Design Roadmap

This Design Roadmap is an “executive summary” of the choices and actions underlying the construction of the computer lab at Pirtle’s Café. Please see the other sections on this website for specific details.

Vision for Space

Pirtle’s Café is a well-established community hub in East St. Louis. Our involvement with Pirtle’s will span several semesters, and is separated into several sections, encompassing different stages of work.

The primary goals for the 2010 Fall Semester were to refurbish the space in the old cigarette shop, so that future classes can design, furnish, and install a computer lab, and to install a trial computer lab of four computers in the front of the ice cream parlor.

Our long term vision for Pirtle’s Café is the construction of a large computer lab and cyber café targeted at entrepreneurs, small business development, and community education.

Objectives for Integrating Technology

Over the short term at Pirtle’s Café, the technology we are installing will enable community members to educate themselves on a variety of topics, locate crucial legal, financial, and medical/health information, and communicate more efficiently.

Over the long term at Pirtle’s Café, the installation of a fully-functional computer lab and cyber café will aid in the development of local small businesses by providing a source for education, communication, and business software and tools.

Justification of Technology Choices

Four Dell computer systems with Intel Pentium 4 processors, equipped with Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office 2003.

We outfitted the computers with a range of open source software, including Firefox (with custom browser profiles), OpenOffice.org, Scribus, antivirus software, and many others.

Recommendations & Plans for Implementation

There are five key elements that must be addressed to encourage the adoption of new technology: observability, trialability, complexity, compatibility, and relative advantage. We focused on these elements throughout the design and implementation of computer labs with our community partners.

We designed and installed a custom bench to display the computers, configured the network and computer hardware and software, and tested everything for reliability.

Considerations for Sustainability

Effective sustainability requires both on-site and off-site support. Onsite, Mr. Pirtle has arranged for volunteers to aid in managing the computer lab. Unfortunately we were not able to meet with them while we were in East St. Louis. This is a possible followup project for next semester.

Our off-site documentation of the computer hardware and software components will bring technical advisers up to speed and serve as a roadmap for future sections of LIS 451 to continue the work.

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