.
  • Develop plan for a collaborative effort with the Virginia Literacy Resource Center as a part of the GTE grant.
  • Follow up on presentation to the Southern State Directors at regional meeting in New Orleans q Increase local involvement
  • Complete the work of the Consortium of End Users this quarter.
  • Complete the teacher inquiry project

Training

  • Training in the 4th quarter will be primarily one-on-one training conducted by telephone or Web.

Website

  • Since plans are underway to reorganize all web sites, our focus will be on collecting and publishing materials.
  • Add cataloged items to subject index

Special Collection

  • Add resources to site
  • Reorganize the workforce education site so more materials can be added

Expand use of LINCS

  • Presentations will be made at state conferences
  • Newsletter will be written and circulated

Build national system

  • Meet monthly by telephone or in person with other Regional directors and NIFL
  • Participate in redesign of websites

X. Statistics

Resources

  • Number of materials cataloged - 29
  • Number of web-based materials produced and published on your server - 9
  • Number of full-text materials uploaded - Adult Education at Work, a 154-page long documentation (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu/pdf/adulted.pdf).
  • Mississippi has launched a Mississippi Library Resource Center, Library Catalog on the Web

Training

  • Number of broad-based presentations and training - 4
  • Number of targeted training events - 1
  • Total number of people trained - 250

Technical assistance

  • Number of phone calls - 20
  • Number of email messages - 278
  • Number of Listservs set up for field - to date 9