technical support

CTC Development

VISTA Name: 
Terence Kennedy
Program Start: 
11/2001
Project Description: 

The VISTAs duties will include strategic planning, staff training, technical support, seeking funding, and providing computer access to the populations served.

CTC Technical Support

Organization: 
RTPNet
VISTA Name: 
Eugena Harrington
Program Start: 
2/2001
Program End: 
2/2002
Project Description: 

The anticipated outcome of this project is a functioning, responsive technology support service for Triangle Area Centers for Technology (TACT) that will assist technology centers which are primarily in low-income neighborhoods.

Duke University currently provides one person to oversee technical support for community tech centers in Durham. The AmeriCorps*VISTA member will work with this person and other members of the tech support committee to plan and develop a working technology support group.

The VISTA member will identify and document support services to be provided by the TACT support committee, develop an expertise list that the Help Desk will use to forward problems, develop lists of recommended hardware and software for technology centers, as well as installing and troubleshooting computer systems and providing routine maintenance.

Project Outcome: 

Gena is providing tech support for a large number of centers (about 20) in Orange, Durham, and Wake counties and she is helping some schools in the area. She is creating inventories for the centers, defining standards, and writing guides. Standards will help RTPnet provide technical support for the centers. Similarly, when there is a problem, the inventories will give tech support people preliminary information that will facilitate troubleshooting.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Raymond Riopelle
Program Start: 
12/2000
Program End: 
12/2001
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps VISTAs will work with members of the Consortium and the larger Lowell NPO community. The VISTAs will supervise public access to computers, train the community in a wide assortment of computer applications, provide technical support, assist in the setup of new computer labs, and improve and support information systems (like websites, databases, email). Overall, the Consortium wants to expand the computer resources available to the community and support the community’s ability to use these resources.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Isaias Rodriguez
Program Start: 
12/2000
Program End: 
12/2001
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps VISTAs will work with members of the Consortium and the larger Lowell NPO community. The VISTAs will supervise public access to computers, train the community in a wide assortment of computer applications, provide technical support, assist in the setup of new computer labs, and improve and support information systems (like websites, databases, email). Overall, the Consortium wants to expand the computer resources available to the community and support the community’s ability to use these resources.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Frank Allaby
Program Start: 
10/2000
Program End: 
10/2001
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps VISTAs will work with members of the Consortium and the larger Lowell NPO community. The VISTAs will supervise public access to computers, train the community in a wide assortment of computer applications, provide technical support, assist in the setup of new computer labs, and improve and support information systems (like websites, databases, email). Overall, the Consortium wants to expand the computer resources available to the community and support the community’s ability to use these resources.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Christopher Tsang
Program Start: 
9/2000
Program End: 
9/2001
Project Description: 

One of the main goals of the PREP Computer Training program is to provide the technology training needed for inner-city residents to get well-paying jobs. To do this, one of our long-term goals is to provide training needed for professional computer certifications.

We would use the Americorps*VISTA member to help run the walk-in computer lab as well as to help assist with some of our classes. In the walk-in lab, the VISTA members would help answer people’s questions and assist them in their work. They would also work with the youth staff that we have working in the lab.

The VISTA member would also assist in teaching our classes on Saturdays. VISTA members could assist with whatever class that suits their technical capabilities.

The third area VISTA members couls assist in is in providing computer training to youth in our after school program during the afternoon a couple of times a week.

Depending on the VISTA member’s technical capabilities, they may also assist in the technical support of the lab as well as helping work with the youth in our youth-run Web design business. For each of these areas, we would provide the VISTA member with training and mentors to help guide them.

CTC Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Mary Pavan
Program Start: 
9/2000
Program End: 
9/2001
Project Description: 

One of the main goals of the PREP Computer Training program is to provide the technology training needed for inner-city residents to get well-paying jobs. To do this, one of our long-term goals is to provide training needed for professional computer certifications.

We would use the Americorps*VISTA member to help run the walk-in computer lab as well as to help assist with some of our classes. In the walk-in lab, the VISTA members would help answer people’s questions and assist them in their work. They would also work with the youth staff that we have working in the lab.

The VISTA member would also assist in teaching our classes on Saturdays. VISTA members could assist with whatever class that suits their technical capabilities.

The third area VISTA members couls assist in is in providing computer training to youth in our after school program during the afternoon a couple of times a week.

Depending on the VISTA member’s technical capabilities, they may also assist in the technical support of the lab as well as helping work with the youth in our youth-run Web design business. For each of these areas, we would provide the VISTA member with training and mentors to help guide them.

Community Organizing and Wireless Network Deployment

VISTA Name: 
Melissa Niiya
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The AmeriCorps*VISTA project we are proposing is a critical component of our community technology program to promote broadband deployment and adoption in the low income neighborhoods we serve. We seek to build the capacity of our wireless and wired networks that will be installed in our affordable housing projects through the development of a program that will distribute community-based resources (equipment, trainings, information), establish resident advisory committees, and deploy wireless networks.

