AUSTIN, Texas—Graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs have examined Austin’s efforts to address the “digital divide,” information technology’s impact on health care, and security and privacy on the Internet in concert with themes of this week’s World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT).
The event, scheduled for May 1-5 at the Austin Convention Center, is expected to draw participants from 81 countries. The 12 students, who are enrolled in a class directed by LBJ School faculty member Gary Chapman, have been working since last fall with the local nonprofit organization that was set up to organize and host the WCIT.
“The 12 graduate students were divided equally into three teams,” said Chapman, “with each team corresponding to one of the three themes of the Congress: digital access, health care in the 21st century, and privacy and security.”
The first team produced a documentary titled “Digital Access in Austin, Texas,” which describes how Austin has dealt with the “digital divide” over the past decade. The 40-minute documentary features interviews with local Austin leaders and with people who have benefited from local programs designed to enhance computer skills and provide access to the Internet in otherwise underserved neighborhoods.
The video includes segments on Austin Free-Net, American Youthworks, the Austin Wireless City Project, Knowbility (an organization that promotes technology solutions for people with disabilities) and the City of Austin’s Grants for Technology Opportunities Program. Austin Mayor Will Wynn introduces the video, which was shot by high school students from American Youthworks, a charter school in Austin. The video’s producer was American Youthworks teacher Chris Gleason, and the narrator is KVUE-TV news reporter Olga Campos.
The team that worked on health care in the 21st century produced a Web site featuring a range of information resources on how health care is being changed by information technologies. The Web site, part of the World Congress site titled Health and Information Technology in the 21st Century, will go live on May 2 and features “podcast” audio interviews with leaders in the health care technology field, as well as white papers on major policy issues facing the industry. It also features a news feed from other Web sites for frequently updated news about health care and information technology. This Web site project is co-sponsored and funded by Seton Health Network, Central Texas’ largest health care provider.
The third LBJ School team focused on security and privacy and produced a 24-page booklet on how personal computer users can protect themselves from security threats on the Internet. The booklet, written for basic-skill users, covers such topics as spyware and computer viruses, identity theft, and safe recycling of a computer. It will be distributed to all World Congress registered attendees and will be available at a conference exhibit booth sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin. The booklet is a collaborative project with the university’s Department of Computer Science and the Center for Information Assurance and Security.
In addition to Chapman, the LBJ School team involved in the World Congress project includes Nicki Alam, Manijeh Azmoodeh, Phillip Battle, Tenaya Berry, John Chambers, Ben Chan, Hui He, Shahriyar Hussain, Melissa Miller, Hector Morales, Tara Rohde and Edward Sebina.
For more information, contact Gary Chapman at 512-293-5067 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information contact: Megan Scarborough, LBJ School, 512-471-8954.