LINCS Dissemination in Alabama

Jo Smith

Sharing LINCS with fifty plus Alabama practitioners July 23, 1998 at the Alabama State Adult Education Conference was quite an enlightening experience for both me and the participants. Dr. Mary Ziegler was originally scheduled for the presentation, but due to illness was unable to attend. Since I was involved with the end-users group Dr. Ziegler assisted me in preparation of the materials. It's unfortunate that Dr. Ziegler was ill and unable to attend, but the opportunity proved to be quite beneficial for me.

For an hour and a half I shared with this group of adult education teachers and supervisors the resources available to them on LINCS, in particular the southeastern LINCS hub. A power point presentation developed by Dr. Mary Ziegler was used to introduce and explain the concept of LINCS. LINCS was new and novel to all but two of the participants. The overriding principle of LINCS being a complete literacy information system funded through the National Institute for Literacy was presented. This led to some discussion of the National Institute for Literacy and its functions and how it impacted adult education practitioners.

Each participant was given a hard copy of the power point presentation to include the home page address of the southeastern LINCS site. At the conclusion of the power point presentation we logged onto the home page of the southeastern LINCS. The audience participated and learned so much. Participants actually took turns and maneuvered around the site. As stated above only two of the fifty plus participants even knew about LINCS. We looked at the alphabetized listing of the resources available right on line. Participants opened several of the resources in which they were interested and scanned the contents. Subscribing to listservs was also explored by the audience. Several participants went through the process to subscribe to a desired listserve. Since the presentation in July I have noticed that several of these people are now regular participants on a listserve to which I subscribe.

Many of the teachers were interested in resources for their learners. This led to the discussion of the fact that resources were somewhat limited at this time for adult learners. This is perhaps an area which needs some attention as revisions are underway. We discussed how those limited few who have access to the internet now use it, both for themselves as teacher resources and how they plan for their learners to use it as a resource. Most of them are still experimenting with how to incorporate the internet and particularly a LINCS site into the learning plan for their adult students. At present most of the teachers are using the internet as an opportunity for their learners to become aware and oriented to the entire concept. For the majority of the teachers in this group, this presentation was a real orientation for them in using the internet and particularly LINCS for adult education resources.

It was explained to the group how to link to other hubs around the nation and also to the National Institute for Literacy. Participants practiced doing each of these. The participants were not aware of the availability of such and was amazed that all of these adult education resources were available to them through the internet. We also looked briefly at Alabama Adult Education Homepage. It was the overall conclusion from the group that it certainly needed revision and they had several suggestions for additional resources that could be placed on the site. One of the suggestions was a calendar of adult education events in the state. Another teacher suggested an Alabama listserve for adult education teachers to discuss issues and exchange ideas. Others thought it would be helpful to post on the Alabama page interesting events or projects that were in progress. This might include innovative 353 projects. Another suggested that a regular newsletter could be posted on the Alabama Adult Education Homepage. This would be a very efficient way to disseminate information and would also aid Alabama practitioners in identifying with and using the internet on a regular basis.

The actual title of the presentation was "Gold on the Internet". I have furnished Dr. Ziegler a copy of the appropriate page from the program which describes the session for documentation of this part of the project. Evaluations are distributed for participants to complete at the conclusion of the presentation. These are tallied by the evaluation committee and filed with the State Adult Education office. I knew the participation was excellent and I had a good feeling of communication with the group. However, I did not realize that the evaluation ratings were so positive until I recently got the results from the State Office. With an overall rating of "6" possible, the presentation received an average of 5.7 overall. It was obvious from comments made by participants on their evaluation forms that they did indeed learn something they felt was beneficial. Some of the comments were as follows:

  • Great information!
  • Jo, you gave me a whole new area to search LINCS!
  • Good topic
  • Learned something useful.
  • Thank you for the information and handouts on LINCS

This was an excellent opportunity for me to share some of the activities we had been involved in with this end-users project. The group was quite positive to know that a representative from Alabama had input into the process and would relay their ideas. I have learned much more about the resources available through LINCS while working on this project. In preparation for the presentation I spent a great deal of time using and exploring the LINCS site to become as familiar as possible with what all was on the site. Prior to working on this particular project with the southeastern hub I used LINCS when searching for an adult education topic, but I usually went to the NIFL Homepage to do so. I was not aware of all that was available on the southeastern hub, especially those resources in the special collection. The internet related resources were new to me also as I began to use the southeastern hub site. I discovered the information on html and appreciated having that resource at my fingertips. I also have benefited tremendously from the discussions held with the end-users listserve. We have had the opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other and from the expertise involved with the site itself. Now we have the opportunity to post our writings on the site with the able assistance of those maintaining the site.