This site was created by Syracuse University graduate students Frances Binder, Jennifer McDonald, Dina Meky, and Emily Whalen for IST618, Information Policy.  The purpose of the site is to report and disseminate our research and findings on the topic of digital access and affordability in rural regions of upstate New York.  This blog is meant to be a foundation for a potential NGO (non-government organization) whose aim would be to provide rural communities with equitable access to digital tools and to provide training on how to use those tools.  A main focus of our research has been on the need to match the solutions to the specific needs and challenges of specific communities rather than attempting “one-size-fits-all” approaches or attempting to fit other communities’ solutions on disparate communities.

We have attempted to locate and highlight examples of programs that are working to bridge the digital divide through holistic problem-solving approaches.  We are also working to share the results of our research on this topic and to highlight those ideas which best serve to illuminate common misconceptions and pitfalls in order to guide a successful program.

Our blog is broken down into three pages:  the first page focuses on defining the digital divide in terms of barriers, challenges, and the implications of a growing divide in terms of digital access and usage in rural upstate New York, the second page deals with the need to obtain feedback and input from stakeholders in specific and individual communities and to build solutions based on that input, the third page offers the beginnings of a business plan for a potential NGO (including a mission and vision statement and preliminary goals and objectives).

Our hope is that in providing these posts, articles, videos, and links, we will have created a practical starting point for addressing real-life access needs in rural, upstate New York communities.  We welcome suggestions, questions, and feedback.  Please feel free to contact us using the contact form below.  Thank you!