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ERIC Number: ED500320
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May-1
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Need for a Dynamic Rural Web Presence. Rural Research Report. Volume 18, Issue 6, Spring 2007
Schuytema, Paul
Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
This paper explores how rural communities with limited financial resources and technical expertise can have a useful Web page along with the ability for community and business leaders to maintain this presence. The tools to be employed are not new to the Web, but they may be considered "cutting edge" when it comes to a rural community's Web presence. The goal is to build the capacity of small communities--to give them the tools to be able to grow and prosper. As this program was initiated, it was thought that building capacity required teaching community members to become programmers of this new Web technology. This approach proved to be flawed as the gap in the required technical skills exceeded expectations. The case studies demonstrated that everybody was better served by the creation of a foundational, dynamic website, devoid of style or content but built to be functional. With the core site in place, the community could be trained to utilize these tools to add content and personality to the site and to grow the site from something sterile to something that truly reflected the community's personality and goals. This approach can empower communities to create, edit, and maintain their own content, and to have full ownership of their website, its content, and its message. Not only will these communities have a site that serves their needs today, but with this new capacity, they will be able to maintain and enhance the site going forward on their own. Based on the results that can observed on the Web, and the reactions of the communities who have participated in this program, it appears the program described has helped meet a very real need. During the first year, 12 organizations were served in seven communities. Already, many new websites have "gone live" and the others are on their way. By combining the hard work of community leaders with an innovative results-oriented process and a suite of tools built on open source technologies, those communities involved are already starting to see results. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. Western Illinois University, 518 Stipes Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455. Tel: 309-298-2637; Fax: 309-298-2142; Web site: http://www.iira.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Western Illinois Univ., Macomb. Illinois Inst. for Rural Affairs.
Identifiers - Location: Illinois