Southern Literacy Communication Consortium

SOUTHERN LITERACY COMMUNICATION CONSORTIUM
REGION II HUB QUARTERLY REPORT TO
THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR LITERACY
JANUARY 1-MARCH 31, 1996

Project Staff:
JoAnn Martin and Clint Williams, Texas Literacy Resource Center
Brenda Bell, Center for Literacy Studies

Report prepared by Brenda Bell and Clint Williams

I. Goals and activities for Quarter 2

Goal 1 - Develop SLCC Information System on WWW

a. Form a consortium of participating states Contacts were made with states not represented at the initial consortium meeting in November, 1995. Florida is now represented in the consortium by the Florida Institute for the Development and Enhancement of Adult Learning (IDEAL) at Florida Atlantic University.

b. Construct and maintain SLCC homepages During the second quarter of this grant year, nine of the fourteen states in Region II had homepages with links to the SLCC page. The five states not yet on the System had homepages in the development stage. Oklahoma SLRC's page is under development by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries; West Virginia and Alabama Alabama are in the process of creating their homepages to be installed on the Texas server. The Georgia and Louisiana SLRCs have been in transition, and have plans within their respective state agencies for a homepage, to reside on state servers.

The Region's homepage has been accessed 741 times. Feedback from member states is positive: "We find the information to be interesting, and the variety of subject matter encourages browsing." "The pages give the SLRCs a presence as an organized group. It lets us know what is going on in each center." "Very useful to connect to other resources." (Comments from state quarterly reports to the Consortium.)


GOAL 2 - Develop capacity of each SLRC to implement and maintain WWW site

a. Provide technical assistance Clint Williams was employed on January 1 by the Texas Literacy Resource Center as the technical manager for this project. He picked up on the work started by Rod Ham, who was on loan to the project, and established working relationships with the appropriate contact person in each state. He has provided telephone and online assistance as requested or as appropriate.

b. Assist in the development and updating of homepages for each state Eight State Literacy Resource Centers are maintaining their WWW pages on their own server or on a contracted server (Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida). Other pages reside on the Texas Resource Center server ( Arkansas and South Carolina) and are maintained by project staff. Usage statistics are not available for each center's page for this quarter, but will be next quarter when the Sunsparc station is online.

Kentucky's statistics are representative: their usage moved from 62 customers with 487 hits in January to 261 customers with 1022 hits in March.

Some SLRCs are developing plans for expansion of their pages. Texas has added a section for local literacy providers, set up pages for adult literacy subject area, updated almost every page and doubled the number of pages on the site. Kentucky will begin accepting staff development registrations. Arkansas plans to post their newsletter. Tennessee is adding a section for the TRIMS performance accountability project, which has been adopted for use by the state.

Consortium members indicate some specific needs as they develop their capacity: advanced html training; creating library cataloging and searching homepages; and adding audio-visual components are among the most pressing needs.

We planned to hold a consortium meeting and training session late in early spring, but this has been pushed to June 1-4.

c. Develop long range plan for each SLRC, to insure continuation of system after end of grant period Mississippi SLRC took the lead in writing a proposal to NTIA for a pilot distance learning project for three states in Region II. If funded, this project would benefit all fourteen states by developing a model for instruction and staff development in literacy programs using distance learning technologies.


GOAL 3- Develop capacity of SLRCs to train local literacy providers in use of SLCC and LINCS

a. Implement local access projects with five pilot states

The following activities have taken place under grants for local access projects to five state centers:

Texas has downloaded the files of the SLCC and the web site to seven laptops to present the SLCC and the Texas Literacy Resource Center at meetings across the state. They conducted ten workshops introducing participants to the web and its resources, with 283 participants in these workshops from different state agencies and literacy organizations ( The Urban Literacy Coalition, Dept. of Human Services, Houston Community College, San Antonio Commission for Literacy, Texas Adult Literacy and Adult Education Association, Houston READ Commission, South Plains College, Texas Employment Commission, Lubbock Area Coalition for Literacy, and Ten County Coop ). They gave three modems to participants in a state literacy conference and set up five literacy centers for internet access with modems. Staff presented SLCC and the literacy resource center to four senatorial aides at the Texas Legislature.

North Carolina has provided modems, Internet connectivity, and training to eleven participating community colleges and organizations: Forsyth Technical Community College, Wake Technical Community College, Wilkes Community College, College of the Albemarle, Blue Ridge Community College; MOTHEREAD; Haywood County Literacy Council, Durham County Literacy council, Blue Ridge Literacy council, and the Southeastern Region One Stop. Training focused on e-mail, using the Web, and making homepages. This local access project is expanding through a collaboration with the SouthEast and Islands Regional Technology Consortium, and the SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education, to create a literacy technology mentoring network. NCLRC will be recruiting around 20 experienced Internet users from the literacy community, who will be mentors for others.

Tennessee has provided modems and graphical access to the Web, for the following county ABE programs: Blount County, Knox County, Sullivan County, Unicoi and Benton; for the following literacy councils: Tennessee Literacy Coalition, Dyer County Literacy Council, Loudon County Council, and Henry County. The only program not yet online is Henry County, which will have internet service in June. In addition, this local access project is providing training to seven agencies of the Knox County TRIMS task force (modems and connectivity provided through another grant). During quarter 2, training was planned and scheduled in April.

