JoAnn Martin and Clint Williams, Texas Literacy Resource Center
Brenda Bell, Center for Literacy Studies
Report prepared by Brenda Bell and Clint Williams
States reporting: Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas
Significant Accomplishments Southern Literacy Communication Consortium - First Year
1. The Texas Literacy Resource Center worked with fourteen states in the Southern region in various ways prior to the awarding of the grant. The Southern SLRCs were involved in the grant proposal process. Ten states submitted letters of support and agreed to the responsibilities outlined in the grant. The partnership of Tennessee and Texas was established to coordinate the project and gained support of most of the other states. Training in Washington, D.C. in October 1995 was held to acquaint the hubs with each other and begin the life of the LINCS system.
2. A survey was conducted to determine the Internet access capabilities and computer hardware capability of each state. A technology program coordinator and technical assistant were hired to install new hardware, software and find internet connectivity for member states. In January 1996 a listserv was created for communication about the consortium and technology issues. All states were given instructions on how to subscribe and were encouraged to contribute to it. Five of the 14 states ( Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky had homepages up before the first of the year. A workshop and consortium was conducted in Tennessee on November 19 - 21,1995 to "train the trainer." Each SLRC was asked to develop a long range plan to ensure the project's continuation after the grant. States have submitted logos, ideas, links, and information for use on their home pages. A 1-800 number was provided at the training session and was used for technical assistance. Many of the states requested assistance with creating and updating web pages by phone calls, fax , email and the listserv.
3. Grants for local access projects from adult literacy programs in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. These resources were reviewed and notified of acceptance to receive funding by the Texas A&M Research Foundation. These state teams were given technical support by phone calls, email and faxes. Training materials were developed and presented at the two training workshops ( November 1995 and June 1996 ) for member states. These training materials have also been put on the website.
4. LINCS has been promoted by all the participating states. At least two state agencies were contacted by each SLRC to involve in outreach activities and in state training . Many states ( Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas) have included links to other agencies. Five states ( Arkansas , Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have involved not only state agencies but local literacy programs as well. This training also created an opportunity to include these agencies on the SLRC web pages with online links. A Powerpoint presentation was created by the western hub of this NIFL project and given to each state to use in presenting to groups. It was presented at the Commission of Adult and Basic Education conference in Pittsburgh in May 1996 and also included a presentation promoting the use of technology in local programs. The SLCC presentation was also given at the Adult Learning and Technology Conference in August 1996. All SLCC member were also given a copy of the SLCC web site and Powerpoint file to use in promoting the LINCS project.
5. Each state was encouraged to identify locally produced materials to contribute to the regional database. The catalog conversion of selected SLRC materials is currently being tested and will be online for use in September. Training on cataloging of materials per Starting Points Standards was conducted during the June 1996 training session at College Station, Texas. The hub site has the Sun Sparc5 server online and will have the search engine and database operational by September. A grant was given to the Virginia Literacy Resource Center to allow completion of cataloging of materials and conversion of electronic catalog to be WAIS searched.
6. All consortium members developed questions for self evaluation and they will be administered at the end of the grant in September 1996. An online survey was conducted in July and the results are included. The data usage statistics are included. The results will help identify needs to be addressed in training for Year Two.
Members of the consortium have cooperated on the development and submission of two proposals for consortium projects which build on the SLCC network. The proposal to National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration for the LEADERS project : Learning Experiences for Adults to Develop Employability Related Skills. This project builds on the work of the consortium to extend local access to literacy and adult basic education programs, by proposing desktop distance learning in conjunction with experimental problem solving. States involved in these proposals include: Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas and Kentucky. The proposal to the Appalachian Regional Commission has been submitted.
Individuals directly involved with the grant were:
* Dr. JoAnn Martin, of The Texas Literacy Resource Center was the director of the project and director of the Texas Literacy Resource Center.
* Brenda Bell of the Center for Literacy Studies was the training coordinator..
* David Hutchinson, technology coordinator, Texas Literacy Resource Center until December 1995
* Rod Ham, trainer, Texas Literacy Resource Center until December 1995
* Clint Williams, technology coordinator. Texas Literacy Resource Center
* Phebe Mertes, technical assistant, Texas Literacy Resource Center
* Mary Bumann, administrative assistant until March 1996 Other members assisting in the project but funded by other sources are: Desirae Greg replacing Mary Bumann, Dr. Don Seaman, Director. Texas Center for Adult Literacy and Learning, Ann Martinez, research assistant, Texas Literacy Resource Center
1 c) Significant Products
Each member of the Southern Literacy Communication Consortium created a web page and has added resources and links to them that can be accessed by everyone in the consortium without regard to geographical barriers. The Powerpoint presentation of the hubs and training manuals were a product of the project (see appendices F & G) and were distributed during the training sessions.
1 d) Significant challenges and barriers
* One problem that we have experienced to this point is that some of the people who attended the web page creation were not the people responsible for web page creation.
* The states not sending representatives to the training session have impeded the presentation of home pages on the Web Site.
* The logistics of operating a partnership via telephone and email has been a challenge the partners have additional professional responsibilities and schedules because there still remains the unsolved problem of certain clarification on Starting Point issues.
The major concerns at this point are:
* Setting realistic action plans for the remainder of the project year with all the states and addressing the cataloging issues.
* Storage capacity for Web sites may become a new challenge.
* One of the most serious concerns is the need for SLRCs to find a source of funding to continue so that the vast resources available to the SLCC project are not jeopardized.
Center for Literacy Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
600 Henley Street, Suite 312, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4135