The computer lab will be redeveloped using materials which had previously been set up by Parkland College, in addition to some more recent donations. One of the main services of the lab will be to provide Internet access and essential computer applications to a digitally underserved community. Therefore, the lab will initially be used by residents and volunteers from CU Citizen Access to help foster basic computer and internet browsing skills. In order to suit the needs of the large Spanish-speaking population at the Shadow Wood mobile home park, the computers will be implemented with a dual boot system: both English Windows and a Spanish language Linux distribution.
In the future, CU Citizen Access also hopes to use the site as a resource in promoting and practicing community journalism. Out goal is to outfit two computers with free multimedia editing software.
Since the computers predominant function will be to provide basic Internet access, the redesigned lab will hopefully be able to serve the community for several years to come.
The workspace is divided between two rooms: one larger, in which general computing and collaborative work may be done, and one smaller, which will be more suitable for quieter, individual work. The smaller room also will be outfitted with sufficient free multimedia software to aid in the community journalism sponsored by CU Citizen Access.
In addition to tables featuring computers, the main room will also have several tables and chairs for non-computer based collaborative work. The larger room will feature a white board and the space will be designed so that instructional sessions and other group activities will continue to be a major function of the space.
How the space evolves over time depends upon both the training of residents in basic computer skills and the availability of volunteers to monitor the space. In order for these resources to be used effectively, some sort of instructional program will hopefully be implemented which will promote technological literacy among those residents who need it. We will be coordinating with CU Citizen Access to effect the best possible educational programs and volunteer supervision of the computer lab moving forward.
We plan to upgrade the memory on many of the computers to ensure as best as possible compatibility with applications and users’ needs for the foreseeable future.
The space will also be designed to be as multi-purpose and universally appealing as possible.
Maximizing Outcomes and Impact
As stated earlier, the computer lab will be a resource which CU-Citizen Access can use to promote community journalism. The redesign will also encourage additional programming in the future, which hopefully will include workshops centered on basic computer and internet-browsing skills. Some such program will be necessary in order for the lab to be an effective resource for the community.
We hope that the addition of technology and collaborative work space in the space will promote additional programming for the community without unintentionally hindering that type of one-off activities that are currently happening in the space. We also hope that the plan CU-Citizen Access is developing will ensure longevity of the project.
Project Transition Checklist
September 20: Initial Site Visit (Completed on Schedule)
September 28: Technology Inventory (Completed on Schedule)
October 8: Family Day at Shadow Wood (Completed on Schedule)
October 28-29: Champaign Outreach Weekend, Begin Site Refurbishment (Completed on Schedule)
November 18 & 12: Finishing Site Refurbishment (Completed on Schedule)
November 27: Finalizing Computer Refurbishment
November 29: Installing Computers and Network