Arkansas is in the process of identifying centers and their accessibility to online services as part of their state-wide effort to get all ABE and literacy programs online.

Virginia has had a change in leadership of the Center, and is just beginning their project.

Other states are extending access and technology training. Examples from Region II are:

South Carolina is developing an RFP for five pilot sites, to try out online communications, and is offering a graduate course in technology for literacy practitioners.

In Arkansas, ABE programs and community colleges are gaining access at a faster rate than literacy councils, who need computer equipment.

Oklahoma has a literacy electronic bulletin board, through the Oklahoma Library Technology Network. This system will eventually be moved to the Center's web page, and the old bulletin board phased out. Lack of computers and modems has kept many literacy and ABE practitioners from participating. To facilitate access to OLTN and the Internet, the Resource Center this quarter furnished modems to 20 ABE centers and literacy organizations. Training is being developed.

Kentucky's Telelinking Network and Commonwealth INformation Network System will soon increase local access to the Internet. Most ABE providers have the hardware capability for online access; training in using the Internet needs to be done.

Louisiana's SLRC (which has a new director) is exploring ways the Internet can bridge the gap in information and services among the separate agency structures for ABE, vocational education, literacy, and labor. They plan to link their homepage with these other state agencies, and to provide training.

b. Provide training for state teams Planning for the consortium's second training session was begun, and the training was scheduled for the third quarter.


GOAL 4 - Promote LINCS and SLCC Information System to literacy, ABE, and employment skills providers

Consortium members have been spreading the word about LINCS and the Region II network:

Kentucky issued a press release (attached) which was picked up by newspapers across the state; presentations were made to the SLRC advisory committee and to the state adult education staff.

Tennessee posts regular messages on the state adult education listserv, pointing to useful pages on NIFL's and the Regional Hub's pages. (All ABE programs are on this list). In addition, information has been published in the Tennessee Adult Educator, with a circulation of close to 3,000.

North Carolina has described their participation in the SLCC in their newsletter, which has a statewide circulation. Arkansas has provided information to all adult education and literacy programs and has made presentations at statewide administrators meetings.

Louisiana (part of the Governor's office) has received permission to connect their homepage to that of the Louisiana Department of Education. Information about the project will be in the next newsletter, which circulates to 2700 people.

Proposals were submitted and accepted for presentations at two national conferences, COABE in May, and the Adult Literacy and Technology Conference in August.


GOAL 5 - Develop a searchable database of materials and program information on WWW

a. Identify locally produced materials to contribute to a regional database

Each member state has committed to providing one locally produced publication, for the SLCC homepage. Texas has posted the state ABE handbook. Tennessee is working on a way to use a chapter from an issue of Seeds of Innovation. Kentucky has linked to their newsletter and to the state council development newsletter, and other publications, such as Slices. South Carolina will post a contract they are in the process of developing. We expect that after training session in June, more states will be ready to contribute materials.

b. Convert catalogs of selected SLRCs to WAIS format Although originally planned for the second quarter, this work is taking place in the third quarter.


GOAL 6 - Evaluate the use and effectiveness of the SLCC Information System

At this stage, evaluation is coming from member states. As the local access projects are implemented, we will be receiving comments and suggestions from practitioners and students as well.

II. Barriers and concerns in meeting goals

Several states have had changes in leadership of their SLRC, or the SLRC has closed, creating difficulties in getting all states equally involved in the consortium. In several states, internal state politics have slowed the development of an active homepage.

Even though the SLCC Information System is meant to shorten the distance between state centers, by providing a communication tool, nothing beats face to face communication and collaboration when beginning a big project such as this. We are looking forward to our second meeting and training session, as a way to continue to build commitment to the consortium as well as build skills.


III. Continuation Plan

Under the leadership of Judy Williams, Mississippi, a proposal was submitted to NTIA for a pilot project for the Consortium. Working with other Regional Hubs, the Region II staff will be developing proposals for continuation at a national level. Self-sufficiency at the state level is a priority to be addressed during the remainder of Year One.


IV. Goals, objectives, and activities planned for Quarter 3:

In addition to the on-going activities of the Consortium, as described in the Year One Timeline, the major activity for the third quarter will be the SLCC meeting and training session in College Station, Tx, June 1- 4. By the end of the third quarter, we will have provided training in cataloging and maintaining WAIS-searchable databases; provided advanced training in html and homepage design; assisted the Virginia Center in making their extensive catalog available online; worked with other regional hubs to develop promotional materials and presentation about LINCS and the hubs; increased the availability of locally produced publications online, one from each state; and made revisions to the SLCC page in response to feedback from local access projects.


Southern Literacy Communication Consortium,

Center for Literacy Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
600 Henley Street, Suite 312, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4135


Questions, Comments or Problems Contact:
CLS staff; E-Mail: <hub2@cls.coe.utk.edu>; Phone: (423) 974-4109


Copyright 1997 © Southern Literacy Communications Consortium, All rights reserved.
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