We are a group of graduate students at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
at the University of Texas at Austin. Under
the guidance of Professor Lodis Rhodes, we engaged in a long-term effort to
expand access to advanced information technology among low-income children and
adults in the City of Austin. Using this Web page, we hope to share information
about our activities and stimulate constructive discussion about access issues
among concerned Internet users.
Our efforts focus on developing a model of universal access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. Specifically, we are working with a group of East Austin and Montopolis area residents to develop and test a model to provide Internet access to low-income citizens with little previous exposure to technology and, in many cases, limited proficiency in English. This limited profiency in English may be due to English being a second language or low rates of literacy among English speakers. Furthermore, the ability to access information posted electronically may be hindered due to the use of "technological jargon" with which newer users are unfamiliar. We want to determine what citizens want from the Internet; how they become interested and engaged in using it; how they go about learning the technology and teaching it to one another; and what kind of technical infrastructure must be in place to support their learning and day-to-day use of the technology.