Our AmeriCorps*VISTA member will support our initiative through community outreach, surveys, and technical support. Specifically, s/he will:

- Develop and implement community-based outreach strategies for community wireless adoption and participation.
- Collaborate with other project partners to develop outreach plans to expand our presence in the targeted communities.
- Develop educational resources for community technology staff and residents in the targeted communities.
- Coordinate and build the capacity of a community advisory committees in the targeted communities
- Organize, coordinate, and develop community education workshops delivered by volunteers on community wireless networks
- Develop sustainability models for the deployment of community wireless networks
- Coordinate volunteer efforts to plan and deploy neighborhood wireless networks
- Meet with technology center managers to coordinate community workshop activities
- Work with project partners to build the technology skills capacity of youth in South Los Angeles
- Develop a volunteer base of technology and community activists to support the deployment and sustainability of community wireless networks

Goal 1: Promote and increase the adoption of broadband within low-income communities
Goal 2: Build the capacity of deployed community Wi-Fi networks through community participation.

Project Outcome: 

The VISTA member has been instrumental in increasing the overall capacity of the Community Technology department. We now have documented standards and procedures for deploying residential and community Wi-Fi networks, as well as a track record and experience that can be used to provide technical assistance to other groups seeking to deploy similar Wi-Fi networks. We have compiled not only the technical procedures for wireless deployment but also a best practices guide, as we have learned from the challenges we’ve faced. The VISTA also helped to develop criteria and a process for selecting future contractors for our new networks. To ensure the sustainability of our networks we need to continue working with LTSC’s real estate and property management departments to develop a system for ongoing support and maintenance of the networks.

The VISTA member also assisted with grant writing, reporting and research to support and build the capacity of the Community Technology department. She also helped with program and curriculum development for the DISKovery Center’s digital media classes covering basic computer and internet skills to more advanced digital video editing and production. She also established a public access WiFi network at LTSC’s DISKovery Computer Center in Little Tokyo. The VISTA’s accomplishments in these areas seemed a natural addendum to the stated goals. She has proven herself to be highly competent in many areas and has therefore been given additional projects and responsibilities, as time and her own interests allowed. Since she is extremely self-motivated and is capable of accomplishing projects thoroughly and quickly, we were able to involve her in additional projects beyond what was proposed.

- Development of community and residential wi-fi resource materials made available online.
- Development and dissemination of publicity and outreach materials to promote the Little Tokyo community through flyers, a community blog developed by and for community wireless users, print materials and a community wi-fi website.
- Establishment of a community wireless blog to document the challenges and successes in deploying community wireless networks.
- Deployment of three new free community Wi-Fi networks in LTSC’s affordable housing communities. Accomplishments toward achieving stated goals:
- Curriculum developed for wifi trainings in the form of a wiki. The wiki was developed with some server assistance from Wataru Ebihara, LTSC’s Network Administrator.
- Resource materials developed for wifi users / volunteers / nonprofits wishing to start wifi networks, also on the wiki.
- Flyers for outreach developed with Spanish translation help from Sugey Salazar, computer instructor.
- Community blog developed using a free blogger account. The VISTA has worked to transition administration of the blog to the LT community council for its ongoing sustainability.
- Computer Adoption Program (CAP) program planned and organized, and additional wifi curriculum developed for the class
- 10 families served.
- Wifi deployed in the Reno Apartments using open source mesh routers from Open Mesh and broadband over power (BPL) technology to deploy a robust network at Reno. Switched Angelina Apartments to open source Open Mesh to enable better usage tracking.
- Usage tracking of Wi-Fi networks
- using free and open source tracking called CoovaOM, developed tracking methods and documentation for residential Wi-Fi networks.
- Developed a Request for Proposals for the development of 5 new broadband networks in affordable housing projects; developed criteria for selecting a proposal and oversaw selection of contractor for these new networks.

Second Year

While residents want broadband access, the majority are dissatisfied with wireless technology and the stability of the networks. With the support of LTSC staff, Melissa has helped move the organization toward a more sustainable model of providing residents with internet access (through wired DSL installation and through providing residents with information on low cost communications services). This plan was implemented in the latter half of her service year. Two of the current wireless networks were sold to an independent contractor, who will maintain a lower bandwidth free network while charging for a higher speed pay-to-play network. The remaining networks will be transitioned to an independent contractor after Melissa completes her service year.

While Melissa did not create a DIY computer curriculum due to shifts in program priorities, the other curricula she has created - Digital Histories film class, Internet Safety, Photoshop, and Social Media - will continue to be used in subsequent classes. Broadband Content Development Melissa has developed several websites for the organization, which have been instrumental in promoting our programs and services and raising our visibility. She also connected these sites to social media pages the create a seamless online presence. Melissa has made sure to document the websites she has created so that the organization will be able to maintain them. She has given trainings on Facebook and Joomla to the Little Tokyo Community Council and to LTSC staff.

