SI 597/697 Community Information: Project Corps

Professor Paul Resnick

Winter 1999

Revised 11/17/99 (PR).

Meets Thursdays 6-7:30PM  in 311 West Hall
Class home page
Class Syllabus

Projects Page

Most students in 597/697 will enroll concurrently in some kind of project work, either through a Directed Field Experience (DFE) or a professor-led project (see project examples). Administratively, this may be handled either as a separate registration for a different course number, or as additional credits for 597/697 (these additional credits would count as PEP points).

Some potential projects you can get involved with in the winter:

How to Sign Up for a Project

All project work assignments result from a process of negotiation between you and a project manager, who may be a professor or a client from an outside organization. Contact Karen Jordan for Directed Field Experience placements, or the professor(s) in charge for project work. It is perfectly acceptable to explore simultaneously several projects. Once you have come to an explicit agreement, you should not back out simply because you found a more exciting project opportunity.

Project Listings

Directed Field Experiences

Please explore the Directed Field Experience listings. Note that these field experiences are normally available only to students who have completed SI501. Contact Karen Jordan for more information on how to sign up.

Information Technologies in Small Nonprofit Organizations (599/699)

In this workshop course, listed jointly with the School of Public Policy, students will explore the implementation and use of information technologies in small non-profit organizations. In past semesters, students developed FormShare.

Contact Professor Michael Cohen if you're interested.

CHICO: Cultural Heritage Initiatives (595/695)

Over the past several years, students have completed a number of interesting projects capturing cultural heritage materials and making them accessible in electronic formats. Check out the CHICO web site for some examples.

Contact Dean Olivia Frost if you're interested.

Community Information: Knowledge and Skills (635)

Provides an opportunity to develop a knowledge of community information, the methods that can be used to make it available, trends in delivery, and current issues.  A community information project is 50% of the grade in the class. Contributions to the Community Connector Web site is also expected (see below). 3 credits; 1 PEP point.

Contact Professor Joan Durrance if you're interested.

The Community Connector

The Community Connector web site is a portal for information about community networking, community technology centers, and other technologies that support geographic community. It includes an extensive Reading Room with links to articles, books, and Web sites. It also includes profiles and news stories. Students are needed to manage the existing information collections (find new materials, cull outdated materials), create new content (e.g., profiles of interesting people projects around the country), and develop new interactive features on the site. Contact Profs. Joan Durrance or Paul Resnick if you're interested.

Knowledge Circle for the Native American Higher Education Initiative (NAHEI)

The goal of this project is to support the Native American Higher Education Initiative (NAHEI) by building the capacity of NAHEI participants to work together and share information using online communications tools. This goal will be accomplished through a partnership between Native American organizations and the Alliance for Community Technology at the School of Information at the University of Michigan. 

Contact Professor Dan Atkins if you are interested.

Who's That? Photo Directories and email Lists

As our lives become ever more privatized, neighbors are becoming strangers.  The mission of the ‘Who’s That?’ project is to encourage individuals to get to know the people around them, in order to provide mutual support and engage in collective action. In the winter of 1999, several of us created photo directories and email lists for the blocks we live on. See  for more details.

In the winter of 2000, I'll be starting a careful empirical evaluation of the impacts of these tools on social networks (who people know), activities (voting, having people over for dinner, attending club meetings), and attitudes ("do you like living here?"). I'll be recruiting block captains to create directories for their blocks, and conducting surveys before and after they do their work. I need students to help conduct the surveys and provide assistance to the block captains in using a digital camera and the database software that we've already created.

Contact Prof. Resnick if you're interested. A project for the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement

Next summer, the Saguaro Seminar will release a report detailing new ways that Americans can connect with each other, for individual and community benefit. We have an opportunity to prototype an interactive web site to accompany the report. It will offer opportunities for people to share their stories, as well as retrieving information and tools for assessing and improving local social connections. Eventually, once enough money gets raised, this site will be probably be taken over by a professional web site developer, but we have a chance to show what's possible.

Contact Prof. Resnick if you're interested.

Knowledge Management System for Global Telecenter Operators, Researchers, and Funders

In many developing countries, and some parts of the developed world, access to even basic telecommunications is often lacking, or primarily limited to urban areas.  Although currently defined imprecisely, the multi-purpose, community information center (MPCIC) (or telecenter)  is seen by many international development agencies and private sector enterprises as a vehicle to both provide access to the needed information infrastructure and to deliver the services of the Information Age.

One of the key problems with the global development of MPCICs is the tremendous isolation faced by many of these projects. A knowledge management system is required that can promote the development of a global virtual community of interest for community information centers.  This project will contribute to this process by building a global, web-based, three-tired knowledge management portal for community information center activity. The first tier is a network of MPCIC operators (and of local networks).  The second tier is for a network of researchers, interested in evaluating the impact of telecenters and MPCICs.  Finally, the third tier is for donor agencies and private sector actors interested in promoting and investing in MPCICS.

Contact Professor Derrick Cogburn if you are interested.

Community Information Organizer Training (sorry, this project is full)

This fall and winter, we will be training low-income teens as "Community Information Organizers". We are working at two sites, the community center at the North Maple Estates public housing in Ann Arbor, and the Flint Public Library. In the fall, the teenagers will learn about information technologies and be introduced to local civic, political, and business leaders. Their job for the fall is to to define projects that the will carry out in the winter. The projects will involve organizing and publishing information for the benefit of some community that they are part of.

Sorry, but this project is full. All the staff are continuing from last fall.  Kelly Garrett, a PhD student,  is managing the project.