Impact Quote: 

Thank you very much. We are sad to see Melissa and Tiffany go. They have contributed tremendously to our program and it is truly a loss to see them go.”

- Naomi Uchida-Boas, Supervisor

Technology Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Chris Gang
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2010
Project Description: 

We are seeking to recruit a Technology Coordinator who will help organize our audio, video and computer infrastructure and create a strong technology platform on which we can build for the future.

The Technology Coordinator would work with staff, college interns and volunteers to develop and maintain the facility. Most of our equipment was donated; we consciously avoid cutting edge applications to the extent possible to avoid the problems commonly experienced by early adopters that we do not have the staff to troubleshoot. A major benefit of this strategy is that we can take advantage of cast-off equipment with plenty of life remaining. Our plan for technology upgrades is to constant solicit donations in good working order to replace dated and aging inventory. We use earned income and grants to selectively purchase modern technology when absolutely necessary.

We’re now at the point at which we need to inventory our gear, eliminating anything of questionable usefulness. The remaining technology needs to be properly installed and documented, with a training plan developed and implemented. Finally, a technology plan needs to be developed to guide future strategy.

This project will increase community engagement because media technology is at the forefront of our outreach and training efforts. Virtually everything we do revolves around the technology infrastructure we have put into place.

Goal 1: Assess our technology infrastructure, inventory and organize it, install and troubleshoot gear, dispose of surplus items, develop user manuals and training procedures, and work on development of short and long term technology plans

Project Outcome: 

Chris Gang achieved the goals of assessing, inventorying and organizing our technology infrastructure. He also achieved the goal of developing user manuals and training procedures, and helped us move forward with our short and long term technology plans.

Chris vastly improved our internet infrastructure, particularly in the area of social media and open source software. In order to ensure that it can be sustained, he trained staff and volunteers and maintains a consulting relationship with us.

Chris also helped to develop our live video web-streaming capability. After going to several conferences and workshops, he noted the importance of web-streaming in the digital age, and strategized with our Executive Director to create an action plan to bring this capability to fruition. Although beyond the scope of our proposed project, this accomplishment in fact helps sustain our infrastructure, mission and outreach. Also, Chris Gang helped to develop our media archive infrastructure, after observing the need and creating a system, both in the physical space and with a computer interface.

CTC Tech Support and Technology Planning

Organization: 
Durham Literacy Center Inc.
VISTA Name: 
Ben Pratt
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

Goals

1. Revise Webpage
2. Provide Tech Support/ Upgrade Computer Systems
3. Put together Technology Committee
4. Recruit volunteers to facilitate PC Basics Course
5. Offsite Tech Support
6. Documentation
7. Develop DLC’s Technology Plan

Project Outcome: 

The CTCNet VISTA, Ben Pratt, has provided invaluable service to the Durham Literacy Center (DLC) this year. Ben has been able to collaborate with community partners and volunteers to specifically focus on technology and capacity building at DLC and other community technology centers in Durham. To date, he has completely overhauled DLC’s technical infrastructure, including our local area network, administrative computers, plus all computers at our CTC lab housed at our office. DLC also runs two other community labs at partner sites. Ben has made the labs more functional and accessible to our students and the general public. Additionally, Ben has spearheaded the development of an ad hoc technology committee where he recruited local leaders in technology and IT professionals to participate. This ad hoc committee has allowed DLC to establish standards for technology and implement best-practices for the use of technology with our adult learners. We foresee this committee as being adopted by our board of directors as a permanent committee and will develop a long overdue technology plan for our agency. We are also planning to get another VISTA next year to replace Ben. This technology committee will ensure a quick transition as well as training and consistent development of DLC’s technology infrastructure and instructional technology use.

Summary of Project Accomplishments

•Managed technical equipment donations
•Upgraded all PCs to W2K, installed Office XP or 2003
•Put web and mail services into production
•Managed PC Basics course
•Reorganized computer lab and replaced 8 aging lab computers
•Replaced or upgraded all of staff PCs
•Implemented and maintained Red hat Linux server with roaming profiles
•Wireless access is available throughout building by installing new Wireless Access Point
•Cleaned out technology closets
•Recruited technical volunteers and co-chaired technology committee that began the agency’s technology plan
•Came up with lab policies and implemented them
•Reorganized Network Neighborhood, making it easier to find files
•Got virus protection for all PCs
•Provided tech support to staff, volunteers, community/service partners and students
•Updated and maintained www.durhamliteracy.org website
•Organized and coordinated rollout of 40 new PCs from IBM which included software install and setup on servers and clients, hardware setup, and rollout
•Created documentation and materials for next VISTA
•Met with new VISTA to transfer knowledge and ideas

Impact Quote: 

Overall, this has been a superb use of resources provided by CTCNet and the VISTA project. It’s a win-win for both the agency and the VISTA.”
- Lizzie Ellis-Furlong, supervisor

Transmission Project